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Interaction at the coffee shop - what would you have done? - Page 2

post #21 of 191
I think it would be different if the OP's kid was 4 or 5 and had gone up to the other kids and said, "Hey, can I be this guy? And I was drowning and you found me in the water?" or however she wanted to enter the game... because in that case, I can definitely see how it's a public setting and the toys are for sharing, and it would seem unkind to exclude her. But a one year old just isn't capable of playing the that level...
post #22 of 191
Kids of that age wouldn't be able to include a one-year-old in their play. They'd have to stop playing theirgame, and entertain a toddler instead. If I had the toddler, and I have a babe who is just turning into a toddler and I also have an older child, I'd distract the toddler for a bit until the pirate ship was free. One one hand, public toys like that are for everyone to play with, but it's also reasonable for the older kids to want to finish their game, and I don't think it's asking too much for the toddler to be redirected for a bit so they could continue what they were doing.
post #23 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by North_Of_60 View Post
I never knew Montessori teachings included allowing children to hog group toys in a public setting.

This is why I don't often go to the kid coffee house up the road from me. There is a giant doll house, a big play kitchen area (stove, fridge, shelves, table, etc), a train table, and a dress up station. Each play area is DESIGNED to allow several children to play at once, and naturally, some children want to monopolize it (some because of age appropriate behavior, others because they think they have the right). I think it's unfair, and in some cases, down right mean for older children to purposely exclude and disallow other (usually younger) children to play along. It smacks of bullying, and I won't put up with that.

If you come to a public play house, with public toys, where the entire point is for children to share and play together, you do not have the right, however "politely" you do it, to monopolize the toys. I don't allow my daughter to grab small hand held toys out of someone elses hand, but if she wants to step up to the play kitchen and pretend along with the other kids, she should be able to do so.

But like I said, my displeasure at having to referee play time because other parents are oblivious and or think their children can stake a claim on an entire corner of a play house is not my idea of a fun relaxing time.

If someone thought they could hog the slide structure at the park because they wanted to play on it alone, I'd tell them to pound sand (their parents, that is ).
No where did I say that Montessori encourages children to be selfish toy hogs. What it does due is encourage children to realize and respect others' boundaries. I'm honestly surprised that so many feel that children have no right to their own space or to pursue their own interests without interference from others. We regularly allow adults these courtesies but for whatever reason we regularly trample all over children's boundaries in the name of being "fair."

As others have stated, just because something is in a public space doesn't mean that everyone has to have access to it whenever we want. It would be rude for an adult in a coffee shop to go sit at a table that currently has two adults conversing at it without asking first or receiving an invitation, even if the table could seat three or four people, so I'm not sure why it isn't rude for a child to interject himself into another child or group of children's play with out asking for or receiving an invitation.
post #24 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Kate View Post
It would be rude for an adult in a coffee shop to go sit at a table that currently has two adults conversing at it without asking first or receiving an invitation, even if the table could seat three or four people, so I'm not sure why it isn't rude for a child to interject himself into another child or group of children's play with out asking for or receiving an invitation.
Isn't the point of these coffee house play things for children to go and play and socialize with OTHER children. I don't get the concept of taking your kid to a public play room and then being insulted that other children want to play with yours. And THEN to compare such a social setting (that is set up for children!) to adults sitting at a private table. They are apples and oranges to me.
post #25 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by North_Of_60 View Post
Isn't the point of these coffee house play things for children to go and play and socialize with OTHER children. I don't get the concept of taking your kid to a public play room and then being insulted that other children want to play with yours. And THEN to compare such a social setting (that is set up for children!) to adults sitting at a private table. They are apples and oranges to me.
I think the point of coffee house play things is to entertain children while their parents enjoy the items that they purchased

And why do you assume that if two or more children are playing together that they came together? Maybe my child is already playing with OTHER children. that doesn't mean that they should be obligated to include and accommodate everyone who walks through the door in their play.

I'm also not sure why a table in a public place magically becomes private once it is in use, but a toy remains public domain even if it is already being played with by others (well, as long as it is being used by children ), so we'll have to agree to disagree.
post #26 of 191
Thread Starter 
OP here. Wow, I am surprised by the number of comments! And I appreciate all of your input, and it has certainly made me think about a couple of things that I had not considered. I still do feel that my reaction was appropriate, but I can certainly see the other side of things, too.

