Alternate title: How do I make her stand up for herself?
I recently paid for a month long "free play pass" for the girls at an indoor play place. They have camps, classes, private sessions and more.
The summer is more laid back. They have free wifi and the kids can hang out and play somewhere inside so it’s a) not hot, b) not my mess to clean up.
The first two times we’ve gone, it’s just been our kids playing. It was casual. They played on the slide, they played with the musical instruments, they colored and more.
Today was different.
There was a camp going on with kids ages 6-10. These kids were all playing in the bigger room with a slide, tree house, toy shopping carts, and pretty much any other toy you can imagine for kids from 3-10.
(The only reason I caught any of this, is #2 was going down the slide which was nearby and she was having a blast with me catching her at the bottom).
They started playing store and McDonald’s (side note: I am proud that #1 doesn’t even know what a Happy Meal is!); being cashiers, drive through customers, and cooks.
#1 didn’t really understand the game and the pretending they were doing (again, no Happy Meals, and we almost never drive through), so she wasn’t really wanting to play.
However, she did want to play with some of the food toys they were using. Now, she didn’t ask to have them, but she also didn’t take them away. She was wanting to play with them in the same space. #1 took them off of the bench they had them set up on and was playing with them right there.
One of the girls said "McDonald’s is closed."
#1 said "What does closed mean?"
The girl "It means we aren’t open" as she snatched the food out of #1’s hand.
#1 picked up another toy and the girl again told her "McDonald’s is closed."
#1 still didn’t understand, and the girl again snatched the food out of her hand.
Not wanting to pick sides or try to intervene too much I said, "Let’s all share the toys."
Yeah, that didn’t work.
It went a couple more times. Finally, one of the came workers told the little girl to "just let her have it."
Then, a couple minutes later, I hear screaming. #1 and the same girl are fighting over this chair/bowl thing. A tug of war has ensued.
I looked at #1 and the girl and said "girls, if you can’t share, then I’m taking this away from both of you."
They looked at me puzzled.
"Who had the toy first?"
#1 said "I did." The girl starred.
I asked her again and she said "she did" pointing to #1.
I suggested she let #1 have it back and when she’s done she can give it to the girl.
Disaster averted this time.
Seriously, though, I didn’t even realize it was time for these types of incidents (it’s one thing when they are a toddler and you just tell them to do something, but another when they really understand you).
Did I do the right thing? Or, should I have left them alone?
I think my biggest concern is that the girl was quite a bit older than #1 and they weren’t really on the same playing field.
Help this momma out, please! Tell me how to handle this (or not handle this) if it happens again.
(How could you mess with this cutie?)