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Interaction at the coffee shop - what would you have done? - Page 4

post #61 of 191
Babies should not be playing alone in a play space. Period. 21mo is NOT old enough to play alone, without direct adult supervision, and that doesn't mean where an adult has to go over to another child to tell them that their child wants to play too.

Also, having a 20mo and a 4yo and a 6yo and an 8yo, when the older kids are playing, the baby generally can't play along with them- she just doesn't have the capacity to. If they are playing kitchen, she just grabs what she wants and knocks things over. If they are playing on the train table, she does the same- grabs what she wants with no regards to what they are playing. It is totally normal for her age, but not at all acceptable for when older kids are playing- especially when they aren't siblings!
post #62 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by lach View Post
I find this thread very interesting... if only because I've never seen a coffee house with toys in it!
We don't either and after reading this thread, I'm kind of glad!

Whenever I read threads like this, I always wonder what the response would be if the other person had posted. Saying "I was at the coffee shop with my 4 & 5 yo. They were having a great time playing. Then a woman with a toddler came in..."
post #63 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by North_Of_60 View Post
Isn't that the point with play houses/parks? To let kids play with other kids?
Quote:
Originally Posted by lach View Post
No, it isn't. I take my kids to the local playspace for a change of scenery and because I don't have to clean up.
This honestly explains a lot of the behavior we've seen at our local play house then. Some parents seem defensive of the fact that Little Johnny is being expected to share a desirable toy, or to not hog the trampoline, or is being "bothered" by younger children in a place where they're allowed to be.

According to this thread it has nothing to do with socialization. NOW it makes sense.

Well, sorry. I'm of the believe that if you go to these places, where there is a varying age range, your children should be prepared for the fact that they'll have to interact with those varying age ranges. And share. And not hog the equipment. And not get bent out of shape when they're not being left alone in a room full of children. If you want the type of environment where your children can play alone undisturbed, a play house is not the right environment.

Choose your play space accordingly.
post #64 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindberg99 View Post
We don't either and after reading this thread, I'm kind of glad!
Really! We live in a hot tropical environment where our summer is usually ridiculously hot and rainy. Unless you're at the park at 7 in the morning the equipment is usually too hot use. These places are a GREAT idea in theory - air conditioned, not out in the rain, etc. But are really a nightmare in reality. At least ours is. They have a slide that dumps kids into a foam pit, and I can't count the amount of times children dog pile the poor kid at the bottom of the pit because they don't wait for the other children to get out of the way.

Or they take a toy onto the trampoline and bounce to the point where no other children can get on.

Or they sit at the top of the blow up slide and block the stairs so their friends can play in the ball pit at the bottom undisturbed.

All while their parents sit in the coffee shop completely oblivious. And when they walk in during the middle of me saying "can you please take the ride on worm off the trampoline so my daughter can have a turn?" they give ME a dirty look.

I actually don't think I'll ever go back unless I catch wind that the way they run it has changed. It's a free-for-all at ours.
post #65 of 191
The thing is that socialization doesn't mean having to play with everyone. It means navigating social situations respectfully and kindly and learning how to make your way through a society's norms and customs. You can't change how another mother parents her children. There will always be different styles. There isn't one way to do it. If her kids aren't going to share then the ball's in our court. How are we going to respond? How are we going to model respectful behavior that helps mold a safe and healthy environment. If the other parties behavior is not safe and healthy than you always have the choice to leave and can make a comment to the manager on the way out.

I personally think the OP was being an interactive, thoughtful parent and conscientious enough to come and try and talk it out here to gain some perspective.

I also think, the other kids don't have to share if they don't want to. Sure you can *force* them too, but what fun is that--what does that even accomplish? It's not supporting any kind of learning environment. What you could do is model creative problem solving.

"Gee, Lila really wants to play with that pirate ship. It's so cool and you guys are such big kids. She really looks up to you. How could we make this work?" State the problem: One pirate ship at a coffee ship that all the kids want to play with at the same time. Ask them for their solution. If they still don't want to participate or budge let it go.

I have a 5 year old and a two year old and it is a challenging age difference. I usually have to be directly involved to have the two year old participate and help the five year old adjust to the different type of play.
post #66 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by North_Of_60 View Post
This honestly explains a lot of the behavior we've seen at our local play house then. Some parents seem defensive of the fact that Little Johnny is being expected to share a desirable toy, or to not hog the trampoline, or is being "bothered" by younger children in a place where they're allowed to be.