Northof60 - I enjoyed reading your posts. You and I have a very similar viewpoint on this (and on other issues, I often think "absolutely!" when I read your posts.)

JustKate - I am sure you didn't mean it to sound this way, and perhaps I am very sensitive to any criticism of my child (aren't we all!) but my daughter was not being rude. She was being 21 months old.
post #27 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post
I'm kind of a hypocrite when it comes to scenarios like this. If my son were the one playing with a toy that another child came up and wanted to share, I'd tell him that the toys are there for everyone to use and he should share nicely or just give the other child a turn if he didn't feel like playing together. But if my son were the one approaching older kids already playing with something and they made it clear they didn't want to share, I'd redirect my son to something else, explaining that he could have a turn when they're finished/next time/whatever. (And when he's older, he'll also get the explanation later that some people are just not that nice and are best avoided, but that he should still be nice and share anyway.)

Maybe it's a double standard, but I don't know how else to help him learn to be a generous, sharing person and still understand that in some situations he's just not welcome.
That's pretty much what I do too. I have told other kids that the playground equipment is for all the kids when the bigger kids are trying to block others from playing.
post #28 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Kate View Post
I think the point of coffee house play things is to entertain children while their parents enjoy the items that they purchased
And there in lies the problem.. parents are too busy enjoying their coffee to notice their kid is being a bully.

Quote:
And why do you assume that if two or more children are playing together that they came together? Maybe my child is already playing with OTHER children. that doesn't mean that they should be obligated to include and accommodate everyone who walks through the door in their play.
If it is a toy or activity that is intended for multiple children to play with at a time, yes, your kid is OBLIGATED to let others participate.

Quote:
I'm also not sure why a table in a public place magically becomes private once it is in use, but a toy remains public domain even if it is already being played with by others
Well, for starters, I think comparing adults at a private table to a public play house for children to socialize and play together is full of holes. They're not even remotely similar situations, in my mind.

I think a more appropriate comparison would be adults at a BBQ or house party, sitting around chit chatting and socializing. I think it would be MORE than appropriate for one adult to walk up and join other adults in the conversation. It is, after all, a social setting. If you wanted to have a private conversation, excuse yourself to a private room or save it for later. I think it's silly to go to a social setting and then get indignant that someone wants to be social.

(And just to be clear, when I say that children are obligated to let others participate, I'm specifically talking about toys or activities where the intended purpose is for multiple children to play. I've already said I wouldn't allow my daughter to snatch a small hand held toy out of someone elses hand, but I DO expect that she will allow other children to play at the toy kitchen or at the train table.. those are multi-children activities.)

Quote:
so we'll have to agree to disagree.
Yep.
post #29 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by North_Of_60 View Post
And there in lies the problem.. parents are too busy enjoying their coffee to notice their kid is being a bully.
It doesn't sound as if the child was a bully at all. He told the OP's dd that he and his sister were playing something. The OP then went over and told him that her child had a right to play, and the boy went and sat by his mom. If anything, the OP was the bully, not the boy. And...the original complaint is that the other children's mom was *too* involved and jumping the gun - not that she was "too busy" enjoying her cofee.

