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hmm question ~ is this abuse?? Sleeping while children play...

post #1 of 100
Thread Starter 
ok ... i saw this in another thread here and a LOT (a LOT) of posters said it was abuse / neglect for a toddler to be allowed to play by themselves while the mother sleeps. i've seen this before, too ~ that it's completely abusive and neglectful and just plain unhealthy to let children play while the parent(s) sleep.

as single parents ~~ what do you do??

i frequently sleep in in the mornings now that everyone is on vacation and my kids get up and play... they know that snacks and dishes are available to them and are totally happy, and when i get up i make them breakfast. i have never considered this abuse (even when i just had one child and would let my toddler get up and play ~ he was happy, i needed the sleep, and when i got up i would play with him). i don't mean i "doze on the sofa" (or in a common area) because i'm a light sleeper and can't rest around my kids ~ i mean that i lay in my bed in my room with the door open and i SLEEP.

i (obviously) do not consider it neglect or abuse ... my kids are well cared for and have all that they need, and i was really suprised to see so many people saying it's wrong.

what do you think??

post #2 of 100
I wouldn't call it abusive. I think I might say it's somewhat neglectful, but I'm one of those people who was always on top of my kids when they were little. And I was a single parent for a couple of years, and then every time my exH got deployed.

Sometimes I read posts about how a toddler destroyed a whole room in the house with permanent marker or something, and I think to myself "why wasn't the kid being supervised?"

I think kids under the age of four, or thereabouts, need a watchful eye.

When I was a single mom, I slept when my kids slept. Not to say I never took a 5-minute catnap on the couch, but I wouldn't go into another room and conk out while my kids roamed the house. I didn't feel comfortable with that.
post #3 of 100
Thread Starter 

so .... what do you do when you shower / bathe? you ALWAYS have your kids supervised ~~ by who??
post #4 of 100
my dd is 2 and a very good little girl, really never gets into things she is not supposed to. I do not let her get up and play alone, if sheis up I am up. And to answer you shower question, I shower before she gets up or after she is in bed or while she is napping. I would not take the chance she get the front door open and escape or get into something that could hurt her. I think untill they are about 5 they should not be unsupervised.
post #5 of 100
Thread Starter 
i'm unlucky i guess in that if i run the water for a bath / shower it wakes my kids up. :
post #6 of 100
Originally Posted by emmasmominar View Post
my dd is 2 and a very good little girl, really never gets into things she is not supposed to.

This language REALLY irks me. My ds is 2.5, and into everyfrickingthing alltheflippintime. Is he not good?
post #7 of 100
I think to a certain extent it is abuse / neglect, I didn't start leaving my daughter alone in a room until she was about 4-5ish, now she is 6 almost 7 and I will let her & my 17 month old play alone in the living room while I take a shower or cook supper, and sometimes when I take a nap, but I take a nap on the couch in the living room where they are playing. I'm not saying that it entirely says anything negative about your parenting, but there is no way I'd leave my kids at their ages now and go to my room / bed and sleep. I mean they don't get into things, but I just see it as really not "being" there for them. My stbx does the same thing, he will let them play in the living room and he'll sleep on the couch (which is his bed), this makes me feel bad because he is a very heavy sleeper and if something did go wrong you'd almost have to drop an anvil on him to get him to wake up, but that is just my opinion.
post #8 of 100
I'd also say not really abusive, but neglectful depending on the context. You also didn't say how old your child was, but that's a big factor too.

It also depends on the personality of the child...dd has never really mischevious, so I have taken cat naps on the couch while she is playing next to me. I'm a pretty light sleeper, so I could tell if she left the room or was getting into something. I wouldn't be comfortable with her up roaming the house alone while I was sleeping, just my own comfort level. I just recently (since she's been about 4) will shower when she's doing something else, often she'll come in the bathroom to keep me company (my biggest concern was if someone rang the bell, she'd want to open the door).

However, I also just got back from visiting my sil & brother. They have 3 kids under 3 & frequently don't know where they are or what they're doing. I know it's tough with them but it makes me uncomfortable that they're not supervised a bit more but they don't have a problem with it.
post #9 of 100
Showers and baths are easy to supervise, it's the pooping on the potty that always gets me in trouble. :

Showers, I usually put a video in and leave the bathroom door open. If kiddo (age two) is the only one home, I put off taking a shower until either my older kiddos (10 and 8) are home, or my husband is home.

When I was a single mom, with two toddlers, I had a trusted teenager that also babysat for me come play with the kiddos while I took a shower. OFTEN, that was just before work and it was included in the time she was watching the kids.

Back to my first sentence... it is always when I am stuck on the potty, that my two year old gets into trouble... like the time when he was only a year old, and he undressed himself and went out the doggy door start naked.
post #10 of 100
Thread Starter 
apparantly my sisters and i are all abusive and neglectful then. amazing how we turn out such happy, healthy kids.
post #11 of 100
Thread Starter 
on showering with the door open ~~ when i've done that in the past EVERY TIME my 6 yr old comes in and peeks at me and makes remarks about my private parts..... which i find completely unacceptable, so i stopped letting it happen.:
post #12 of 100
Originally Posted by boobybunny View Post
... like the time when he was only a year old, and he undressed himself and went out the doggy door start naked.


that will be a story to tell when he gets older! Hopefully you're at the point where you can laugh about it now.
post #13 of 100
I recently asked a child abuse specialist this question. X is a heavy sleeper, and hearing impaired. He goes to bed and leaves dc alone to put themselves to bed. They go to bed whenever. Believe it or not, it is not neglect. The circumstances are as such that because of thier ages, 10 and 12, they are considered ok. However, if they were younger, CPS would become involved. It is considered a form of abandonment. This is magnified by the hearing loss, but it is definitely frowned on by CPS, to leave a young child, toddler, alone while you sleep.
post #14 of 100
I think it depends on:

the personality of the child
the personality of the parent (and their parenting style)
how safe (toddler-proofed) the residence is

I am not a hoverer and have personally ZERO trouble napping while ds is playing. I do stay in the same room with him, though because I can block out his playing but would wake up if he got into real trouble. That being said, he plays quietly and for long periods of time and doesn't really get into mischief much. So, maybe mistakenly, I feel like I know what he will generally do and I'm fine with being *in another realm* while I'm taking care of him. I am NOT fine with dh doing this, though because he is a very very heavy sleeper and just.will.not.wake.up no matter what's going on.

