When Somebody Grabs My Toy

Something that happens with our kids A LOT is that one of them has a special thing in their hands, and another kid grabs it away.


Pretty typical kids-stuff, right? In our house it definitely is.

Because this happens ALL. THE. TIME. we've taught our children a 'script' of sorts for what we want them to do when someone grabs a toy out of their hands.

We teach them to:

  1. Use their words. Ask for what they want. Say, "I was playing with that toy. Can I have it back, please?"
  2. If the words don't work, find a Big Person and ask them for help. Say, "Mommy, I had this toy and Sissy took it away from me. Can you come help me, please?"

I love teaching my children this script because I think it is very helpful for when they grow up to be adults, as well. 

I have a problem with using my own words: it's hard for me to ask for what I want, to say my desires. It's hard for me to tell someone when I'm upset at something they've done. It's a little bit vulnerable to ask for what we want; it's a little bit vulnerable to honestly admit that we're upset. But when we just use our words to say what we feel and desire, it's so helpful and healthy.

Sometimes kids want to use non-words to deal with the situation. They might scream, or cry, or whine, or grab a toy back. It's like they're trying to 'fix' the situation by taking matters into their own hands in inappropriate ways. Adults do that too. They pitch a fit, they complain, they do something passive-aggressive, they manipulate. I want my children to learn to simply state what they want and feel without trying to 'fix' the situation by taking matters into their own hands in an inappropriate way.

And lastly, I love teaching my kids that when their words fail, they can run to a Big Person for help. Because that's what they'll need to do as adults: run to the ultimate Big Person when things are just not working out. They'll need to run to God. I want them to use healthy methods to solve problems, but I want them to know that when it's messy, when things just don't work out easily, that God is right there, ready to help. And I want them to know, because of their interactions with me, that His help is real, available, safe, and good. Because they've had their toy grabbed. Over and over and over again.