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My 32mo daughter gets extremely upset when I introduce a new item or toy into her play area or bedroom. For example, when the seasons change and she needs a blanket in her bed, she will throw a tantrum and throw the blanket over the baby gate in her doorway. She will do this with water bottles, toys, her potty, blankets. Anything she decides she doesn't want in her space.

For the most part, any toys that she throws out, I will take away as a punishment and explain that she won't get to play with them if she throws them and treats her toys badly. I am trying to encourage her to put away things that offend her in the cupboard out of sight in a "done box" with very little success.

However, I am at a loss when it comes to do with 'essential' items. She needs to have a blanket in her bed to keep her warm in winter. We don't have central heating and her room is down to 14C in winter. I have tied her blanket to her bed, and essentially forced her to get used to it.

I understand that this is a matter of wanting control. And I have tried other methods of eg letting her choose a blanket/water bottle and which toys she has in her room, but most of the time she rejects those things in any case, even after choosing them.

These situations make up 50% of her tantrums. I am concerned that she is getting so upset and anxious about control over the items in her space and I am wondering if this is normal or if I have reason to be concerned.

I am wondering if forcing items into her space is a good idea. On the one hand she has to get used to things the doesn't want to have being there, because she needs them and this is life. On the other hand I do want to give her a sense of autonomy and control within reason because it is her room and space.

Is there anything I can do to respect her choices of what she keeps in her room, while also helping her get accustomed to the idea that some things do need to be there for her to use, even if she doesn't want them?

We have an extremely good relationship, she gets a lot of my time and attention, and her papa's, and for the most part is an extremely good, happy little girl. She does have tantrums on occasion but they never get her what she wants so they are less often nowadays.

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  • How does she feel about other changes? if an item that belongs in her space is removed, or if a part of her routine doesn't happen? Does she struggle with change specifically, or only care about items in her space? – dsollen Jan 20 at 16:09
  • Also what is her response if you ask her if you can put something in her area or otherwise encourage her to pick rather to add a toy? Does she add items to her area when she wants them, or demand it always stays the same no matter what? – dsollen Jan 20 at 16:11
  • @dsollen she seems to be ok with routine changes, and will pick toys if I encourage her to, but they will always be the same old toys. If she received something new (eg for Christmas) it will usually take a couple of days for her to get used to it, even if it's something she likes. – eipi Jan 20 at 17:05
  • She generally will be fine with things being tidied/moved/removed etc unless in a tantrumy mood, but I generally don't do that because i don't want to set a precedent to pick up after her, and I generally respect how she leaves things as long as they aren't in the way. It really seems to be 'new' things she has a problem with. – eipi Jan 20 at 17:08

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