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Playground Vent - Page 4

post #61 of 178
Alright, I'm feeling very irritated by this so I'm going to point out my irritation, because I'm like that.

Why is this conversation turning into black and white? Why does it seem like people need to be either 50' away 'letting their kids handle it' or helicoptering? This polarization isn't helping in the slightest. I stand 5' away from my two year old because she doesn't have a lot of social skills yet. We *always* bring sand toys to the park and she occasionally needs a word or two of reminding but she's great at sharing. I don't see why me standing nearish to say, "Hey it's not polite to grab. It would be better if you said, 'May I use this?'" to my kid is offensive to anyone. Just because someone is trying to teach their kid manners doesn't mean they are off constantly lecturing other peoples kids. That said, if another child is constantly grabbing things away from my kid and she freaks out I will tell the kid, "Hey--if you can't be polite you don't need to use our toys." That is not policing every kid at the playground. For the record I have never had to use a sharp tone of voice with another kid. If I tell a three year old to be polite they have universally said something to the effect of, "oh! Please...." It's never been anything like a problem.

I don't see why people are vilifying anyone else. I think that if your kids are old enough to pretty much have their manners in check then you don't need to be near them. I don't see a problem with parents of 4-5+ year old kids sitting 50' away. By that age my kid really better have figured stuff out or I've got bigger problems. But at two I don't think it's a good thing to tell kids to 'just figure it out'. She's just not there yet. And if your kid is a particularly mature three, sure. Whatever. You know your kid.

I don't understand why things have to be an either/or. I don't think that all kids have to be hovered over forever. I don't think that two year olds need to be ditched and told to figure it out. Where is the middle ground here?
post #62 of 178
Please try not to be judgmental of those you perceive as "helicoptering."

My dd is 4. If we are at park alone, or with just a few kids, I sit on a bench and let her do her thing. If the park is crowded, particularly after school, I tend to hover--because she has severe food allergies, including a contact allergy to wheat. There is simply too much snacking going on at the playground and other kids don't know that they can't touch my dd's hand while they're eating their crackers or not to offer her food. My job is to keep her safe. You have no idea what sort of issues the child of the "hovering" parent might have.
post #63 of 178
Quote:
Originally Posted by BarnMomma View Post
OP here
What i didn't like was the child who would not share HER toys, but had no problem taking DS's shovel right out of his hand and using it while her stash of toys sat gaurded behind her. That is when a parent/nanny should have stepped in.
That's when you say "I'm sorry, but that is ours. Where is your grown-up?". I've also asked for things back when we're leaving places.

At most of the playgrounds around, the children 4 and under are usually being watched by someone.
post #64 of 178
Quote:
Originally Posted by NiteNicole View Post
I think it's telling that the "you need to back off and let kids be kids" parents are usually the parents of the yeller/hitter/thrower/grabber.
Do you actually have any proof of this? It's certainly not been my experience. As I said earlier, my children have never hit or pushed another child at a playground. Neither of my children has ever bitten anyone. I've seen more problems arise from parents intervening - say, insisting that everyone give her child enough "space" to brave the slide - than from children. I have more faith in children than most people here do. I believe that children, even preschoolers, can handle many problems on their own if they're given the opportunity.
post #65 of 178
Quote:
Originally Posted by BetsyNY View Post
There's a middle ground, though, isn't there? Can't parents be present without being accused of hovering? There's a difference between paying attention from a distance and completely tuning out and turning off.
But I don't think anyone in this thread is saying that they completely tune out and turn off. At MOST, we say that we keep a distance and watch for the children to get in real fights (hitting, rude language, etc.) before we step in. The OP seems to feel that the time to step in is way before that, such as, petty disagreements, or rudeness like failing to share evenly. All of us agree that the children need supervision and that there are limits.

Quote:
"If my child is really upset or hurt of course I will go over. If someone is really bullying another (my child doing or receiving) I will go intervene. If my child comes to me whining about another child I will usually not get up but talk with them how they can deal with it the problem on their own. It is not a free-for-all philosophy. I am constantly focusing on teaching my children empathy and respect for others which I believe are crucial. But I do not do it by micro-managing their play."
Totally agree.

