Needy kids at the park - Page 4 - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-21-2009, 12:31 AM
 
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I would feel a bit awkward myself, but mostly would feel bad for the kid(s) that the parents aren't being more involved. If that seemed to be the problem. But I also know that parents get overwhelmed, especially if they have two or more kids, especially if the kid or kids are extroverts and the parents are introverts.
I think as long as the children also play on their own, it wouldn't be a huge issue.

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Old 09-21-2009, 10:59 AM
 
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But if she was following around or sitting next to an adult with no kids in tow or with a young baby, I would personally go and stop her because it's almost assured that she is annoying them.
Almost assured? Really? I wouldn't even describe myself as a big "kid person," but it's definitely not "almost assured" that any kid who is talking to me, even while I am alone or with a preverbal baby, is annoying me. Far from it! When DD was a baby and young toddler I used to really enjoy talking to older kids at the park because it was interesting to me to see what older kids were like. Even now, with two kids of my own, I enjoy meeting other children. Kids are so different and interesting.

Not that I'm saying anyone should allow their kids to talk the ears off of adults, but I'm surprised by the assumption that child conversation = automatically annoying.

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Old 09-21-2009, 03:11 PM
 
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Yeah, this is me, too. But I sometimes have to deal with somebody else's child who sits right next to me and won't stop talking to me while HER parent gets to read a good book. And I'm not a big fan of that.
Do you guys think maybe a big part of the annoyance-factor on this thread, among people writing posts like the above one, is that sometimes we just don't like communicating our own boundaries with others?

I can certainly sympathize with the above post. There are times when my own children are happily-engaged and playing with other children at the park, and I enjoy gettting to delve into a good book. I usually slip a book into my purse when leaving for the park, "just in case" the opportunity to read is presented to me.

I don't count on it, because sometimes my own children need lots of intensive attention. And when I'm pushing my own children on the swing I'm happy to push another child -- and if I'm playing a game or making clover-chains with my own, then the more the merrier, you know?

But if my own are doing fine and I'm wanting to sit off to the side and read my book, and some other child is wanting me to get up and help her with stuff, or is wanting attention from me, I feel absolutely fine just explaining to the child that I want to take a break and read my book right now.

As a previous poster has said (LynneS6 I think), children don't just come into the world automatically reading everyone's social cues. So sometimes they may need it "spelled out" a bit more than you'd need to do with an adult.

Although, I kid you not, I've occasionally encountered adults who I'm guessing were maybe non-readers themselves, who seemed to assume that since I had my nose in a book I must be bored, and they were doing me a favor by relentlessly chatting me up and giving me "more interesting" stuff to think about, LOL.

And even though I talk with my own children about boundaries and social cues, sometimes it helps when other people are able to politely express that they want some alone-time ... 'cause sometimes children see the adult being nice, polite, and interested -- and feel kinda like Mommy is disrupting a wonderful friendship.

So while I intervene, I trust the adults to express themselves too. I.e., a few months back after an appointment, I took my girls to play on the playground of our local children's hospital. It's a small playground, and no other kids were there at the moment, so I took advantage of the opportunity to walk laps around the play area while keeping an eye on my girls of course.

Well, off to the side of the playground one of the staff was taking his break at a picnic table. The girls said hi and he was friendly, and within a few seconds they were sitting at the table chatting with him. So of course I went over and told them he probably wanted some quiet time to rest before he went back to work.

And the gentleman said they weren't bothering him at all, and he was happy to talk with them. So I said great, if you do get tired just say so, and continued my laps while of course keeping them in full view, and walking directly next to the table about every minute or so while walking my laps.

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Old 09-21-2009, 06:56 PM
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I have no problem communicating my boundaries- with others' children or adults, but I have been on the receiving end of blatant disregard of my boundaries. A few weeks back, DH, the kids and I are at the beach on a Sunday morning. My kids are 20 ft away playing nicely and independently while DH and I try and read the SUnday paper. Some of the kids' beach toys are in front of us because they are not being used at that moment. A 2.5-3 yo comes up and starts playing with the toys literally at our feet. He's making noises and such (as most young children do), kicking up sand etc and whatnot. DH tells the boy the toys are resting right now and puts them under our chairs and tells him he needs to go with his parent. Said parent is 10 ft away gabbing with his friends and kind of keeping an eye on the kid (if he was really paying attention he would've intervened once the sand is flying I'd hope). Finally, the dad gets the kid to go to the water with him. Well, that didn't last and the kid was back at our feet asking if the toys were done resting not five minutes later. Dad was STILL in the water (which given it was low tide was probably a good 50-100 yards away from us) for another 20 minutes! It was a SUnday morning- why should DH and I have to babysit this kid while dad enjoy a nice swim in the ocean?!!!! And even though we told him the toys were resting, he proceeded to take them out even though they were "put away" and we kept telling him!