Quote:
Originally Posted by North_Of_60 View Post
I think a more appropriate comparison would be adults at a BBQ or house party, sitting around chit chatting and socializing. I think it would be MORE than appropriate for one adult to walk up and join other adults in the conversation. It is, after all, a social setting. If you wanted to have a private conversation, excuse yourself to a private room or save it for later. I think it's silly to go to a social setting and then get indignant that someone wants to be social.
No, the more appropriate analogy is the board game one. Just because 4 people can play Monopoly doesn't mean that people who choose to play it in a coffee house have to let others join in. The game is public domain, but that doesn't mean it's a free-for-all. Even at the BBQ, though, I don't think it's okay just to insert yourself into any and every conversation. I know people who do it, and we generally avoid them.
post #30 of 191
Or how about a 5-year-old trying to force his/her way into a conversation with adults at a bbq? Because a 5-year-old in a conversation with adults is pretty equivalent to a 1-year-old trying to play with 5-year-olds. When adults and a child are in a conversation, the conversation is all about the child and the adult conversation is over. In the same way, 5-year-olds cant' continue their play if they're forced to include a toddler. It's all about the toddler and their game is over.
post #31 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandiRhoades View Post
It doesn't sound as if the child was a bully at all.
I didn't necessarily mean in this situation. But it happens A LOT at the place near us. The coffee shop is actually separate from the play house, and the play house doesn't allow beverages inside, and it's separated by a wall so the children are completely 100% unsupervised. They have staff in there to help mediate the play, but the older children are sometimes down right cruel to the youngsters, and their parents are in the other room completely oblivious, enjoying their coffee. It's a neat place in theory, but it's actually very poorly run.

Quote:
The OP then went over and told him that her child had a right to play, and the boy went and sat by his mom. If anything, the OP was the bully, not the boy.
Really?

Quote:
No, the more appropriate analogy is the board game one. Just because 4 people can play Monopoly doesn't mean that people who choose to play it in a coffee house have to let others join in.
I actually think having a board game in a public play house for kids is an odd activity since it's so exclusive, but if a couple of kids were already in the middle of a game, I would not allow my child to barge in. However, there is no logical reason why a kid can't join in with imaginary play at a toy kitchen, except for the kids already playing with it wanting to hog it, and that's not cool.

Quote:
Even at the BBQ, though, I don't think it's okay just to insert yourself into any and every conversation.
Being rude and interrupting? Sure. But if there's an empty chair at the picnic table or around the fire, I shouldn't sit there and be social?

But I don't think the 2 year old in question was being rude. She was being a typical toddler and wanted to play with other kids with a toy that had more than enough room to accommodate her. They wanted to purposely exclude her for no other reason than because they didn't want to play with her. It's not even remotely similar to playing a board game that can't be stopped/started once it's in motion. They just didn't want her to play, and I think that's mean.

Quote:
I know people who do it, and we generally avoid them.
Yes, I too generally avoid people who create little clicks and ignore me (or better yet, actually tell me I'm not wanted there.. like the children in the OP did) when I sit down in an empty chair at a BBQ.
post #32 of 191
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandiRhoades View Post
If anything, the OP was the bully, not the boy.
I was nothing of the sort.

And again, Northof60, I agree with everything you said!
post #33 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by North_Of_60 View Post
I

But I don't think the 2 year old in question was being rude. She was being a typical toddler and wanted to play with other kids with a toy that had more than enough room to accommodate her. They wanted to purposely exclude her for no other reason than because they didn't want to play with her. It's not even remotely similar to playing a board game that can't be stopped/started once it's in motion. They just didn't want her to play, and I think that's mean.
It doesn't sound mean to me at all. I'm wondering if this looks different to people have have had 4 and 5 year olds than people who haven't.

I was visiting some friends last night who have a 5 year old and a 23 month old. The 5 year old was setting up her new Littlest Pet Shop figures on tv tray. They were having a camping trip cook out, and chatting with each other. Her little brother kept coming over to her. She tried giving him some other toys to play with, which would keep him busy for a minute or so, and then he'd reach in and grab one of her toys, or knock over the campfire. Finally she gave up and squawked for mom, who took the toddler away and found him something to do.

It was really clear to me that the little one just was not developmentally capable of playing this pretend game with his sister. He just wasn't, and that's because he's one, not five. Instead, he grabbed toys from her, just like the OP's daughter at the cafe. That's what toddlers do. She'd already snatched a toy once - of course the older kids expect her to do it again. They very assertively made it clear to the OP that they didn't want to play with her toddler, and the OP didn't respect that and - yeah, I agree with BrandiRhoades- bullied them and forced her toddler into their space.