Quote:
"It actually isn't YOUR child's domain at all. It's everyone's park to share, and if you happen to have a child that is making the park an uncomfortable or unpleasant place to play for others, then isn't it your job to teach her otherwise? And it doesn't sound like the OP's child is really sensitive as opposed to polite and easy going. And also, stepping in when your child is beng unfair to others isn't being a helicopter at all, it's just plain parenting."
Thanks to those who pointed out that I meant it's the kids' domain, not the grown-ups.

I spend 10 of my child's 12 waking hours with her by my side, or at least mainly with me as the person she's interacting with, modeling and enforcing polite manners. As she is three, she does not play perfectly or politely 100% of the time. But the park is an area where she gets to negotiate reality without her mom holding her hand the whole time.

It would drive me batpoop crazy to have someone hovering over me enforcing her personal standards of politeness every waking hour, and I think it would drive her insane, too. Our worst days are the days we are in the adult world the whole time and she has to follow every dot and tittle of every rule and never gets to practice self-control or independence. Our best days are those in which she gets to control herself for awhile.

If she loses friends on the playground (and she has, by the way, by throwing a tantrum, pouting, whatever) she learns the natural consequence.

" stepping in when your child is beng unfair to others isn't being a helicopter at all"

I disagree. I think small disagreements- such as who has the right to a toy that's been set down, whether sharing must be mutual- can be learning opportunities.

I think that honestly, what I'm reading here seems to be a lot of parents of younger toddlers and pre-schoolers speaking to parents of pre-schoolers and up. They are still socializing their itty-bitty ones and do not believe that a child-based social environment, in which kids are allowed to make mistakes, is part of that.

Perhaps this is really parents of wee ones to parents of big ones saying, hey, look, my little one is not ready for your big one's caprices. Please manage your child!

But to that I would say: a child that is not ready to play with other kids is not ready for the park. It's not all roses at the park or anywhere else.

FYI at our parks, and we have like four nearby, we don't have sand-boxes, but I have never once seen a parent standing over two kids playing telling them how to be polite. The average age is probably three at said parks, starting around 18 months and going up to kindergarten. This issue of toddlers and pre-schoolers HAVING to be polite during every interaction just... I don't know. It seems unfair to them as kids. Like they can never eat a chocolate ice-cream and have it drip down their sundress, or never get a skinned knee. They are not emotional teacups. They'll live and grow stronger. They have to learn to work it out, bit by bit.
post #66 of 178
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrspineau View Post
take child A for example then, who is the one being bossy, not sharing, throwing sand, etc. then take child B who doesnt stick up for himself. let them work it out then, and whos going to be the clear winner? Child A. then, if Child A is getting what they want because they think that their behaviour is perfectly fine, because mommy's sitting on the bench over there and if I was doing something wrong then wouldn't she come and stop me, then that's how she'll continue to act, no? the lesson there to me is, yes its okay to take advantage of those less assertive than you, and you only have to share or compromise when the other person has a stronger personality. i think that those moms sitting on the bench call it helicoptering to make themselves feel better about their lack of attention to their child's behaviours.
Child A won't always win. Sure, some children will remain passive, but most won't. Most of the time, if left alone, children will learn to create their own boundaries. The problem, from my perspective, is that parents who stand over their children constantly and intervene aren't allowing their children to learn in unimportant situations - an hour at the park. When do those children learn? I'd rather my children develop appropriate boundaries while I *am* right there if there's any major problem rather than waiting until school where I'm not present.

I see many children of friends who cannot navigate the most basic conflicts at age 5 or 6 because they've never had to. That puts those children at a disadvantage. We have one child of a friend for whom I'm worried once he starts school. I have no doubt he will be the target of bullies. He knows nothing other than to tell adults when something goes wrong, even if it's not really a slight - "I want to play Legos, but X doesn't want to play with me." His parents would cajole or guilt X into playing. I've seen it. That does their child absolutely no good.
post #67 of 178
Wow. Lots of opinions.

I hover. DH doesn't. Drives me nuts since I don't think it's good to NOT spot a 2yo on a very tall jungle gym with open sides. Said 2yo has some motor problems where her left leg gives out at odd times, so double the fun. Given that she hasn't learned to avoid walking in front of the swings as well...triple the fun. So I keep an eye on her. DH lets her run free, but I'm not there to see it.

