I took my 2yo son to a park yesterday. My son doesn't go anywhere without a toy car in his hand. Sometimes, he has one for each hand. If he had three hands, it's very possible he would take 3 toy cars with him.
So anyway, we went to the park and the very second he climbed onto some of the playground equipment, a little boy I'm estimating was around 5 years old and a girl who I'm assuming was his big sister, glommed onto my kid and his toy car. The boy was enamored with the car, and asked me a whole bunch of questions about it. Like, was that specific car my kid's favorite car, does he have a lot of toy cars, how does it work, etc. The boy was also blocking the way up onto the playground equipment, so my son just started vroom-vrooming with his car on the step where he was stuck. The boy apparently saw this as an invitation to play and just took the toy out of my son's hand. I asked him to please give the car back to my son, and I was glad that he did without any arguing. The boy tried briefly to get my son to "play with him" and I'm guessing share the car, but that wasn't happening.
I looked around to see where his adult was, but there was nobody around. There was another mom playing with her toddler daughter, but she wasn't related to this boy. My son ran to another part of the playground, and was trying to play with his toy car but the boy followed him. Then, he just directly asked me if he could have the car. I said no. He asked a lot of time, directly and indirectly, and I think tried to make me feel guilty by saying he didn't have any cars like that. I was starting to get annoyed, so I told him to go ask his mother. He said "ask my mom for that car?" What?? I said "no, just ask her for a car".
Sheesh! It was clear that no amount of politely telling him he can't have my son's car was working, so I just started ignoring him and tried to get my son to move away. Fortunately, after oozing down the slide once, my kid was ready to leave (this is standard for him), so we left. I felt bad for the other mom though, because now those 2 older kids were bothering her and her daughter.
As I was walking home, I was thinking about different ways to handle annoying children who won't leave you alone and who don't seem to have a parent or guardian watching them. My first thought was don't refer to a mother, and maybe ask if an adult is with them. You never know, maybe the kids live just with their dad or the mother is not in their life.
Any other ideas? I think I need some more ideas since my son's need to have a toy car in his hands at all times has attracted the attention of other children often!