This isn't about inviting a latecomer to join a Monopoly game or not - the latecomer in this case isn't capable of playing the game anyway. She might want to move some pieces around, though, and maybe she'd stick with ones we weren't using and maybe she wouldn't, and maybe she'd just snatch a bunch of cards off the board and toss them... which is fine if no one is playing Monopoly at the moment - I used to pull out Risk when Rain was a toddler and I needed a 15 minute break - but not if someone is.
post #34 of 191
Wow! I started out feeling like the other mom was very rude to rush over and tell her child to tell the OP's dd No. But then I read some of the replies about mothers sometimes needing to teach their children how to communicate when others take things from them.

And then that made sense to me. And as well as the possibility that some mentioned, of a 4 or 5yo child allowing some other child to take their toy and then being upset about it, another possibility occurred to me: some children may have less impulse-control, and might even react violently in those situations.

Though I now understand better the other mom's possible reasons (besides rudeness) for doing what she did, I personally wouldn't deal with it that way.

Because when my children were at a developmental-level where they needed me to rush to intervene in a situation like this, this was a time when I pretty much kept myself within arms length. I wasn't sittting at a table drinking coffee and watching from a distance, cause injuries can happen awfully fast.

I have one child who went through a rather long phase of having little impulse-control (that's why I mentioned that second possibility for why that mother may have felt a need to intervene -- but it still makes no sense that she wouldn't have just been right there with her children, if she thought one of them might get violent with your daughter).

Now that my children have developed enough self-control and communication skill that I can sit off to the side and trust that they won't fly off-the-handle at some unsuspecting toddler that walks up and snatches their toy --

I just watch and see how my child reacts. And I'm pleased that both my girls are now pretty sweet and tolerant toward smaller children. If my child is not upset about letting the little one have a turn with the toy (and the other mother hasn't noticed and intervened), then I see it as a positive thing that my child is learning to be understanding and to make allowances for babies.

Now, if my child is upset and the other mother hasn't said anything to her baby, then I will go up and gently say, My daughter was playing with this -- can she have it back and you can have a turn next? And usually by this point the other mom has noticed and will back me up. If she didn't, I wouldn't, like, snatch the toy from the other child's hand or make a big deal, though.

With the large toy that had room for others, I found myself wondering if the older boy was following his mama's example of "teaching" your dd by telling her no. I would probably feel annoyed -- but I think I would redirect my own child to something else.

I might tell the older child, "Okay, well please let dd know when she can have a turn, then." But I can understand kind of reacting to that mom's whole demeanor -- I would have reacted similarly until I read this thread and realized that there might actually be moms who sit off to the side before their children have developed the necessary skills to deal with other children.

And then come swooping in.

As I've said, before mine developed those skills they had a tendency to react aggressively -- so I HAD to be there with them. Sitting at a table enjoying my coffee wasn't even an option.

I also prefer to give the other mom a chance to deal with her child, rather than rushing to have my own child "teach" someone else's child about "No." -- but I think it's a good idea to give the other mom the benefit of the doubt about her intentions.
post #35 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
It doesn't sound mean to me at all. I'm wondering if this looks different to people have have had 4 and 5 year olds than people who haven't.
If you're going to a play house cafe where the children are largely playing unsupervised, and where there is a KNOWN age range, I think it's pertinent to have a conversation explaining that younger kids might try to, you know, play with you.

I don't know.. if we were to go to the cafe play house tomorrow, and if there's a bunch of little toddlers there (which I'm sure there would be), and they wanted to toddle into the pretend kitchen and play along side my almost 4 year old, I would expect that she'd be accommodating to them. I would not allow her to exclude them or push them away or tell them they're not wanted there. I think for her, at this age, I'd really drive home the fact if she didn't want to be bothered by a small toddler that she's free to go do something else, but that she can't exclude the toddler because they're allowed to be there as much as she is.

The age range for our cafe is 4 months to 7 years. There is a 12 month and under play area, and the rest are expected to share and play together. I would say that if a 5 year old wants to play alone in a public setting, the burden is on him to find a spot to be alone and not the other way around.

I think siblings playing in their own home, where they should be afforded a certain amount of personal space is, again, much different from a public social setting where the point is to allow children to play together.
post #36 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by North_Of_60 View Post
I think siblings playing in their own home, where they should be afforded a certain amount of personal space is, again, much different from a public social setting where the point is to allow children to play together.
This makes a lot of sense to me.

