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Interaction at the coffee shop - what would you have done? - Page 5

post #81 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindberg99 View Post

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..."
LOL!! I wondered the exact same thing. I'm pretty sure the responses would start..."Your children are still so young..."
post #82 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
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.
Exactly. If I had a 5 year old who wasn't being allowed to play with other 5 year olds, I would expect the mother to intervene. But not-even-2 year olds and 5 year olds are completely different species.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
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.
That's kind of what I was picturing too, and OP hasn't explained otherwise. While technically a third child could fit alongside it, I think it would be very hard for that third child to play an entirely separate game using it. Particularly when that third child is 22 months old.

Quote:
Originally Posted by a-sorta-fairytale View Post
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.
Because a 22 month old can't play WITH other children. It's a developmental impossibility. To paraphrase someone else on this thread, you don't play with an almost 2-year old: you entertain them. A toddler can play by himself, but his behavior is not socially acceptable in the 5 year old universe: it will involve grabbing (which OP's child already did), knocking over, poor language skills, short attention span, and inability to keep a linear storyline going. By foisting a 22mo on a 5yo and expecting them to play "together," really the only possible expectation is for the 5 year old to stop playing at his level, and start playing at the 22mo's level. Which is, in effect, entertaining the 22mo.

This sometimes works out very well: it's happened more than once that an older child will kind of adopt my daughter on the playground, and show her around and help her dig in the sandbox. I think that's adorable when it happens. But I certainly don't expect it to happen. There is no way that a toddler would be able to play with the pirate ship linked to above at the same time as a 5 year old in a way that lets the 5 year old finish his game.
post #83 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by fairejour View Post
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?
Quote:
Originally Posted by a-sorta-fairytale View Post
I don't understand this concept of the older kids being forced to entertain a younger child.
I don't think it's the expectation that older kids should "entertain" babies, but the expectation that a group of kids should be left alone in a public space with public toys at the APPROACH of a toddler.

The 21 month old hadn't even touched the pirate ship when the other kid took it away and declared that they wanted to play alone. I understand older kids not wanting a baby to come in and crash their set up, but I still don't understand why their reaction is condoned.

I just think that in a public space, with public toys, it's unrealistic to expect curious toddlers to not approach your kids. If that is a problem, find a place to play where curious toddlers won't walk over to your kids.
post #84 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by a-sorta-fairytale View Post
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.
I just don't understand what the OP expected the children to do. Her child does not have the developmental capacity to play with other children. What was she going to do with the pirate ship other than bang on it?
post #85 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.
From the OP, it really sounds as if that's because the toddler had repeatedly come to try to grab whatever they had. There was the original incident with the grabbing. Then the OP said she tried to be there whenever her dd went after another toy. Then this pirate ship issue, which was only 10 minutes later. Given that chain of events, the preschoolers' reactions just don't seem out of line.

Going to a place to play doesn't mean it's necessary to play with anyone and everyone. Some choice is still involved. We've actually been to places where older children decided to play tag and told the younger kids they *had* to play. So then all of the parents of the youngers are explaining that you can just go on your way; you don't have to play with those children if you don't want to. I personally take my children to these areas to play. If they find other children to play with them, that's great, but sometimes they don't mesh with anyone else there. That's okay, too. The goal is to give my children a different setting for playing, not to force them to play with anyone who comes along.

Like others, I don't actually think this pirate ship was very big. The OP said her 21MO could've moved it, so how big could it be? I think in reality it simply wasn't something that could be shared by two groups of children (assuming, of course, that the preschoolers and toddler would've been playing different games with it). In that case, it's not all that different from a hand-held toy that one child has.
post #86 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by North_Of_60 View Post
I don't think it's the expectation that older kids should "entertain" babies, but the expectation that a group of kids should be left alone in a public space with public toys at the APPROACH of a toddler.

The 21 month old hadn't even touched the pirate ship when the other kid took it away and declared that they wanted to play alone. I understand older kids not wanting a baby to come in and crash their set up, but I still don't understand why their reaction is condoned.

