Throwing Toys

Dear Miss Faith,

I am a home daycare provider and I wonder if you could give some advice on what to do when children throw toys or mistreat them. Getting angry doesn’t seems to be helping, lol. -D.

Dear D., When children are rough with things, I generally respond with sympathy towards the thing that they mis-treated, as if it were alive, or very fragile and precious. So, if they throw a wooden car, I’ll run over to it, saying, “Oh no! It it alright?” I’ll pick it up and cradle it in my arms, then stop and carefully take a look at it. “Whew, it seems like it’s ok. I’m so glad it didn’t break!” Then I’ll sometimes -but not always- turn to the child, “We have to be gentle with our toys! This car is for driving!”

–Remember, always say what you DO want. Talking about being rough (even with the word ‘not’ in front of it) only makes children think about being rough; it never makes them think about being gentle.

If they want the toy back I’ll say, “Are you ready just to drive with it?” and wait for an affirmative response. If they don’t want it back, I’ll say, “I’ll find a nice spot for this car until someone is ready to play with it. Here you go, little car.” By showing care for our things (instead of just anger at the child’s actions) we can help instill a sense of care into the children, over time.

Warmly, ~Miss Faith


  1. My friend has an 8 year old, and when he had his little figurines battling a war, the friend (the mom) said, “my love, that isn’t how we treat our toys” – and the son replied, “mom, they aren’t real!” and the mom didn’t miss a beat. She responded with, “my love, how we treat our toys is how we treat each other.”

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