Even with a playroom full of toddlers (ages 13 months – 20 months) I am already talking myself through this process of helping some of the children to stand up for themselves, and helping some others feel secure enough to not be “bullies”. Stealing toys is what toddlers are supposed to do, just like throwing food from the high chair, and throwing toys over fences and gates, among many other fun behaviors for them that are annoying to you. It’s fruitless to administer time-outs, punish, or try to convince them that these behaviors can be hurtful. But, when aggressive behaviors continue, they can be hurtful to children who are younger, or not physically strong enough to prevent another child from taking a toy, or being physically dominant. This article focuses on what you can do to help the child who seems to be the “victim” day after day.
The most important part I took away was how to interpret or to understand what is behind the quietness or the crying, and how to help the “victims” learn to stand up for themselves, no matter how long it takes, without necessarily viewing other children as “bad”.