Anyway, as for the Op, I would just give up on the sand box and set a rule that unless no one is in it, DS is to stay out. And no more toys. Let him share other kids' toys.

I have no problem speaking up for DD just b/c of her age and her height --she's tall and is often perceived to be older than she is which can cause problems.

Just yesterday an older kid sidled up to the train table where DD was playing, thinking he could just go in and take the trains away. You should have seen him jump when I reminded everyone, "Let's be sure to share." I was maybe 10 feet away, I guess his 'authority radar' didn't extend that far.

And really, I was protecting him more so than DD. She's 2, she can't moderate anger and is likely to hit.

That being said, I do know that DD is different with me around than without me. I would be curious to see what your DS would do if you stepped out of the arena. He might surprise you.

V
post #68 of 178
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post

But to that I would say: a child that is not ready to play with other kids is not ready for the park. It's not all roses at the park or anywhere else.
I really disagree with this. Parks are designed for multi age use by simple virtue of the infant swing, the special needs swing and regular swings-- if parents aren't willing to moderate or accept intervention from other parents so that their children don't run over the itty bitty babies, then maybe they shouldn't take their kids to the park.

Or maybe cities should make special infant only parks filled with infant swings. Except where will families go who have multiple kids of various ages? I guess they have to stay home????

The very fact it's not all roses is why parents need to be attuned to what's going on and ensure their kids aren't terrorizing anyone. Parks should not be synonymous with Lord of the Flies. It's not Survivor, it's a public park where regular manners and social niceties still apply.

Children need some level of supervision to ensure that public spaces are enjoyed by everyone. In real life, we can't control the environment or the needs of the people around our children, so why must the park fit a specific demographic?

I don't see the logic in your statement. It makes no sense to me.

V
post #69 of 178
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
I think that honestly, what I'm reading here seems to be a lot of parents of younger toddlers and pre-schoolers speaking to parents of pre-schoolers and up. They are still socializing their itty-bitty ones and do not believe that a child-based social environment, in which kids are allowed to make mistakes, is part of that.

Perhaps this is really parents of wee ones to parents of big ones saying, hey, look, my little one is not ready for your big one's caprices. Please manage your child!

But to that I would say: a child that is not ready to play with other kids is not ready for the park. It's not all roses at the park or anywhere else.

I see this at playgrounds. We've been going to the same 4 or 5 playgrounds since my dds were 1.5. As they and the children in their age group we see there have grown from young toddlers to preschoolers and older, I've heard the parents complaints evolve from the no-one's-watching-the-older-kids to the-playground-isn't-a-nursery. When mine were really little, I did hang around them most the time; heading off sharing problems by offering a toy when someone came over, making sure they aren't in a bigger kids way in a rambunctious game, etc. Now they're older, I'm from quite a distance. I'm pretty laissez-faire about interactions in their own age group. If they were bullying or hurting someone I would step in (hasn't happened) or if they're in a group that is getting way out of hand (has happened a couple times and I bring them out of the group). I do monitor their interactions with younger kids closely -- as they're barreling around I'll call out to make them aware that a little one is on the 5-9 structure for instance.

It's been really interesting to me how people's playground perceptions have changed as their children have gotten older.
post #70 of 178
I don't know why but I have this feeling of telling those Nanny to PAY ATTENTION to the kids they're suppose to supervise. They are being paid to supervise! One of these days, one of those kids are going to be seriously injured and the nanny is going to wish that she had paid attention!
post #71 of 178
Quote:
Originally Posted by VroomieMama View Post
I don't know why but I have this feeling of telling those Nanny to PAY ATTENTION to the kids they're suppose to supervise. They are being paid to supervise! One of these days, one of those kids are going to be seriously injured and the nanny is going to wish that she had paid attention!

