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My daughter is 5, and is attending an elementary school. My daughter keeps her favorite toy 'pop its' in her bag and take it along to the school and after school.

Today at after school, one of her friends (not best friend but her school mate) played with her toy for some time. Without asking my daughter, the friend took the toy to her home. My child came in asking what to do. She asked if they will bring it back or not.

How should I deal with this? I know she needs this back badly as we bought it few days back from the store.

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  • Have you contacted the other parent(s)?
    – Mast
    Oct 9 at 19:01
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This is a great teachable moment, both for your daughter and the other child.

First - talk with her about the risks of bringing things she cares about to school. I would usually not recommend having kids take things they care about to school - not because I think the other kids will be bad per se, but it's just too likely to lose things, accidentally break things, etc. But - it's her choice, for the most part; obviously with your limits preventing her from taking something inappropriate or too expensive to risk. Don't blame her for this happening - it's not her fault! But, she should keep this in mind when making choices in the future.

Second - she should talk to the child tomorrow, and ask her if she brought it back. If not, she should ask if the other child can please bring it back. This is the first step - as it would be for an adult, too!

If it doesn't come back the next day, then it would be appropriate to ask the parents of the child if they could help her out. Don't be confrontational - after all there's a good chance this was accidental, and even if it wasn't, there's no real value in being confrontational. Just ask if they can help her remember to bring back your daughter's toy that she accidentally took home.

If you don't know the parents, you can ask the teacher to help you contact them, or maybe talk to them at pickup if that's possible. Again, not confrontationally - just fixing the problem.

There's a nonzero chance though that the toy is lost - the child may have brought it home and then lost track of it, or lost it in the car or who knows where - it's something that happens with children. If the parents aren't able, or willing, to help you, then you may have to make your peace with the loss, and help your daughter do the same.


One side note: "Pop-its" are very commonly used with children with autism or sensory disorders. If this is why your daughter brings it with her - if it's basically a therapeutic device - this changes things slightly. In that case I would still have her ask the child, but I would also probably involve the teacher - not necessarily to retrieve it, but to watch and help your daughter out in the future avoid issues like this.

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    And if child (or adult!) is not diagnosed with anything that would make her not neurotypical, but at the same time just needs widgets like that, it would be good to get her checked out. For example, ADHD in girls may show that way. Or it may be nothing, but the sooner you know, the better.
    – Mołot
    Oct 8 at 16:59
  • The nonzero chance that the other side claims to have lost the toy also includes the nonzero chance that the child had stolen it.
    – user21820
    Oct 9 at 8:51
  • Disclaimer: I don't have kids. If the parents aren't able, or willing, to help you, then you may have to make your peace with the loss I'm sorry, but while everything else is a good, solid answer, I 100% disagree with this part. While this is indeed a good chance to teach OP's kid about loss, in this case the other kid's parents SHOULD BE ABLE to help. Any parent should be wary about new, unknown toys their kids bring home from school (for a lot of reasons) and if such toy was borrowed or stolen, is their resposibility to make sure their kid returns it to its rightful owner - (cont'd...)
    – Josh Part
    Oct 9 at 16:43
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    @JoshPart Sure, the parents should be able to, and maybe they will! But if they don't, what are you going to do, file a lawsuit? No, the school authorities aren't going to get involved in this - maybe for an iPad or something of major value, but for this, they won't do anything beyond maybe pass the question along to the other parent, and tell your kid not to bring toys to school. This sort of thing is super common, and very likely not malicious - kids just aren't careful. There's a good chance the kid doesn't even have the toy anymore, and the parents have no idea about any of this.
    – Joe
    Oct 9 at 16:50
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    Do remember that this is a 5 year old, not a 13 year old - it's just not the same ballpark. The question isn't sufficiently specific here, but there's a good chance that nobody realized she took it home (the other kid included) until much later. That happens all the time with five year olds.
    – Joe
    Oct 9 at 16:51

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