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How to handle kids bullying your kid?

My son recently aged out of the infant program of his daycare. At 1.5 years of age, he recently started at a new daycare’s toddler program. He’s the youngest of this class by one month, but he’s much younger developmentally. The other toddlers can walk, run, jump, speak a few words or sentences, count, feed themselves with spoons - mine cannot. He’s also the smallest physically. Something I’ve noticed here that didn’t happen in my son’s old program is that the toddlers grab toys out of each other’s hands regularly without asking. The kind that usually leads to physical fights and screaming over the toys. Occasionally injury. I’ve witnessed it happen to my son several times, and he was unable to fend for himself or get help from a teacher. My son’s new teachers allow it, saying this behavior of grabbing and fighting is normal, and that it’s part of every child’s process of learning about boundaries, sharing, etc. Is this ok? Or have the teachers normalized the behavior to avoid having to do something about it? And while it may be in the children’s interest to let them learn through taking without permission, how is it in the interest of children like my son to let people treat him this way? My son, who is the smallest, can’t fight back, can’t tell teachers what happened to him, or even run after the person who stole his toy? My son, who came into the program already good at sharing toys, and is at a loss in this hard new “mine mine mine” environment? What’s the best way to handle this?

  • Anonymous
    Mar 05

    This seems totally normal to me. Kids that age are just learning how to share. I wouldn’t call this bullying at all more of just being kids. With that being said I do think your child’s teacher should use it as a teaching moment to help the kids understand why it is not ok to take toys out of kids hands or hit or whatever the case may be. At that age I have found size really has nothing to do with it. Take everything with a grain of salt and good luck!

  • Kristina
    Mar 05

    Normal behavior for this age group. Grabbing toys and not wanting to share is part of normal development. Maybe trying to teach the the hitting part is not okay. Explaining it hurts but even that is hard to teach at this age. It’s not bullying.

  • Anonymous
    Mar 05

    This is normal, and I'm sure it seems like your child is "good" at sharing. But he probably just hasn't developmentally gotten to that "mine,mine, mine" stage yet. They don't call it terrible 2's for nothing. No matter how much you teach him or any other kid to share, or not take things, or not hit, their little brains impulsive drive to get what they want over using words and being nice will kick in. And as soon as you think your 2 yo has finally understood, they will turn 3 and it will be like starting all over again! And keep in mind he won't always be the smallest, just give it a few months and there will be kids younger than him.

  • Ashleigh
    Mar 12

    I agree that it sounds like relatively normal toddler behavior, however, it does not sound like normal adult response to me. Toddlers need adult guidance when they are doing something we don't want them to repeat, ie snatching toys or hitting. They have to be taught how to be good citizens, and they won't learn anything they aren't being taught. It sounds like this lesson is "fend for yourself because no one else will." I would trust your mom instincts on this one. Talk to the teachers and /or director at your daycare about their philosophy around good citizenship (or how to treat others or whatever they call it there). If they are teaching things you don't want your kid to learn, start shopping around (which I know can be super hard and is dependent on a lot of variables). Good luck momma!