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how closely do you follow your kids around the park?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

at what age do you sit back and just watch them while they play and not be with in reach of them?

just wondering.

with my first (who is now 19 yrs old) i was all over her.

now with number 6 (who is 2 1/2) i sit back and let her play. she usually stays with in eye sight and comes back to me when she wants comfort or reassurance. it is interesting to me how much more comfortable i am in my children as i have had more kids. each of them has had their own comfort zone as to how far they wanted to be from me when they were little, and how i have become more comfortable in allowing them to discover that zone for themselves.

post #2 of 21
I am really curious to see people's answers. I read a book, which sort of made fun of the American tendency to hover and narrate play Constantly. I told myself, "I don't want to be one of those parents!" However, who knows! My baby is only a month old, so I may very well have to fight the desire to hover hover hover. I'd like to think that depending on the environment, I would let my daughter have more freedom right around those toddler years. As for the moment, with my baby, whatn I try to do is give her some time of quiet exploration. Without anybody shouting "look at the toy! This is a monkey! You see monkey? Can you say monkey? "

So, for example I'll put her down her play mat while i fold laundry, and she just Coos and looks around with interest until she decides "I want you back!" And then I pick her back up.
post #3 of 21
I was just writing in another thread how my son started climbing and going up ropes and ladders when he was ten months old. Everyone would get really nervous because he seems so little to be such a monkey. But I just had to let go! I didn't have a choice, really. He proved to be very agile and confident. So far, so good. *knock on wood*
post #4 of 21

I almost never get involved unless they ask me to or there is a clear need (like fighting with another child).  I'm that mom you see on the park bench checking Facebook.  Once they could comfortably walk I tended to let them go, although I stayed near them (but didn't interfere) until I was positive they were proficient climbers.

post #5 of 21

Once she was climbing by herself, I just made sure I could see her or at least tell where she was.  I usually have a magazine or book at the park!

post #6 of 21
Originally Posted by liberal_chick View Post

I almost never get involved unless they ask me to or there is a clear need (like fighting with another child).  I'm that mom you see on the park bench checking Facebook.  Once they could comfortably walk I tended to let them go, although I stayed near them (but didn't interfere) until I was positive they were proficient climbers.
This is pretty much me too. While she was an unsteady walker, I was right with her, then she wouldn't play without me there for a few months but by about 20 months, we shifted to more independent exploration. My comfort level is that I need to be able to see her and be aware of where she is but I'm fine sitting on the bench with baby. I'm lucky though; my 2.5 year old is cautious and doesn't bolt/run away. I can totally see that other kids her age may need closer supervision though.
post #7 of 21

If they're capable of doing the equipment without help, I just make sure I stay within sight and I could get to them faster than random strangers could. If it's a little above their level I stay close enough to catch if they fall. My oldest always ups the ante by using the playground in more challenging ways than it's designed for, so again, stay to catch until he's mastered it.

post #8 of 21

Mine is cautious and not much of a daredevil, so I'm fine with sitting back and watching her. I'll go with her if she climbs to the top of the play equipment, though. I don't think she would try to step off the edge, but she could lose her balance. If she's just going up and down the stairs, or taking the slide which is set into the side of a hill and therefore you can't fall, she's fine. 

post #9 of 21

My kids are older (11, 5, 5) and i just plop myself down on a bench and only keep an eye out in case someone needs me. When we had a foster sib group of three here i paid a little closer attention to the 2 yr old (turning 3 in a couple months) but he was very comfortable on the equipment so i didnt really have to stay within reach of him. If he wanted to go to a farther part of the park (there is another area with little wooden houses thats a bit separate from the regular play structures) he had to have a buddy (another one of the kids) but otherwise i didnt intervene too much unless he was having an issue with another child or something. I have a new foster girl now, she JUST turned 2 and we havent had her to the big park yet only a little one. I didnt follow her around much but my other kids kept an eye out and i'd occasionally call out to them to make sure she was with them. 


Mostly whenever i've stayed close by with any of my kids it was due to worrying about them navigating the social aspect of play with other children NOT the physical aspect of playing. Both my oldest son and one of my 5 yr olds could be quick to get upset if they felt "wronged" by another child which could quickly lead to physical acting out/hitting so i tried to be aware of anything brewing and jump in quickly. 