We communicated to the child that the toys were not available for his use, the dad took him away, but I guess it was too much effort to enforce NO with this kid. I was (and am still a bit) mad that on my sunday morning DH and I are de facto watching this kid because his dad won't enforce a boundary we communicated and attempted to enforce multiple times. What else could we have done shy of packing up our family and leaving?
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Old 09-21-2009, 07:02 PM
 
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Okay, my kid is the one who gloms onto other moms. He really does get LOTS of attention at home... he is just a major extrovert and wants to talk to EVERYONE, and if someone replies to him or shows an interest... well, he thinks they are just as interested in everything he has to say as they are.

I just kind of keep calling him over to me and tell him to go play with the other kids, that the mamas are there to watch their kids, not entertain him. But, really, other kids don't usually care to hear everything he has to say, and adults try to be polite, so I can see why he does it.

When other kids come up to me, I will be polite, but distant. I don't ask additional questions or really engage them too much, unless I'm prepared to get into a lengthy discussion, in case they are like my son. Actually, I would probably redirect them and say "Hey, have you met my son, A? I think he'd love to talk to you!"

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Old 09-21-2009, 07:04 PM
 
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It IS frustrating for me when we're at parks and other parents just aren't paying attention when their kids are acting badly at the park. They just assume if there's one adult that IS watching-its free leave for them to cop out and go talk on their cell phones. >_<
Or, they just think kids should work some things out for themselves and don't feel a need to hover over every interaction.

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Old 09-21-2009, 07:04 PM
 
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What else could we have done shy of packing up our family and leaving?
I would have put the toys away in a bag, or asked the boy to move a little farther away from you with the toys so that you wouldn't be affected by the flying sand as he played.

I can sympathize with the overall situation in your post, but when we bring sand toys to the park or beach, they're for everyone -- I'd feel bad leaving them out in plain sight (even under your chair) but telling other kids they're off-limits.

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Old 09-21-2009, 07:26 PM
 
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I would have put the toys away in a bag, or asked the boy to move a little farther away from you with the toys so that you wouldn't be affected by the flying sand as he played.

I can sympathize with the overall situation in your post, but when we bring sand toys to the park or beach, they're for everyone -- I'd feel bad leaving them out in plain sight (even under your chair) but telling other kids they're off-limits.
Yes, I agree with this. And of course I DO check with toy-owners if my children are wanting to pick up toys they see out at the park or pool or whatever, and I would certainly enforce boundaries if the other parent said No the toys are resting right now (although this statement kind of implies that after they're "rested" they can be played with again, so it's not very clear that what you really mean is No you can't play with them ever) --

but when my children were younger, enforcing this boundary might have entailed US having to leave simply because at a certain age it is very hard for some children to see interesting toys out, not being used, and just leave them alone.

Putting the toys up so they're not accessible makes a lot more sense than expecting parents to enforce your boundaries -- and really from my pool experiences, there seems to be kind of an unwritten rule that if I'm not playing with my toy, you can play with it and vice-versa. So most kids are used to this kind of free interchange.

And if it's not the toy-use that bothers you -- but just the getting hit by sand, then creating a little distance as limabean suggested makes everyone happy and everyone can stay and have a good time.

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Old 09-21-2009, 07:47 PM
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I guess I'll have to agree to disagree. I bring toys to the beach for my kids to play with, not for anyone who might be there for the day (and yes I used to share, but then my kids' toys would be unavailable for them to use when they want to, which is not something that is easily predictable for a two yo, or in some cases we have had toys returned to us broken with not so much as a sorry, or we have even had toys just left on the beach for the tide to take them away and never be returned to us as those who borrowed them had already left the beach)