I just think that in a public space, with public toys, it's unrealistic to expect curious toddlers to not approach your kids. If that is a problem, find a place to play where curious toddlers won't walk over to your kids.
But the child had already tried to grab a toy from them (developmentally appropriate but to a 5 year old, a crime!) and was coming back to mess with their stuff again. They didn't push the baby or yell, but simply used appropriate language to express their desire to use this toy right now.
post #87 of 191
My response would be different depending if I were the parent of the 4/5 yo or the parent of the 1 yo.

I would expect my 4/5 yo to "be kind to the baby. Show the baby what to do." (and my 4/5 yo would have been happy to do so). I'd redirect my dc if she were having a very difficult time doing so.

I would redirect 1 yo in this situation. I can't understand attempting to force 4/5 yo children who don't know my 1 yo to share a toy/game with him, no matter how public the space.

I guess my pov is, I can only parent my own dc, and I would rather focus on helping my dc deal with an imperfect situation in a flexible, positive way.
post #88 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by lach View Post
Because a 22 month old can't play WITH other children. It's a developmental impossibility. To paraphrase someone else on this thread, you don't play with an almost 2-year old: you entertain them. A toddler can play by himself, but his behavior is not socially acceptable in the 5 year old universe: it will involve grabbing (which OP's child already did), knocking over, poor language skills, short attention span, and inability to keep a linear storyline going. By foisting a 22mo on a 5yo and expecting them to play "together," really the only possible expectation is for the 5 year old to stop playing at his level, and start playing at the 22mo's level. Which is, in effect, entertaining the 22mo.
I'm jumping into this discussion because I don't agree that this is a hard and fast rule. As a general matter, sure, a 2 year old can't play interactively and imaginatively at the same level of a 5 year old, but that doesn't mean that the 2yo is always and only limited to grabby baby play either.

I used to take my twins to a large indoor play space regularly from the time they could walk. There was always a pretty big age range (from crawling babies to probably 6yos) and the rules required that all kids share the space with one another as amicably as possible. My kids may not have been able to play at the same sophisticated level of the 5 or 6yos when they were really little, but they were more than capable of parallel play along side those kids when it came to things like train tables, playhouses or play kitchens. Rarely was it the case that they crashed into older kid play and ruined or interfered in it, and I simply don't understand this idea that toddlers aren't capable of playing nicely and cooperatively alongside others and even with others on a limited basis.

Perhaps Slylives needs to clarify for us a bit what this play space was really like, but assuming it was anything like the place to which I used to take my kids I would agree that the older kids were not being realistic in assuming that they should have been able to play in a completely isolated and undisturbed manner free from the distractions of other, smaller children. The whole point is that it isn't an extension of one's personal playroom, it's a space that must be shared with others and that contains toys that must be shared with others (not necessarily sharing in the sense of more than one kid playing with the same toy at the same time, but at the very least that every one is expected to fairly take turns with all the toys.) If kids aren't prepared to deal with the reality of other kids of varying ages also being present and possibly having to interact/share/take turns then they simply shouldn't be there.

I also disagree with the comparisons being made to adults being forced to share a table with strangers at a cafe or to converse with strangers. A better analogy would be if an adult walked into a bookstore or library and then tried to bar all other patrons from entering the non-fiction area so that she could have it all to herself.

I also wanted to point out that just because a 5 or 6yo may be able to play at a fairly complicated and sophisticated level doesn't mean that they yet understand how to interact with peers or younger kids at a correspondingly sophisticated level. I think it likely goes without saying that they still very much need their parents help and guidance in negotiating that sort of thing.
post #89 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lolagirl View Post

I also disagree with the comparisons being made to adults being forced to share a table with strangers at a cafe or to converse with strangers. A better analogy would be if an adult walked into a bookstore or library and then tried to bar all other patrons from entering the non-fiction area so that she could have it all to herself.
Well no, because the older children weren't trying to bar the toddler from the playspace in the coffee shop, they just wanted to play with one of the toys. An adult walks into a bookstore or library and tries to take a book out of someone's hands or read over someone's shoulder - that would be the analogy.

In fact, some coffee shops offer newspapers and magazines for their patrons. If I was reading a section of the newspaper, I'd think it very odd if someone asked me if they could have it instead.
post #90 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post
Well no, because the older children weren't trying to bar the toddler from the playspace in the coffee shop, they just wanted to play with one of the toys. An adult walks into a bookstore or library and tries to take a book out of someone's hands or read over someone's shoulder - that would be the analogy.