Eh, I don't know that you can blame the nannys, honestly. I used to be a summer time nanny, and EVERY TIME I left the two kids one of them would get hurt. I would leave two perfectly sound children and come in the next day and the little girl would stitches or the little boy would have a huge goose egg. I am pretty sure I was more attentive than their parents.
post #72 of 178
Hmm... well, if I'm playing with my kids, then I either get kids who think I will make my kids share when others don't, or I get the glommers who clearly want more adult attention and try to strike up a long convo with me or want me to watch them on some other piece of equipment. I don't do either one, honestly. I just say no I can't do that or don't carry on the convo. I'm not mean about it, but I try to be direct. As they've gotten older they don't tend to ask me to play with them though, but sometimes they do.

I also go early/late/with friends, and have taught the kids to give me their toys when they're done playing with them. If it's in my kid's hand, I've never had a problem with someone snatching it, but if the sandbox is big enough, I would probably move when the bullies came into our area.

Last, I don't teach my kids that they *have* to share things we bring, but with the vast majority of kids they do. I don't believe in the forced sharing thing when the playground has tons of communal toys and we bring 1-2 items per kid max.
post #73 of 178
Quote:
Originally Posted by BarnMomma View Post

Here's why:
90% of the kids at the playground are there with nannys. The nannys all gather on two benches and gab and read and laugh and do anything and everything other than watch the kids they are there with. The remaining 10% are moms who are doing the same thing on another group of benches. Most of the kids there are between the ages of 18 months and 5 years. So in other words a yound enough crowd that supervision is required.

And then there's me- the weirdo mom who plays with her child or keeps a close watchful eye from a distance to let him explore and/or play with the other children. I don't hover but I keep close- those sand fights can break out in a matter of seconds...

But it's stressful. I end up being the ONLY adult offering any kind of supervision.
^ This is why I was saying what I just said.
post #74 of 178

I am an advocate

[QUOTE=

Also, as the only supervising parent, I'd encourage all the kids to sit right down in the sandbox and get as sandy as possible. But I'm not a nice person.[/QUOTE]


We took some bikes or scooters to the park once and I did not let others play on it due to safety. If we ever brought toys and they were being grabbed by older kids, I would be firm with the kids that that is not allowed. I have seen friends yell loudly at kids playing unsafe when their parents were not handling it and I agree with that.
post #75 of 178
Quote:
Originally Posted by VroomieMama View Post
I don't know why but I have this feeling of telling those Nanny to PAY ATTENTION to the kids they're suppose to supervise. They are being paid to supervise! One of these days, one of those kids are going to be seriously injured and the nanny is going to wish that she had paid attention!
Unfortunately, I've seen this happen twice. Once a friend stepped in and tried to stop the child's BLEEDING, called around for the nanny, and 10 minutes later, the nanny ran up and was very pissed off that anyone touched her charge. The other time the child fell off a tall structure and the nanny also had to be called to by a parent, then she yelled at the screaming kid and took him home. I hope seriously that neither child was seriously injured, because I guarantee those nannies did not tell the parents about potential for concussion or to keep an eye.
post #76 of 178
Quote:
Originally Posted by madskye View Post
Eh, I don't know that you can blame the nannys, honestly. I used to be a summer time nanny, and EVERY TIME I left the two kids one of them would get hurt. I would leave two perfectly sound children and come in the next day and the little girl would stitches or the little boy would have a huge goose egg. I am pretty sure I was more attentive than their parents.
You were not one of the nannies at that playground. I was more annoyed at those nannies that the OP talked about.
post #77 of 178
Quote:
Originally Posted by EviesMom View Post
Unfortunately, I've seen this happen twice. Once a friend stepped in and tried to stop the child's BLEEDING, called around for the nanny, and 10 minutes later, the nanny ran up and was very pissed off that anyone touched her charge. The other time the child fell off a tall structure and the nanny also had to be called to by a parent, then she yelled at the screaming kid and took him home. I hope seriously that neither child was seriously injured, because I guarantee those nannies did not tell the parents about potential for concussion or to keep an eye.
THAT IS WHAT I WAS AFRAID OF!!!
post #78 of 178
My son is four and a half, and sometimes I feel like i need to "hover" a bit with him. He has a speech delay and kids have a hard time understanding him - so even when he does exactly what I tell him to when someone is bothering him, the other kids often don't understand what he's saying to them. He also is sometimes timid when doing things like walking across a bridge on a play structure or climbing a ladder to a slide. Other kids tend to get frustrated with his lack of speed and shove past him, which really freaks him out. I have been known to step in and ask for kids to wait their turn, or even create a physical barrier between them and my kid if it's a safety issue (like climbing a slide ladder - if someone shoves past him, there's a good chance he's going to fall off the structure - if they aren't listening. I don't have a problem being my son's voice when he needs me to be, and I don't have a problem telling kids that I don't like what they are doing and to ask them to leave my son alone when he can't do it himself, or tell them that my son isn't going to play if they continue certain behavior. I figure the lesson the other kid learns is "if you act that way, you might annoy some one - whether that person is a kid or an adult." I have two kids older than him that I was much more hands off with, especially by ds2's age, but they were able to communicate a lot better, which made it easier to stand up for themselves. Even with the older kids, though, I didn't have a problem stepping in as necessary. I figured if people cared that I was redirecting their kids, they probably would be close enough to know what was going on.
post #79 of 178
Hmm