DH asked me what are we teaching our kids if they feel entitled to use any toy on the beach that they want, even if they don't belong to them. Would I as an adult go up to a complete stranger and say "hey, that's a really cool beach chair, can I borrow it?" or "hey that sandwich looks divine, mind if I have some?" I'm not trying to be stingy, really, but I am trying to remember that I am raising children to someday be adults, not to be perpetually children. I don't see any reason why a toy can't be off limits if others' oreos, candy, soda, happy meals and what not (which I'[m sure is equally as inviting to kids) are as easily off limits. If we don't create boundaries, how will our kids ever learn to respect them (or enforce them or even create them)?
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Old 09-21-2009, 07:59 PM
 
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I actually am on pjs' side in this one (funnily enough). I think what she is describing is definitely over the line--for one thing, I certainly don't think it's okay to be that far away from a young toddler anyplace there is water. For another, I absolutely would intervene if I saw my child repeatedly going after other people's toys after they had been put away. For a third, I do not let my kid talk to people who are reading.

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And even though I talk with my own children about boundaries and social cues, sometimes it helps when other people are able to politely express that they want some alone-time ... 'cause sometimes children see the adult being nice, polite, and interested -- and feel kinda like Mommy is disrupting a wonderful friendship.
DING! Yes, I think this is a really important part of the equation, too. It kind of sucks to be the heavy when the other adult is not expressing any concerns, and frankly I am not a mind-reader either, you know? This is another reason why I don't at all mind if an adult politely excuses him/herself.

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Old 09-21-2009, 08:04 PM
 
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I guess I'll have to agree to disagree. I bring toys to the beach for my kids to play with, not for anyone who might be there for the day (and yes I used to share, but then my kids' toys would be unavailable for them to use when they want to, which is not something that is easily predictable for a two yo, or in some cases we have had toys returned to us broken with not so much as a sorry, or we have even had toys just left on the beach for the tide to take them away and never be returned to us as those who borrowed them had already left the beach)

DH asked me what are we teaching our kids if they feel entitled to use any toy on the beach that they want, even if they don't belong to them. Would I as an adult go up to a complete stranger and say "hey, that's a really cool beach chair, can I borrow it?" or "hey that sandwich looks divine, mind if I have some?" I'm not trying to be stingy, really, but I am trying to remember that I am raising children to someday be adults, not to be perpetually children. I don't see any reason why a toy can't be off limits if others' oreos, candy, soda, happy meals and what not (which I'[m sure is equally as inviting to kids) are as easily off limits. If we don't create boundaries, how will our kids ever learn to respect them (or enforce them or even create them)?
I think that the habit of bringing communal toys to parks, beaches, pools, etc. is so common that some kids just assume that toys that aren't being used are available. I know that's how we operate, and most families we come into contact with in those places seem to have the same loose rules about it -- they encourage my kids to use unattended toys.

It's fine for you to not wish to let other kids use your family's sand toys; however, it would make things easier for you if you put the toys out of sight when your kids aren't using them. Seems easy enough to do (or even have your kids do before they go off to do something else), and then you could sit and enjoy the paper without interruption.

ETA: Regarding the boundaries issue, the kids we've come across haven't had a problem understanding that while the toys are for everyone, my kids' lunches aren't -- it's just never been an issue. Kids are pretty savvy about that kind of stuff. And I just can't buy into the fact that sharing sand toys as kids will lead to adults who are unable to respect, enforce, or create boundaries, so I can't comment on that part. As I said, whether to share the toys is your call, but it seems like rather than leaving them out and getting irritated, you'd just put them away and make the day go more smoothly.

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Old 09-21-2009, 08:13 PM
 
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If we don't create boundaries, how will our kids ever learn to respect them (or enforce them or even create them)?
I'm certainly not advocating "no boundaries." I believe in asking if we can use a toy rather than just letting my kids grab it and start playing with it.

It's just that in our experience in the the Midwest where we live, while people may ask -- it's usually just kind of the social norm that if your child brings toys and is not using them, it's pretty much okay for others to play with them until the owner wants them back.

As far as the toy not being available when my child wants it, I have no problem with one of my children letting another child know she wants her toy back now. And sometimes the child won't hand it back, and I've gone over and nicely said that my child would like to play with her toy now.

And then they've always given it back.

I guess there is always some risk of things getting broken -- if not by other kids, then by my own kids. But most of our toys are inexpensive and easy to replace. Of course, not living by the beach we've never had a toy get washed out to sea, so I can't speak to that issue ...