In fact, some coffee shops offer newspapers and magazines for their patrons. If I was reading a section of the newspaper, I'd think it very odd if someone asked me if they could have it instead.
No, first they grab a book out of their hand, and then give it back. Then the patron finds something else to read and the guy follows him around. When the patron sits down to read again, the guy wonders over again and wants to read the magazine too.

That is what happened!
post #91 of 191
Yeah, a train table or a play kitchen wouldn't be the same thing because different groups can play their own games at the same time. But to play with the same toy is a completely different issue. It would be fine for a toddler to use a kitchen at the same time, and from what I've seen kids that age have that expectation for large play centers like that. But they do not have that expectation for a toy like it sounds like was being used in the OP, a toy too small for more than one group to use simutaneously.

In 5-year-old etiquette, in a situation like this the 5-year-old approaches the other group, and from a short distance asks, "Can I play with you?" and is given an answer. That's what 5-year-olds expect in their interactions. Obviously, toddlers don't do that, or do about anything else in the same way as 5-year-olds. We understand that toddlers aren't able to behave like 5-year-olds, but we also need to understand that 5-year-olds aren't able to behave like adults. We here might have worded things differently, but we aren't 5.
post #92 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lolagirl View Post
that doesn't mean that the 2yo is always and only limited to grabby baby play either.
The child isn't 2. She's still very much in the realm of 1.

Quote:
I would agree that the older kids were not being realistic in assuming that they should have been able to play in a completely isolated and undisturbed manner free from the distractions of other, smaller children.
I don't think the kids were assuming they could play in an isolated and undisturbed manner free from distractions. They just wanted to play with the *one* thing they had, and play alone, already having experienced the OP's grabby (and appropriately so) toddler.

And come on, they are FOUR and FIVE. Again, these are children too. Why is it that the toddler is A-OK acting like a toddler and the older kids are NOT allowed to act like older kids?

Quote:
The whole point is that it isn't an extension of one's personal playroom, it's a space that must be shared with others and that contains toys that must be shared with others (not necessarily sharing in the sense of more than one kid playing with the same toy at the same time, but at the very least that every one is expected to fairly take turns with all the toys.)
You just said it - yes, it's a public playspace. As in, the toys are available for public use. But not all at one time!!! They can take turns, and it was the older kids' turn until the OP ruined it for them.

Quote:
If kids aren't prepared to deal with the reality of other kids of varying ages also being present and possibly having to interact/share/take turns then they simply shouldn't be there.
That's just silly. These kids were interacting (they told her they wanted to play alone), and they were taking turns by using the toy first (I assume when they were done they would've found something else to play with, thus freeing up the toy for the OP's child).

Quote:
A better analogy would be if an adult walked into a bookstore or library and then tried to bar all other patrons from entering the non-fiction area so that she could have it all to herself.
No, it's not similar at all. The kids weren't telling the toddler she couldn't play in an AREA, but with only one TOY.

Quote:
just because a 5 or 6yo may be able to play at a fairly complicated and sophisticated level doesn't mean that they yet understand how to interact with peers or younger kids at a correspondingly sophisticated level. I think it likely goes without saying that they still very much need their parents help and guidance in negotiating that sort of thing.
And that's what their mom did the first time.
The second time, it was the OP's child who needed help and guidance from her mother, to redirect her to something else.

Just my 2 cents, of course.
post #93 of 191
Oh, the analogies...
post #94 of 191
I have a 5 and 7 year old and if they were happily playing with a pirate ship (and I am imagining the one they have at home - a plastic structure that is about 1.5 feet long) I would be pretty ticked off if a mom of a toddler came up and told them they had to share. In fact, after my kids came to me upset, I would have probably said to the mom "My kids were playing with that and they would like to play alone. Can your DD play with something else until they are finished?"

I have been to coffee shops with toys in them and I would never expect that my kids could just jump in and play with something that some other kids were already playing with. I teach them to ask before they join in someone else's play and if they are told no, I explain that they need to respect that child's desire to play alone.

Then i would have redirected them to something else.
post #95 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anastasiya View Post
The child isn't 2. She's still very much in the realm of 1.

I don't think the kids were assuming they could play in an isolated and undisturbed manner free from distractions. They just wanted to play with the *one* thing they had, and play alone, already having experienced the OP's grabby (and appropriately so) toddler.

