Toddler Property Laws


As a mom of toddlers, you are familiar with toddler tantrums over things that don’t make sense, say a major meltdown when you won’t let them eat cereal and milk from a plate, because you know, gravity, or when you won’t let them eat dog food, because um, they are not a dog, or when you won’t let them cross the street solo, because of the minor fact that they have no sense of judgment and are only two feet tall. 

Yes, we can all relate, but I am here to talk to you about toddler property laws. What are those, you say? Let me spell it out for you: M-I-N-E! Have you ever heard of the song “7 Rings” by Ariana Grande? Her chorus certainly “rings” with the toddler laws buzzing around my house. 

Here are a few minor adjustments to the song to help set the tone of what us toddler moms hear as background music, on the daily:

“I want it, I got it, I want it, I got it. I want it, I got it, I want it, I got it. I like your truck, gee thanks, just took it. I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it.”

Mama, I feel you! Toddlers are both equally cute and challenging, but they can’t help it. According to Piaget’s Four Stages of Child Development, toddlers are fully into the preoperational stage, which is a stage of egocentrism. In this stage of development, children are unable to see the world from another person’s point of view, hence the ego running the show. Children do not possess the full cognitive ability to understand beyond their thinking and feelings until the age of seven, so, hang in there. 

Any toddler mom knows the ways through their egocentric kiddo, but what can we do to help get through this time without losing our hair, sleep, or mind? 

First off, take a long, deep, even deeper breath. We need to remind ourselves this is a moment in time. Children respond very well to calm tones, validation, and simple direct messages of what they can do. For example, if your child is building blocks and screams, “Mine!” when his or her sibling or a peer tries to use some of the pieces, calmly bend down to your toddler’s level, place a comforting hand on his back, and ask, “Are you playing with these blocks?” He may respond with, “Yes! They’re mine!” You can reassure your child that you hear and understand his words, which will immediately put him at ease and allow him to hear your next response. 

A tactic that I find helpful is to give ownership to items, either what they belong to or where they belong. For example, with the blocks, I would say, “The blocks belong to the school or the playroom. Let me help you get a lot of pieces, so you can continue building your block tower.” 

Giving ownership to the item will help your child understand the parameters and alleviate some of the immediate “Mine!” action. Another example of calm tones, validation, and simple direct messages are helpful when a child is no longer playing with something, but he is staking claim when someone else picks it up. A way to handle this is to, again, calmly get down to your child’s level and validate him. He needs to feel that you understand why he is upset. This is a crucial step. If your child is not calm, he will not be able to process your words. 

Sometimes, quickly getting the point across works well. For example, “You want that car back!” When your child feels understood, you will then be able to reason with him. 

Take-home messages with toddlers are: be calm, validate their needs, and keep it simple. Toddlers work well with redirection and distraction, but only after they feel understood. Also, sometimes, it’s just not worth it. If they insist on sleeping with something because it’s “theirs;” if it is safe, then, by all means, let them sleep with it. 

Being a parent of a toddler comes with its ups and downs, but we are all in this together, mama. 

Property Laws from Toddler Moms

  • “If it’s yellow, it’s mine. Also, blue. If it’s blue, it’s mine.” -Kate A.
  • “If It’s mine, I need to bring it everywhere. Yes, my telescope is coming to the water park.” -Melissa B.
  • “It’s mine even if I haven’t looked at it or touched it in a week!” -Danielle C.
  • “The birds are mine. The rocks are mine The dinner I won’t touch is mine. If another child has it, it’s mine. If it’s a ball, it’s mine. If it has dogs, it’s mine. If it makes noise, it’s mine. Milk? Mine. Daddy? Mine. Band-Aids? Mine. The food I gave you and you are now chewing? Mine. Yep. Everything is mine.” -Sherre S.

Toddler Property Laws

  • I saw it; it’s mine.
  • I saw it first; it’s mine.
  • I wanted that; it’s mine.
  • If I can climb it, it’s mine.
  • If I can look at it, it’s mine.
  • If I can touch it, it’s mine.
  • If it looks like mine, it’s mine.
  • The birds are mine.
  • The rocks are mine.
  • If I like it, it’s mine.
  • If it’s mine, you must never have it.
  • If it’s mine, I must sleep with it.
  • I didn’t know that even existed until just now; it’s mine.

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02 Jan 2020


By Brittany McCabe

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