According to this thread it has nothing to do with socialization. NOW it makes sense.
I have a 2.5 year who who can not, I repeat CAN NOT play appropriately with older children. She is not developmentally ready to. She is a totally normal, perfectly bright toddler. It is not appropriate to take her places and expect her to be an important lesson in socialization. I take her places to amuse her. Period. It is not in her ability to "socialize" with 4 and 5 year olds, and it is not their responsibility to "socialize" her.

It IS the older children's responsibility to treat a toddler respectfully, not hurt them, push them, taunt them, or be mean to them. The other children were behaving perfectly well towards the toddler. That is all that they are required to do in this situation.

FWIW, I don't think you can have it both ways, with the other mother telling OP's child no AND expecting the other children to take responsibility for the toddler. It either takes a village, or it doesn't. I personally believe that it does take a village, but that it's not a 5 year old's responsibility to take care of some random toddler that they've never met before.
post #67 of 191
If the OP had another 5-year-old, it would be fine to expect the kids there to involve that child in play, IMO. But you can't expect them to involve a toddler, because you don't involve a toddler in play, you entertain a toddler, and it isn't fair to drop your toddler off on kids who are having fun expecting them to stop what they're doing to entertain your toddler.
post #68 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by Latte Mama View Post
A large public toy or play area is, IMO for all children. It's not for 1 or 2 kids to hog for themselves. However, if a child has their own personal toy then of course they don't have to share if they don't want to.
I agree with this. However, those children (and mom) were rude.
post #69 of 191
I definitely would have redirected, if it were my 20-21month old. I also have an almost 5 year old and the difference in play between the two age groups is huge. Although I wouldn't expect my 4 year old to play with the toddler, I may have said to her that she could have a few more minutes with the ship and then it was the little girls turn.

If I were the mother of the toddler I would have redirected her to something else and wouldn't have expected the 5 year old to play with her.
post #70 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by North_Of_60 View Post
This analogy makes no sense to me. I'm not going to a restaurant to sit with and socialize with strangers.

Isn't that the point with play houses/parks? To let kids play with other kids? It has never dawned on me to take my daughter to a place like that with the intent of letting her stake claim on A toy and exclude other children in the process. She can do that at home without ruining the social experience for other children (and when she's gone through phases of wanting solitary play, the park is the LAST place we go!).
Actually. The point of play areas in coffee shops is to give kids something to do while their caregiver drinks some coffee. They work much better at making everyone happy than just letting kids try to entertain themselves in coffee shops.

Personally, I choose not to use these areas because I dislike having to parent my child and keep an eye on the other kids who aren't being parented.
post #71 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by lach View Post
but that it's not a 5 year old's responsibility to take care of some random toddler that they've never met before.
I never expected older children to entertain my daughter as a toddler. The sticking point, for me, is that I think it's an unreasonable expectation in a place where there are varying age levels for a couple of kids to want to play alone, undisturbed by curious toddlers.

The older kids snatched the toy away and declared they wanted to play alone before the toddler even did anything. It sounds like they reacted that way at her approach.

Personally, at that point I probably would have redirected my daughter, because who wants to hang out where they're not wanted, right? But I think expecting to be able to play alone and not be approached by toddlers is a bit unreasonable in such a place. And when they ARE approached by toddlers, snatching a toy away and declaring to be left alone is pretty rude. I think they could have handled being "bothered" by the approaching toddler a little nicer.

If it were me with the 5 year old, I wouldn't allow her to treat a 21 month old that way. The 21 month is curious, just wants to play, and means no malice by trying to reach out to the toy.

If my daughter snatched a toy away and declared she wants to be left alone, that wouldn't be how I'd advocate for her to handle the situation. I try to encourage her to be patient with the littles and their age appropriate behavior. I don't think the 21 month old did anything wrong. I do think the 5 year olds were rude. I wouldn't want MY daughter to treat a 21 month old that way, however entitled she is to play imaginative-5 year-old-play without having to "entertain" a toddler.
post #72 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by JL83 View Post
Actually. The point of play areas in coffee shops is to give kids something to do while their caregiver drinks some coffee. They work much better at making everyone happy than just letting kids try to entertain themselves in coffee shops.
I think we're thinking of two different kind of places. I know of coffee shops that have a small play area. However, the one I'm thinking of, which is essentially an indoor play ground with tons of toys, is primarily for kids to play and socialize. They happen to have a small coffee bar and some tables, but the highlight is in the play house.