And come on, they are FOUR and FIVE. Again, these are children too. Why is it that the toddler is A-OK acting like a toddler and the older kids are NOT allowed to act like older kids?

You just said it - yes, it's a public playspace. As in, the toys are available for public use. But not all at one time!!! They can take turns, and it was the older kids' turn until the OP ruined it for them.

That's just silly. These kids were interacting (they told her they wanted to play alone), and they were taking turns by using the toy first (I assume when they were done they would've found something else to play with, thus freeing up the toy for the OP's child).
With all due respect, these two older kids were only interacting with each other to the exclusion of the one other child also present in the play space at that time. And how on earth is another child walking over to them also trying to play going to ruin it for them? One instance of grabbiness on the part of the OP's daughter does not need to color the remainder of the interaction for the negative (and she was not 1yo, I believe the OP clarified her daughter was around 22 mos, so a mere 2 months shy of being a 2yo.)

Sure, all parties need to understand what is age appropriate for all of the kids involved here. Slylives already indicated that she stepped in and dealt with her daughter trying to grab a toy from the other kids, because even though it was "age appropriate" doesn't mean it should have gone ignored by her. Likewise the older kids mother should have stepped in and helped her kids deal with their age appropriate yet still unfair dislike of having a younger kid around trying to play with or near them.

Quote:
No, it's not similar at all. The kids weren't telling the toddler she couldn't play in an AREA, but with only one TOY.

And that's what their mom did the first time.
The second time, it was the OP's child who needed help and guidance from her mother, to redirect her to something else.

Just my 2 cents, of course.
Hmm this line of logic seems to be straddling both sides of the fence, on the one hand the older kids are sharing the space and interacting appropriately with others while still wanting to play alone and unencumbered by other kids? I get that some here are more inclined to sympathize with the older kids or the younger kids in this discussion, what I think Slylives was hoping for was some sympathy and further discussion of how to reconcile the two competing and at time contradictory interests when in a public space like the one in her OP.

Quote:
“We want to play with this by ourselves.”
Those were the exact words the older kids used with Slylives daughter, and at that point it would have been appropriate (and arguably necessary) for the older kids mother to jump in and clarify that they would let Marin have a turn with that toy in short order so that it wouldn't be monopolized. Sorry, but if one doesn't care to monitor and even police one's children in a common play space like this that she and her children should simply stay home.
post #96 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lolagirl View Post
With all due respect, these two older kids were only interacting with each other to the exclusion of the one other child also present in the play space at that time.
I'm sorry, but why should the kids care? They were siblings. Why should they have to care that there was another child there too? Especially one SO young in comparison? I'm not getting this. Furthermore, if she was the only other child there, then the entire playspace was free for her to use while the bigger kids enjoyed their pirate game.

Quote:
And how on earth is another child walking over to them also trying to play going to ruin it for them?
Because she wasn't just walking over, she was about to join in. IN other words, they saw she was going to play too, she wasn't just walking their way.

Quote:
One instance of grabbiness on the part of the OP's daughter does not need to color the remainder of the interaction for the negative
But it does color things for young children. After one or two grabs from our baby, my kids don't want him around their big kid toys - because he keeps grabbing, knocking over, and messing things up.

Quote:
(and she was not 1yo, I believe the OP clarified her daughter was around 22 mos, so a mere 2 months shy of being a 2yo.)
21 months - so she's still one. Two years and beyond is really a huge time for growth and development and social interaction. By calling her already 2, it sounds like she's anywhere between 24 months and 35 months.

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Likewise the older kids mother should have stepped in and helped her kids deal with their age appropriate yet still unfair dislike of having a younger kid around trying to play with or near them.
So kids cannot dislike being forced to play with other kids they don't want to play with? It's not okay to dislike something? And I don't think it was unfair. The kids weren't rude. They stated a fact and moved on till the OP barged in. No one said "Get her out of here!" or "I don't like her!" or "Leave us alone - you ruin everything!" They just said, "We want to play by ourselves."

Is that not worth our respect, too?