ETA: Just as I allow my own kids transition-time, I think it makes sense to allow kids borrowing our toys a chance to make the transition. As in, "In a few minutes, I want to play with my toy again." Just to clarity that I don't mean we just snatch it right back.

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Old 09-21-2009, 08:18 PM
 
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Said parent is 10 ft away...
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for one thing, I certainly don't think it's okay to be that far away from a young toddler anyplace there is water.
Really? Even at a beach where, usually, families are well back from the water? My kids and I frequently go to the beach, and there are plenty of times when even my 16-month-old DD is 10 feet away from me.

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Old 09-22-2009, 12:51 AM
 
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No, 10 feet is fine, of course! It was this part I was talking about:

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Finally, the dad gets the kid to go to the water with him. Well, that didn't last and the kid was back at our feet asking if the toys were done resting not five minutes later. Dad was STILL in the water (which given it was low tide was probably a good 50-100 yards away from us) for another 20 minutes!
I know the kid was on dry land, but if dad was 100 yards away I assume the kid could run out into the water and get pretty far with dad still waaaay far away. I would never leave my toddler on the beach unattended while I swam! Yoiks.

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Old 09-22-2009, 04:27 AM
 
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Almost assured? Really? I wouldn't even describe myself as a big "kid person," but it's definitely not "almost assured" that any kid who is talking to me, even while I am alone or with a preverbal baby, is annoying me. Far from it! When DD was a baby and young toddler I used to really enjoy talking to older kids at the park because it was interesting to me to see what older kids were like. Even now, with two kids of my own, I enjoy meeting other children. Kids are so different and interesting.

Not that I'm saying anyone should allow their kids to talk the ears off of adults, but I'm surprised by the assumption that child conversation = automatically annoying.
I'm completely an introvert, but I don't mind some kid-chat here and there if I'm pushing DD on the swings or something. I think that's probably the difference, and it's fundamental. Extroverts tend to annoy introverts because we're not bored, we're thinking and we will find extrovert chatter annoying. Extroverts think introverts are standoffish or impolite because they don't do the chatter and approach thing. I literally cannot imagine *wanting* to have anyone come and sit next to me and start a random talk on a park bench, regardless of their age. Location does make a difference, I consider the bench sort of a "rest" zone.

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Old 09-22-2009, 11:12 AM
 
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FWIW, I consider myself an introvert and test as an introvert on personality tests. You must be much more of one than me, though.

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Old 09-22-2009, 01:17 PM
 
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I test about right smack dab in the middle on introvert/extrovert tests -- slightly leaning to the extraverted side.

It's funny ... there was this one test where I had to choose if I'd rather read a book or be with people, and I was thinking, Hmm WHAT book and WHICH people? And then it also depends on my mood that day.

Generally I'm happy to chat if I DON'T have my nose in a book -- but I do feel adults are rude if they keep talking to me when they can see that I'm reading. I mean, if I'm interested enough I'll put up my book and talk to the person -- but if I make the minimal polite response, and then keep trying to read and they keep talking, that's irritating.

But of course I don't hold kids to that same standard -- as I've already said, I also don't have a problem with nicely telling a child that I just want to take a break and read my book right now.

If I see my children chattering away to someone trying to read, of course I'll go over and tell them that people can't talk and read at the same time. But if it happens to me, I don't have a problem with dealing with it myself if the parent seems oblivious.

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Old 09-23-2009, 12:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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IDH asked me what are we teaching our kids if they feel entitled to use any toy on the beach that they want, even if they don't belong to them. Would I as an adult go up to a complete stranger and say "hey, that's a really cool beach chair, can I borrow it?" or "hey that sandwich looks divine, mind if I have some?" I'm not trying to be stingy, really, but I am trying to remember that I am raising children to someday be adults, not to be perpetually children. I don't see any reason why a toy can't be off limits if others' oreos, candy, soda, happy meals and what not (which I'[m sure is equally as inviting to kids) are as easily off limits. If we don't create boundaries, how will our kids ever learn to respect them (or enforce them or even create them)?
I agree 100%. Sharing has a time and place but the beach free for all with any and all strangers? No way. I also don't think this family should have to leave the beach or even move because Dad isn't paying attention to his toddler. I would have tried to get Dad's attention and told him to come get his child.

