Four year old do I handle this? - FamilyEducation
Four year old do I handle this?
09/27/2007 at 17:53 PM

I noticed my 4 year old son hiding something today.  I went over to see what it was, and it was a box of matches that he had taken from his dad's room and put in his pocket.  This was after his dad had taken them away twice already.  So, first-what is the most effective way to teach a 4 year old that they can't play with matches?  We had a talk...but I'm not sure how much of it he understood.  Second-this is not the first time that he's taken something and pocketed it.  Usually it's the little toys from daycare (I'll find them in his pockets while I'm doing laundry).  We had a talk about this too, and I explained that it's not ok...I just don't want my child to grow up to be a delinquent.  Any ideas?

Hey nire_colleen,


Welcome to the boards.  I think that the most effective way to teach a child not to take things that don't belong to them is to make them return something and apologize.  My daughter took something from a store when she was about 3, we drove back to the store and I made her go in and return the item and say she was sorry and that she knew stealing was wrong.  She never took anything again from anyone or anywhere.  When he takes things from daycare make him return them and say he is sorry---he needs the lesson of returning it himself and being sorry---not just you telling him it is not okay.


As far as the matches go, I think you should impress upon him that he should not play with matches but he is still very young and the best bet is to make sure that things like matches are out of his reach---put up in top drawers where he can't even see them and be tempted by them.


What does everyone else think?