This horrifies my mom and other hoverers I know. Oh well.
post #15 of 100
I don't believe that it's either abusive or neglectful, assuming the house is childproofed, the door is locked, you don't sleep for hours and hours and hours while they're awake, and you are alert enough that if someone needs you, you can get up. It takes me 30-45 minutes to get the baby down for a nap. I have to do it with the door closed, or he won't go to sleep (and the older kids will be in every 30 seconds to ask me something that they wouldn't care to know the answer to were I not otherwise occupied). The bigger kids (3 1/2 and almost 6) know they can come get me if they really need anything. I have been known to fall asleep with him :
post #16 of 100
Thread Starter 
ok i guess that's where the difference comes in ~~ i am a VERY light sleeper and wake with every little noise, and even if my kids come and stand NEXT to me while i'm sleeping i wake up (which is why i can't sleep in the same room with them).

and man that story about the doggy door had me
post #17 of 100
I'm not a single parent, so you can skip right over my response if you want to. I am home almost all the time by myself with ds, though, since dh and I work opposite shifts so one of us is always home with him. So when I'm walking in the door from work, dh is walking out. And I usually go to bed before he gets home, then get up and leave for work before he gets up.


I wouldn't call it abusive at all. But I do think you are taking a calculated risk. Life is all about risks, though, isn't it. My ds is only 17 months. I would not be able to sleep if he was up and about. There is only one room in our whole house that I feel is safe for him to be in by himself unsupervised. And I don't think he'd be happy in there by himself when I was sleeping somewhere else. As far as showering, I do it when he is sleeping or I bring him in he shower with me. Granted, I wouldn't do that with a 6-year-old.

When he gets older, I'd feel comfortable leaving him unsupervised for longer periods of time, but I still don't think I could lay down and actually sleep.

If your kids are well cared for and have all that they need and you are certain that they are safe, then I don't think you need to be defensive about your choices. Somewhere I missed their ages (except the 6-yr-old dd), but you originally phrased it as "toddlers." IMO, there is way too much danger in the average house to let a toddler regularly be unsupervised.

I LOVE sleeping in, too. You know what? I simply don't get to do that anymore now that I'm a mom.
post #18 of 100
depends on the age, my two older boys no problem, but my 2.5 year old i get up with her every morning. I honestly can't imagine sleeping in bed and letting her roam around.
post #19 of 100
Unless I'm sick, I don't nap. And during normal days when my three year old is up, I'm up. My oldest two kids are in school, so I get up to get them off at 6:00. I shower before they leave. Baby girl is up and running at 8:00ish. She is a great player. She likes nothing more than to disappear to the family room upstairs and play with everything she can get her hands on. She makes it very easy for me to get housework done/visit MDC/cook/etc. I don't hover over her, but I do have my eyes and ears open at all times. This morning I slept in - the kids are on Christmas break, so my thirteen year old was up and they read stories till I got up at 8:00. It was heaven! Oh, forgot to mention that my younger two kids don't get out of their beds alone - my son will get up and go to the bathroom then go back to bed, but my little girl won't even do that - she'll call me to take her. I'm not sure *why* they think they need permission to get up in the morning, but they are happy to lay around and play with their stuffed animals until I show up, so I'm happy to let them! Again, this only applies to the rare sleeping in day, and since today was really the first one I've had since they were on summer vacation, I'm not telling them any different!

When my little one was about six months old I was sick. I mean knock-down drag-out puking up my guts, strep throat, double ear infection sick. I called my mommy to see if she could help me out and she was sick too. I kept my (then) nine year old daughter home from school to help with the baby. It was the only option I had. She was great - she brought me the baby to nurse, but other than that she took care of her the whole day. I'll always remember how much she helped me out that day.

When the baby was just a few days old we had a great stretch of warm weather, so I took her outside with me so my (then) five year old could play. I made her a little nest on the back porch, stretched out on the swing and promptly fell asleep. You know how those first few days are, at least for me if I blinked too long I'd fall asleep. Somehow I ended up sleeping out there for over an hour. I was right there, my son could have woken me up if he needed me, but I've always felt horrible about what *could* have happened while I napped. I found out later that my neighbor was also on her back porch that day (oddly enough the same doctor delivered my baby and gave her a hysterectomy the same week) and was keeping an eye on all of us.

I'm not saying there is anything wrong with you sleeping while your kids are up, just that I can't do it...
post #20 of 100
I don't think I'd ever go into the other room and sleep while DS was awake but I've certainly dozed on the couch while he plays quietly nearby. I don't have a problem with that, and he's almost 4. I like to be close to my DS to at least be able to hear what he's doing or be there if something happens and he needs me.

He's always doing silly things like getting his finger stuck in a toy or climbing up on his dresser and not being able to get himself down, so I wouldn't want to leave him alone for long. I do leave him to watch TV while I take a shower. I shower quickly and leave the door open and let him know to come get me if he needs me.

I don't think I could ever fall into a deep sleep with him awake unless I knew someone else was there to watch him. I don't think it's abusive, but it could be seen as slightly neglectful and possibly dangerous.
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