Well the playgrounds we usually go to also have the groups of parents/nannies (around here the 'nanny' is more often a grandparent or aunt) sitting around gabbing, although they do eventually intervene sometimes.

Today I was taking DS down the slide and almost kicked a kid walking UP the slide... I have no problem with walking up the slide if you're the only one in the playground but it's pretty dangerous when there are lots of people playing! He was 4... he told me so when I said that it's dangerous to come up the slide because people might be coming down... parent nowhere to be seen.

We share our sand toys and usually other kids share theirs but not always... I once pulled DS out of the sandbox and said very loudly & rudely (so their parents could hear) "Let's go play somewhere else, they don't want to play with you" or something... I felt bad but I was mad that they were hoarding all the COMMUNITY toys (not their own toys). Usually I say nothing though, just encourage DS to find other things to do, he's still easily distractable & I'd rather he do something else than fight. I don't worry about him standing up for himself yet but I guess I'll have to adjust my reactions in time...

I'm really torn because I love playing with DS on the playground, it's the one of the only things I really enjoy doing with him. But I do feel like a crazy weirdo following him around. At the same time, he's only 16mos and always wants to walk off the ledges so I'm paranoid to give him too much distance unless he's safely on the ground. I don't know if that's my huge fear of heights or if other parents follow their under-2's because I don't really see many kids under 2 at the playground for some reason (except in a stroller near the gabbing mom...)
post #80 of 178
I agree, it's got to be a middle ground. I don't care if some moms watch their kids from far away, as long as when they DO see their kid throwing sand at someone or pushing, etc, they step in. I got the impression from the OP that sand fights were breaking out and no parents or nannies were stepping in at all. A lot of people are saying they sit down and still see their kids-- Great! But the OP was saying at her park the adults DON'T do that. I think we can agree that giving kids some free range is important, and sometimes kids need more supervision, too. It's a balance.

I let DD roam around enclosed or otherwise safe parks we visit. But I also stick close at crazy-busy parks like at the beach. Too easy for her to disapear, honestly. And I've had kids take her sand toys and refuse to return them. As in, we shared and are trying to leave and asking the kid nicely for 15 minutes and the kid phsyically won't return them... and no parent ever walked up. No one was watching that 2-3yo the whole time, a good hour. At a park right near the beach and a busy street and parking lot. That made me more scared for the kid than annoyed about the sand toys. I know some say no toys at the park, but we just bring a bunch of toys, are okay with them getting lost, and encourage sharing. No taking toys out of other's hands. But when a kid is right there with your bucket and shovel and rake, it's hard to tell DD we're just leaving it b/c she won't give it back.

I've also been in the situation where a kid walked up and threw sand right in my DD's face. And laughed, as she cried. And his nanny didn't even get up from the bench. I had to deal with trying to get sand out of DD's mouth and nose and eyes, so I didn't bother trying to talk to him about that behavior, but I made sure I was close to DD for the rest of the visit and jumped between him and her when he tried to do it again. I did wish his nanny had done something to give him feedback about his behavior, or distracted him, or made him play elsewhere if he was going to keep trying to do it... but nothing. And this kid was likely 5yo. I can see where if I was going to this park every day and multiple kids were behaving like that, with no reaction from parents/nannies, it would get VERY tiring and sort of wearying... you want your kids to be able to play without someone attacking them
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