You have to sign a waiver acknowledging the rules, among them that your child will be well behaved and will share, won't abuse the equipment, etc. If not, your child will be asked to leave the play area.

It's quite different than the play areas in the back of a coffee shop. It's 4000 square feet of play space.

Quote:
Personally, I choose not to use these areas because I dislike having to parent my child and keep an eye on the other kids who aren't being parented.
Precisely why we don't go anymore.
post #73 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by North_Of_60 View Post
I never expected older children to entertain my daughter as a toddler. The sticking point, for me, is that I think it's an unreasonable expectation in a place where there are varying age levels for a couple of kids to want to play alone, undisturbed by curious toddlers.

The older kids snatched the toy away and declared they wanted to play alone before the toddler even did anything. It sounds like they reacted that way at her approach.

Personally, at that point I probably would have redirected my daughter, because who wants to hang out where they're not wanted, right? But I think expecting to be able to play alone and not be approached by toddlers is a bit unreasonable in such a place. And when they ARE approached by toddlers, snatching a toy away and declaring to be left alone is pretty rude. I think they could have handled being "bothered" by the approaching toddler a little nicer.

If it were me with the 5 year old, I wouldn't allow her to treat a 21 month old that way. The 21 month is curious, just wants to play, and means no malice by trying to reach out to the toy.

If my daughter snatched a toy away and declared she wants to be left alone, that wouldn't be how I'd advocate for her to handle the situation. I try to encourage her to be patient with the littles and their age appropriate behavior. I don't think the 21 month old did anything wrong. I do think the 5 year olds were rude. I wouldn't want MY daughter to treat a 21 month old that way, however entitled she is to play imaginative-5 year-old-play without having to "entertain" a toddler.
But the 21 month old can NOT play (as defined by a 5 year old)! All she can do is grab stuff, dump stuff, and generally ruin everything (again, as defined by a 5 year old). How on earth can they possibly include her?
post #74 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by North_Of_60 View Post
I think we're thinking of two different kind of places. I know of coffee shops that have a small play area. However, the one I'm thinking of, which is essentially an indoor play ground with tons of toys, is primarily for kids to play and socialize. They happen to have a small coffee bar and some tables, but the highlight is in the play house.

You have to sign a waiver acknowledging the rules, among them that your child will be well behaved and will share, won't abuse the equipment, etc. If not, your child will be asked to leave the play area.

It's quite different than the play areas in the back of a coffee shop. It's 4000 square feet of play space.



Precisely why we don't go anymore.
I think this is key too.

If we are talking about a big play area vs. a box of toys laid out, there is a difference.

At a local mall we have an indoor play area. It has slides and big, almost playground toys. I do not think that is what the OP is talking about. She discussed hand held toys and a pirate ship (I'm thinking Lego or Playmobile sized). Yes, three kids could fit around that (especially if you have a very young child and no experience with older children and how they play) but it isn't like a ball pit or a jungle gym, where we all share. It is a toy for pretend play, which a baby can NOT do, and it was already beig used, so wait your turn!
post #75 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by North_Of_60 View Post
The older kids snatched the toy away and declared they wanted to play alone before the toddler even did anything. It sounds like they reacted that way at her approach.....And when they ARE approached by toddlers, snatching a toy away and declaring to be left alone is pretty rude. I think they could have handled being "bothered" by the approaching toddler a little nicer.
All he did was move the toy and say they wanted to play alone. That's not rude and not poorly handled. It was the truth being stated as a 5 year old would state it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by North_of_60
I don't think the 21 month old did anything wrong. I do think the 5 year olds were rude.
Quote:
Originally Posted by North_of_60
But I don't think the 2 year old in question was being rude. She was being a typical toddler....
I don't get why you're saying it's okay for the toddler to be a toddler and it's not okay for the 4 and 5 year old kids to be 4 and 5 year old kids.

4 and 5 year olds DO NOT want to play with babies, because to them, babies wreck the play. And they do. They don't understand that kind of play yet. It was perfectly within the bigger kids' age expectations that they reacted in this way. They aren't adults, for goodness sake.

ETA: And you know, this whole "public toy" thing works at home too. All the toys in our home are for use by ALL my kids. Still, they have to take turns.

