How can you deny this?

One the playground today there were two boys playing together. They spent the entire morning playing together carrying around one bucket and one shovel each (matching red shovels and yellow buckets with red handles of course!)

They filled their buckets, dumped them out to make castles, filled them back up, walked around, dumped them out, went to the top of the slide and slid down while holding their buckets and shovels.

Then the started sliding the buckets and shovels down before they would take their trip down the slide. This went on for a good while (15-20 minutes) and remained, though active, a pretty calm activity. When one child decided to try and throw the bucket down I mentioned this wasn't a good idea because he might hit someone. He stopped for a while, going back to sliding it down.

After a bit more time he began throwing it down again. The other boy never attempted this; probably because he heard me remind the other child.

The third time this happened I picked up the shovel and bucket before he could slide down so that he needed to come see me when he got down...he did.

I told him he had two choices: "You can slide, or you can dig; but you can't have the bucket and shovel while you slide anymore. So, what do you want to do? Slide or dig?"

He said slide and went running back up the slide. When he came back down he came over to me and asked for the bucket and shovel. I asked, "are you going to slide or dig?" He said, "Slide" then went running off to the slide.

After a bit he came back to me (yes I continued to hold his items and NOT give them to the other children who asked for them). The next time he came back and wanted the items, I asked him, "What do you need to do with these?"

He stops, looks up at me, grins, and puts his arms around me in one of the biggest and greatest hugs ever! How can a person resist that?

Okay, I did. I reminded him that he could dig with those items but he couldn't slide with them because he couldn't handle it. Every time he wanted to go down the slide he handed me the items (without me asking for them).

See he learned two things here: One, that I was going to be consistent and stick with the rule while also letting him have fun; and two, that he could trust that those items would be there when he was ready for them.

That second one is very important. If he knew I was going to give someone else his items while his back was turned, he would have fought me more for those items. But I showed him that I would protect his things until he was ready.

Did other children ask for the items? Yep! I explained to them that I was holding them for him and they said okay and found something else to do. I would have done the same for any one of the other children.

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