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Old 09-23-2009, 05:52 PM
 
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I agree 100%. Sharing has a time and place but the beach free for all with any and all strangers? No way. I also don't think this family should have to leave the beach or even move because Dad isn't paying attention to his toddler. I would have tried to get Dad's attention and told him to come get his child.
Of course everyone has a right to their opinion, and no one should "have" to make their toys "free for all" just because it's the cultural norm (at least it is here in Kansas City) that if toys are out in plain view in a public setting like a park or a pool, if they are not being used it's usually fine for others to play with them.

As I've already said, if my children want to play with other toys they see not in use, we do ask and if we were ever told no (so far we haven't been), then we wouldn't play with them. And of course I make sure they're returned promptly when the owner wants them back.

But when one or the other of my girls has been very small, keeping them from playing with toys that were just laying out in plain view would very likely have meant us having to leave.

And, yeah, I guess that's not the problem of the other parent who doesn't want to bother to make the toys inaccessable to toddlers who have a hard time with impulse-control.

It just seems relatively-easy to make stuff inaccessible if you don't want to share it. I realize that if you've never had "that" sort of toddler, it's easy to view the impulsive-grabbing as evidence that the parent is falling down in her job.

And to feel that it's unfair for you to have to put toys up just because that other parent hasn't been mentoring her child adequately.

I'm just saying that having had impulsive toddlers myself, this feels like a very uncompassionate attitude.

And, again, Latte Mama, I don't think it's mean of you to not want to have to take care of other people's kids. I've already shared how I've sometimes told a child (not my own) who wanted my help that I'm taking a break; I think it's perfectly reasonable if I don't want to get up until one of my own children needs me.

But the thing about the toys just seems really harsh to me. Of course, I'm not talking about someone wanting to play with a toy that your child is currently playing with -- and I also think if someone requests a toy that he's not playing with, there's nothing wrong with warning them that he may want it back in a hurry.

But, really, how hard is it to bring the toys in some kind of bag that you can zip them back up in when they're not in use, if you want to keep them off-limits to others?

I mean, I realize it's your own choice if you don't -- but then when you are going against the cultural norm by leaving the toys out when you don't want to share them, why complain when you know some kids are always going to be grabbing them and trying to play with them?

It seems like it would be easier on you (general you), as well as the parents with impulsive children, to just zip em up out of sight til your child wants them again -- but you are intentionally making it harder on yourself, just to make some social statement.

I guess some would say making the statement is the only way to change the current norm? I guess that makes sense, if you' (general you) are willing to expend the energy.

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Old 09-23-2009, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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But, really, how hard is it to bring the toys in some kind of bag that you can zip them back up in when they're not in use, if you want to keep them off-limits to others?

.
Well *I* probably would keep them put away . Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I'd have toys strewn all over the place while wagging my finger and frowning at toddlers passing by trying to pick them up. However, as we've seen in these threads, putting toys away doesn't necessarily stop kids from taking.

In pjs scenario, I think the sitch would have been best resolved if Dad would have gotten his child. The toys were a distraction but the parent needed to be supervising the toddler.

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Old 09-23-2009, 07:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Latte Mama View Post
Well *I* probably would keep them put away . Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I'd have toys strewn all over the place while wagging my finger and frowning at toddlers passing by trying to pick them up. However, as we've seen in these threads, putting toys away doesn't necessarily stop kids from taking.
Thanks for clarifying! I'm sorry I read you wrong.

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In pjs scenario, I think the sitch would have been best resolved if Dad would have gotten his child. The toys were a distraction but the parent needed to be supervising the toddler.
Well, I may have been reading pjs wrong, too -- but it seemed like the problem was that they (understandably) didn't like getting hit with flying sand, so it would have been easy enough to just have the child move farther away to play with the toys.

But instead the husband decided to tell the child the toys were resting, which probably gave him the impression that once they'd rested they'd have energy to play with him again. And putting them under the chair where they were still visible and accessible, simply provided too much temptation for this particular toddler.

I agree that the ideal thing would have been for the other parent to be more involved. I.e. if I were the other parent in that situation I'd have been with my toddler, asked if it was okay for him to use the toys, and monitored his playing and moved him farther away myself if he were flipping sand on people.

But I am ever and always encountering children whose parents have a more lax approach than I do. If there are ways to accommodate these children without sacrificing my own (or my children's) comfort, it's just easier and more sociable to do that I think.