post #10 of 21
Mine are almost 5yo and almost 2yo and I don't follow them at all. The 5yo is completely independent in the park, and the 2yo just does his own thing and only comes to me if he's hungry. He usually plays in the sandbox for an hour or more without even looking up! I do keep an eye on him in case he's violating any sandbox rules, but he doesnt, typically.
My eldest comes to me if she needs help navigating a social situation on occasion. And if she's hungry.
I was reading in the park the other day and a woman said she was jealous. She asked how old my kids were and it turns out her's are older than mine.
I watched her a bit, and she was hovering over her children and helping them at every turn.
There's a lot to be said for benign neglect. If your kids figure out the equipment and dynamics on their own, they're far less likely to get hurt or need help.
I've actually said to folks 'helping' my littlest one up or down, "It's okay, thanks. He's doing it on his own."
Have there been injuries or kids wandering off? Sure. A couple of times, but I pay enough attention that it's never been an issue any more than other folks whose kids take a tumble or wander off when they've lifted their eyes off of them for just a moment.
I like that my kids know the boundaries themselves now, and know their own skills and limits when it comes to the equipment.
post #11 of 21
I follow my 3.5 year old pretty closely because she generally won't play if I don't. Her favorite activities are one's that require help, like the tire swing or the monkey bars. And if I'm not right there with her, she's so social that she tends to cling to other adults and talk their ears off, or otherwise cross various social boundaries. On the rare occasions that she IS comfortably situated in her play, I have no issues leaving her to it.
post #12 of 21
I started warming the bench when DD was three and decided she wanted to play with other kids and by four I was reading a book or knitting and only stopping to kiss a boo boo, push a swing, or give her a snack.
post #13 of 21
My 3.75 year old is a bit of a daredevil, so I am just now starting to relax more at the park. She just recently has gotten really good at climbing and knows not to jump off of things that are too high. She sometimes still wants to do things that she needs help with, but I don't feel I have to hover as much now. DH hovers constantly still, he is a worrier smile.gif
post #14 of 21
My kids are 11 and 4, so I just sit and relax when they (or just the younger one) and I are at the park. I waited until they weren't doing anything crazy and had some idea of their own limitations. The older one was more cautious, but more emotional. The younger one is happy all the time but sometimes tries to do things she can't quite handle. I guess it ended up being about the same time for both - maybe around 3 to 3.5.
post #15 of 21

I wish I'd been at a playground full of MDC parents earlier. I took my daughter (2 yo) to Stride Rite at the mall for some new sneakers, and after that we went to the play area. This is a large play area that could easily accommodate 30 kids or more. It is really aimed at kids under 5ish and has a height limit, but there were a ton of kids who were above the limit and they were also not showing any consciousness of the presence of smaller kids. And their parents weren't curbing them, telling them not to climb up the slide when kids were waiting to go down, or not to push past smaller kids, or not to get in a shoving match at the top of the play structure, particularly when positioned right next to a little kid. One of the participants in this shoving match had to have been at least 10, if not 12 or 13, and was the size of some full-grown women I've met. I like to let my daughter find her own way at playgrounds, and she typically does just fine (I do shadow her more closely on tall play structures with openings in the sides), but I would basically have had to shadow her every move to keep other kids from accidentally hurting her. Which I guess I could have, but it just didn't seem like a very safe environment for her, and so we left pretty fast.  

post #16 of 21

I stayed closer to my children when they were younger (1-3 age range), but I was usually playing with them or working out on the equipment.  Our parks around here are usually empty or only have a few kids, so my kids always wanted me to play with them and push them on the swings, etc....  I'm the mom going up and down the slide, across the monkey bars, and generally looking foolish to have fun with her kids.  :wink 

post #17 of 21

dd was the kind of child who could not STAND any hovering. right from the moment she started crawling up the stairs at home, she expected at least 2 stairs distance between my outstretched hand and her butt. if i moved closer she would trip and fall. if i stayed away she never fell.


that was pretty much the same at the park. the first few times at a new park, i was closeby in case she needed me. 


but otherwise from a very young age i'd sit far but with all my attention on her. thankfully no mom stepped in to help her. with my heart in my mouth i've had to watch from a distance her negotiate the stairs on the playground. how to come down. she eventually figured out to come down backwards, till seh figured out how to walk down. 


for my own peace of mind i would have liked to have been closer. she enjoyed playing with me so many times i could not just sit and watch her which i loved to do.


she never one fell or hurt herself. the only time she did was when i wasnt with her and it was a fluke accident at chucky cheese.

post #18 of 21
I started out with a 2yo and a 3yo, and both were pretty steady on their feet already, so the first time I had a new walker at the playground he already had older siblings to play with and to help him. So, hard to say what I would have done with a "first" child.

That said, I usually pay enough attention to keep my kids from leaving the playground. Which, with my current youngest, is not always an easy task. greensad.gif I will lift little ones into the swing and push them if they ask, and I'll help them get up onto low equipment, but I won't help them climb any kind of climbing structure -- I don't think it's safe for them until they are able to get up by themselves. Mostly I sit on a bench and let them play with their siblings and the other kids at the park unless someone asks me for help. Luckily, since my older kids have had young siblings for as long as they can remember, they are very good about accommodating small kids on the playground. They are the ones saying, "Oh, let the baby go first," not trying to push anyone around.
post #19 of 21
I'm usually on the bench, but if they want me to climb with them I will. The only time I act as a spotter is at the huge structure we go to every once in a while that has a huge fireman pole and rock wall with the openings that seem at least a story tall! My littlest one now 2 likes to peek out of those to find me, eep!
post #20 of 21
I supervise closely, not just to prevent serious injury but help my three year old cope with bullying. Unfortunately we have had several incidences....a few to the point of endangerment; being backed off a ladder or blocked from getting to a safe area where he won't fall.
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