Monday, June 27, 2011

Share Your Toys (But Not All of Them)

With the summer stretched out before us, I decided to jump right in and host a playdate. I filled up the kiddie pool, dug out the sprinkler and mixed up some lemonade (with helpers by my side).

With 15 toddlers and their moms just moments away, Miles took Alice's Minnie Mouse. Massive, ear-shattering temper tantrum ensued.

Alice recovered quickly and grabbed "Mr. Bear." Massive, ear-shattering temper tantrum ensued - this time by Miles. And I had a flash of everything that could go wrong at the playdate.

What if my kids don't share their toys? How will they react if another child wants to play with Minnie Mouse or Mr. Bear?

I sat Miles and Alice down for a pep talk. I explained my expectations for the playdate (which always goes over well with a 2 and 3-year-old.)

Miles: "They're going to want to play with my toys? But I love my toys."

Alice made her signature pouty face.

And so I told them that they needed to share all of their toys, except for one.

They were each allowed to choose a special toy to hide during the playdate. Mr. Bear was lovingly placed on a shelf of the closet, and Minnie Mouse was tucked away in a drawer just as people were knocking on the door.

With the special toys hidden away, I was able to relax knowing that Miles and Alice didn't have strong enough ties to the other toys to care about kids playing with them. And Miles and Alice were more than happy to share everything - knowing that their favorites were tucked away.

Anna Luther, mother of three

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