Quote:
Hmm this line of logic seems to be straddling both sides of the fence, on the one hand the older kids are sharing the space and interacting appropriately with others while still wanting to play alone and unencumbered by other kids?
Yes. That can happen simultaneously. It happens at daycares and schools across the country. It's a public playspace, but sometimes one or two toys cannot be used by everyone at once. That would be chaos and disrespectful of the others who had it first.

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I get that some here are more inclined to sympathize with the older kids or the younger kids in this discussion,
I have both age groups (5, 3, 2, and baby) and I sympathize with both children. I do not sympathize with slylives' reaction however.

Quote:
what I think Slylives was hoping for was some sympathy and further discussion of how to reconcile the two competing and at time contradictory interests when in a public space like the one in her OP.
Then I'd say: In the future, saying something like "The bigger kids are using that toy now, when they are done we'll play with it," then redirect her to something else.

Quote:
Sorry, but if one doesn't care to monitor and even police one's children in a common play space like this that she and her children should simply stay home.
Why does a child need to be POLICED when he and his sister are playing with a single toy and he says something as honest and simple as "We want to play by ourselves" ????
post #97 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lolagirl View Post
Those were the exact words the older kids used with Slylives daughter, and at that point it would have been appropriate (and arguably necessary) for the older kids mother to jump in and clarify that they would let Marin have a turn with that toy in short order so that it wouldn't be monopolized. Sorry, but if one doesn't care to monitor and even police one's children in a common play space like this that she and her children should simply stay home.
First, I don't helicopter parent. If my 4YO said that he'd like to play alone with one single toy, I wouldn't feel any need to intervene. Why should I? Now, once the other mom stepped in like OP, I probably would've said something to her along the lines of "they just started playing with this toy. Couldn't your daughter play with it once they're done?" Without the OP's intervention, no other parenting is needed.

Second, the other mom *did* parent her children at first, and the OP was ticked off about *that* because she didn't like how the other mom parenting. I mean, sheesh, at what point can someone just not win?
post #98 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lolagirl View Post
Those were the exact words the older kids used with Slylives daughter, and at that point it would have been appropriate (and arguably necessary) for the older kids mother to jump in and clarify that they would let Marin have a turn with that toy in short order so that it wouldn't be monopolized.
Why is it necessary for the other mom to jump in and say that? It would have been just as easy and appropriate for the OP to say something along the lines of "Okay, they are playing with the ship right now, lets find something else to play with right now and you can have a turn when they are finished."

And why would the children be obligated to finish their turn in short order? There is no reason that the OP's child needs to have her desire to play with the boat gratified within a certain time frame, or even at all, so long as the other children are legitimately occupied with the toy and not just keeping her from playing with it out of spite. Its not like the boat was the only toy in the room. I mean, I'd love to sit at my favourite table by the window every time I go to the coffee shop, but it would be completely unthinkable for me to tell the person currently using the chair to hurry up so I can sit there next or for me to tell the lady reading one of the shop's magazines to finish up quickly because I want to read it too.

Its part of life that you can't always have exactly what you want and I don't trample (or encourage my children) to trample over other children to protect my kids from that fact.

ETA: I have a 3.75 year old and a 26 month old, so I have experienced both sides of this situation, and had the toddler in question been my 26 month old, I would not have chosen to handle the situation the way the OP did. I would have directed him to another toy and let him know that if the other children finished with the boat before we left, that he could play with it then.
post #99 of 191
Also, Lolagirl, if the brother and sister were truly the only other ones in the coffee shop with the OP's daughter, then naturally the toddler would tend to follow them around to whatever thing they did. Are they supposed to keep giving her everything she wants just because she's a baby? They play with the pirate ship and Maren wants to play too - but because she's 1.5 she can't really "play" with them - so in order to "play" with her they essentially sacrifice the toy to her. Then they move on to something else. She follows them, lather, rinse, repeat.

In the end, it's the brother and sister who have to cater to and entertain the toddler, and don't get to enjoy anything by themselves, at all. That's not right either.
post #100 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
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.
I think I completely misunderstood the size of the toy in the OP. I thought it something like a play structure. If it is something like this picture on Amazon then I understand the older kids not wanting the toddler to play. I also don't ever thing that kids should be FORCED to play together. I DO think that if a play structure is large enough for multiple kids to use at once, no one should hog it. That doesn't mean the children necessarily have to use it together in play if that makes sense.
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