In no way would I ever think it acceptable to let my one year old venture in to play Playmobil with my almost 4 and 5 year old kids, because that would really mean Baby was ruining everything they'd set up. That would frustrate the bigger kids and make them feel like their play was being disrespected.

If I wouldn't let my OWN babies do this to their siblings, why would I think it would be okay to let my baby do it to someone else?
post #76 of 191
This, is the largest toy pirate ship I can find on Amazon with out it being a ride on or furniture. It is too big for a 5 yo to just grab away. Notice that the picture shows just 2 children playing on it (both considerably older than 2 yo.) This isn't like a ball pit, bouncer, train table, etc.
post #77 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by flowers View Post
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.
just wnated to apologize for all the spelling errors...i'm NAK and tyring to get ds to nap lol
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.
I totally agree with this. It is really hard to nit pick a past experience like this (involing sharing...what should or shouldn't have happend, etc) because we are all different and we all weren't there. I take every case like this (involving my ds and sharing/turn taking etc.) one at a time and naviagate it in the way that seems the most fair/reasonlable. You can't be there every second when one kid drops something and another grabs it. "they were done with it it is on the ground!" "No I wasn't I just accidentally dropped it" etc. I work with young children so I see it all day long. We take it case by case and do what seems best in the situation. It doesn't do a whole lot of good for the OP to point fingers at this other mom...I see that she felt slighted by the situation, but the mom was probably navigating the situation the way she saw fit.
post #78 of 191
I have not read all the responses but I wanted to reply.

I think when our children are involved we tend to be overly sensitive. This is the nature of being a mother. We dont want our children taken advantage of. I have a five year old and a just turned two year old. They rarely can play together at this age. Toddlers are grabby and want to play with whatever the other kid has. This is normal for a toddler. Older preschoolers (4/5 yr olds) have learned that it is not acceptable to take things from other children and they have to wait their turn. They dont understand that it is normal for a toddler so they become angry and annoyed with the toddler just as we as adults do around people being rude by not following societal rules. Your child is learning from every situation she encounters. She is learning how to be a person and act according to the rules of our society. When she does something not appropriate the other children telling her "no" is teaching her that it is not okay to do what she did. This is the best way for kids to learn all things but if you disagree with the "rule" your child is being taught then it is totally in your right to interfere.
This being said, I love the play area in my local coffee shop. It allows me to sit with my girlfriends and chat while the kids are entertained. I keep and eye and an ear out at all times but I only interfere when absolutely necessary because conflict resolution is wonderful skill which is learned by children in these places too
post #79 of 191
I don't understand this concept of the older kids being forced to entertain a younger child. I have a 21 month old and an almost 6 year old. He isnt super fun to play with because his range just isnt great yet. He can play side by side with dd with a dollhouse for maybe 5 minutes before he wanders away. He can pretend to be the puppy when they play house. That is about the total of his abilities.

When we go to playgroup the kids range in age from 20mths to 8 years old. The older kids dont usually exclude the youngers unless they are playing something that the little ones can wreck like legos. If they try to exclude them just because we tell them they have to let the littles be in the same room (again, unless it is legos which are only played with in one room where the door can be closed.)

We dont say "hey, keep them entertained - you have to let them be a princess too!" but we expect them not to kick the babies out and to give them some dress up clothes as well. It works most the time and if one of the babies is getting rough or ruining the play we remove them. Most the time though the toddlers just follow along with the bigger kids and imitate some sort of the play.

It is just weird to me that letting a toddler play with the same items or be near the older kids equals forcing of the older kids to entertain the toddlers.
post #80 of 191
The differing viewpoints in this thread are fascinating. The view that all children must be willing to play together is particularly interesting. I don't know many adults who would comply with that rule. If I'm in a room with other adults, particularly strangers, I may exchange some pleasantries with them - or I may ignore them completely. Likewise, I wouldn't expect unknown adults to socialize with me. I may or may not decide to share my space, delve into deeper conversation, invite them into a closer relationship. Or I may, as nicely as possible, make it clear that I prefer my own society for a while. Since that's an acceptable standard for adults, it's the same standard that I use for children.

Children are not being mean if they simply don't want to play with an unknown child. If they snatched toys away, or bullied and intimidated the other child, or if it's a mutual social situation (e.g. group playdate, birthday party) and one child was excluded by the other children, it would be different. The original scenario, as described in the first post, is not an example of "mean".
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