Last spring when my youngest was newly-4, she was running around on the patio right outside the playroom at a homeschoolers co-op we go to. She was having a ball just running around out there while some boys of around 6 were playing freeze tag --

But she wasn't "getting it" about needing to freeze and be still until unfrozen -- she gets it now at almost 5, but back then, for whatever reason, she just wanted to keep running around while they were playing their game, without actually following "the rules."

And a couple of the boys tried to make her go back in, and didn't feel she could be outdoors with them if she wasn't playing their way. And I just told them that the patio was for everyone to play on, and one boy's mom backed me up by saying they could just let her run around and not tag her, no big deal.

I was very glad for her support. I'm not sure about what the boat-toy was like -- but if there was room for everyone, then I don't see why the older children couldn't have played their game while she was on the boat -- kind of like in a real life ocean, you don't dictate which fish can swim in the sea, you know?

This doesn't really seem comparable to playing a board game and then being expected to share it with a toddler.
post #37 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
I was very glad for her support. I'm not sure about what the boat-toy was like -- but if there was room for everyone, then I don't see why the older children couldn't have played their game while she was on the boat -- kind of like in a real life ocean, you don't dictate which fish can swim in the sea, you know?
But we're not talking about a large piece of play equipment here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slylives View Post
Ten minutes later, the girl and her brother start to play with a pirate ship – that is so large that 3 or 4 kids could have played with it, comfortably. So Maren wanders over and tries to join in. Before Maren even reached out to touch it, the little boy grabs the pirate ship, moves it away from Maren and says “We want to play with this by ourselves.”
The "large boat" was small enough that a small boy could grab and move it away.
post #38 of 191
Thread Starter 
[QUOTE=North_Of_60;14847050]

I think for her, at this age, I'd really drive home the fact if she didn't want to be bothered by a small toddler that she's free to go do something else, but that she can't exclude the toddler because they're allowed to be there as much as she is.

I would say that if a 5 year old wants to play alone in a public setting, the burden is on him to find a spot to be alone and not the other way around.

QUOTE]

That's exactly the way I saw it. As far as I was concerned, he was free to play with whatever he wanted. If he wanted solitary play -well, go and be solitary somewhere. He could have continued to play with the pirate ship while my daughter was there. Would he have enjoyed it as much? Perhaps not. But it's a public space.

The same thing as when I go to my local bookstore and I sit in my favourite comfy settee - I can go and accept that if someone else wants to share the sofa, I'll have to move up a bit. I don't have to move to let them sit there - but I certainly would not think for a second that I was being bullied if someone said "Could you move up a little so I can sit here?" Nor would I respond "Actually, I would like to sit here alone." And I would be embarrassed if my 5-year said that to another child's parent, to be honest.
post #39 of 191
My thought is, you don't have to agree with how other parents handle things--you just have to navigate your own experience through it.

She's doing what she's doing and you respond best to keep your family happy.

I personally do not think you can force kids to share. The only time I make an exception is when older kids are camping out in those towers at playgrounds and not letting younger kids by to slide and such. In a friendly tone I tell them that the playground is for everyone and anyone can pass through.

If my kids want to use something someone is using I explain that it's up to the other kids to decide if they want to share. I might say something to the other kids to model, "When you are finished playing will you let us know so we can have a turn?" You'd be surprised at how quickly that turn comes.

Even if it's a play kitchen--If there are two older kids happily playing and my toddler wants to crash in I would redirect or try to help him play along. Maybe make suggestions like: Will you serve us food? Can we cook with one of the pots?

In my experience there is not much for right and wrong and more about navigating it so everyone is feeling safe and learning about life.
post #40 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by North_Of_60 View Post
I think for her, at this age, I'd really drive home the fact if she didn't want to be bothered by a small toddler that she's free to go do something else, but that she can't exclude the toddler because they're allowed to be there as much as she is.
So, if you were sitting at a table at the cafe chatting with a friend and the 5 year old's mother sat down at your table and started to talk to you, how would you feel? Do you think that because you're in a public space, you need to share your table and not exclude her, because she has as much right to be there as you have? Or is the burden then on you to move to a different table if you want to chat alone with your friend (although the other woman may follow you there)?
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