And Latte Mama from what you've shared it sounds like you and I have similar views in terms of maximizing enjoyement and minimizing hard feelings for everyone.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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Old 09-23-2009, 07:22 PM
 
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I guess what I'm really trying to say is that making toys truly inaccessible if we don't want to share them -- or giving a little guidance (even if we think the other parent should be stepping up to the plate but isn't) when we don't mind sharing the toys but just don't want to get hit with flying sand, dirt, balls, whatever --

This seems much kinder TO OURSELVES (and not just to the other families) than standing on some sort of a principle regarding how other parents should be guiding their children not to use toys that don't belong to them, etcetera.

It's kind of like a grandma not feeling she should have to put up her breakables (my own mom resented my insistence when we were visiting that she not lay my dad's pills out on the table in easy reach of my toddler, 20 minutes before Dad took them with his meal) cause she feels like kids need to learn not to grab things things that aren't theirs, and it's their parent's job to teach them, not everyone else's job to make allowances.

I guess we are all different in terms of when we think standing on principle is worth the stress, and when it isn't. Pjs's situation is one where I think it's not worth it, but undoubtedly others will disagree. Maybe it's partly that I'm getting old and tired. It's easier to go with the flow than try to change it in this one area (plus I've been the parent with the grabby toddlers myself ).

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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Old 09-23-2009, 07:29 PM
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Of course everyone has a right to their opinion, and no one should "have" to make their toys "free for all" just because it's the cultural norm (at least it is here in Kansas City) that if toys are out in plain view in a public setting like a park or a pool, if they are not being used it's usually fine for others to play with them.
I wouldn't say it is the cultural norm here that toys brought to the beach are up for grabs as long as they are not being used.

As for putting them up, putting them under the chairs which my husband and I are sitting in seems to make them pretty off limits to me (and recalling my childhood, I would have thought so as a youngster as well). As for putting them in a bag, well that would be one more thing *I* have to carry. I have three kids (7,5 and 2) and another on the way (I'm nearing the end) and when we go to the beach if you want it, you carry it, and yes even my two year old carries the toys she wants to bring. I would have to have each child bring their own bag which is then another thing I need to keep track of and probably make it more difficult for each of them to carry their stuff.

I'm not trying to be uncompassionate towards those with impulsive toddlers, but as I mentioned before I have three young kids, another on the way, we homeschool and DH is the *only* support I have and thus the only break I get, if you can call sharing the responsibility of taking care of the kids 24/7 a break. I'm just saying that when out of pure necessity for my own sanity I have taught my kids to play nicely and independently amongst themselves at the beach and they bring a bucket or a truck, I shouldn't then have to sacrifice the only "break" I get, if you can even call it that, because it's too tiring for another parent to keep an impulsive toddler occupied anywhere but three feet in front of me while I'm trying to read and have an enjoyable morning with my family. This isn't the only time this has happened to me, I guess having 3 kids and another on the way screams "I am a capable and competent child care giver, leave your kid under my supervision while you chat, swim or heck even run to the snack bar to grab a bite to eat"

And the flying sand wasn't just the only problem. We're at the beach on a Sunday morning and there are probably 5-6 other families/groups there. For all intents and purposes the beach is empty. Why should I have to have my space/time/attention/peace invaded by a toddler who doesn't belong to me when there is literally a wide open beach?
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Old 09-23-2009, 07:55 PM
 
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pjs, I guess you are already handling things in the way that seems easiest and least stressful to you.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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Old 09-23-2009, 09:05 PM
 
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I wouldn't say it is the cultural norm here that toys brought to the beach are up for grabs as long as they are not being used.
I don't think of them as being "up for grabs" either. As I've said, if my kids see someone else's toys not in use and want to play with them, we ask -- but in one of your previous posts, you seemed to be likening this to an adult asking to borrow things from a complete stranger.

I just don't see it as the same with children. And I think one reason that sharing toys in public places has become the norm at least where I live, is that as parents we've all had the experience of our child really wanting to try out a cool toy someone else has, so most of us decide to make our stuff available 'cause we know that next time it'll be our child hankering after someone else's stuff.

But actually when you come right down to it, if I'd brought a spare lawn chair that no one else was using, I honestly wouldn't mind sharing it with a complete stranger. Just as I wouldn't have a problem with giving candy to an adult trick-or-treater.

I just wouldn't feel comfortable, personally, being the adult asking to borrow a lawn chair from a stranger, or holding out my bag for Halloween candy. Because it's unusual, and I know some adults would see me in a critical light.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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