In the Classroom: The Bumblebees

Toddlers negotiating possession of a doll

Coping With Toddler’s Possessive Stage

One of our older bumblebees was in the kitchen area with a bowl and a spoon in hand, mixing away at his latest culinary creation. He placed the bowl and spoon down on a nearby table to gather more ingredients, when a friend reached out to grab his bowl. Our chef turned around and screamed, “MINE!!!!” The friend jumped from the boisterous yell, but that didn’t stop him from successfully grabbing the bowl and running across the room yelling, “Mine, mine, mine!”

Instances like that occur often in our classroom. Our older Bees are in the possessive stage in toddlerhood where everything belongs to him/her. The Bumblebee teachers often encourage sharing, taking turns, and communicating with words. However, sometimes our encouragement just does not work.

Sometimes their possessiveness can lead to aggression and hitting, biting, or screaming may ensue. When aggression strikes, we encourage the children to use their words to express their feelings instead of biting and/or hitting. We also encourage the children to find other toys to play with instead of taking a toy from another child.

As educators, we know that the toddlers are going through a phase in life and we are here to help guide them through it. According to, the website Early Milestones, “possessiveness is a sign of healthy development. Sharing is a learned activity that takes time, patience and a lot of practice.”

If your child is going through the possession stage, here are a few tips that may help you get through this phase:

  • Practice taking turns at home with your child. "You can go first and then it’s my turn."
  • Praise your child when they share and point out times when other friends share their toys. "Joey is sharing his truck with you."
  • If your child becomes aggressive, encourage him/her to use their words to express how they are feeling.

Meet the Bumblebees teaching team