What to Do When Baby Discovers the Word “Mine”

I watch my little girl learn and discover new things everyday and it’s amazing. Now her language is beginning to develop, and every time she says a new word I just want to jump up and scream. Even though Jada is not my first child, watching the amazing process of your child’s language development never gets old. It really is magical.

But there is just one word I knew she would discover soon, and I was hoping it would take a while (a long while). It’s the word “mine.” I guess when a baby has an older sibling, saying “mine” is something they learn pretty early on. After all, she has to be able to claim what belongs to her, right? Oh, the mind of a little one.


I don’t know why babies start claiming everything as theirs, even when it’s clearly not (I’m pretty sure that cell phone is actually mine), but it can be pretty funny. My guess is that they just see and hear what others say and do, and they want to imitate it. My son is pretty good at sharing with his little sister, but he’s 4, so I’m certain that he doesn’t want her touching all of his stuff and he has claimed a few things as his own while they play.

So now I am trying to figure out what to do. Since it’s a normal phase, I’m not too worried about it, but I also know that a cute little “mine” here and there can turn into an issue if I don’t address it delicately. Although my daughter can’t speak in sentences yet, she understands me when I talk to her. So I have started off with a little conversation about sharing and why she can’t just take and claim anything she wants as hers. She gave me that “What are you talking about?” look, but I think she understands me—or at least I hope she does.

As she explore the world around her, though, I know only one thing is going to help her kick this “mine” habit, and that’s watching us sharing our things with each other. It’s really the only thing that will work. So while Jada gets a kick out of reminding us that everything she touches is hers, we will do our best to show her that even when something actually is ours, we don’t have an problem sharing it with the people we love. I have no doubt that with this approach saying “mine”—well, at least saying it every 5 minutes—will be a thing of the past.



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