Anyone else encounter a lot of "no children over 5?" - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 53 Old 03-01-2007, 11:58 AM
 
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I've had this happen a few times now, and it's getting to be really annoying. One of our favorite places, the Discovery Center, recently turned one of the kids' favorite play areas into a "no kids over 5" space. Well, technically they do it by height, but it works out to be at about 4-5yo. So now we don't go there very often, because I can't take both kids in with me.

There is a cafe that opened that has a playspace for kids, but only 0-5. No kids over 5 are allowed in the play area. Yeah, right, so I'm going to sit there and drink my coffee while my 2yo plays in the play area and my 5yo sits at the table with me.

There is another indoor playspace that I used to take ds1 to as a toddler, and sure enough, no kids over 5yo are allowed.

I'm feeling very sad about this. Not only does it limit what we have to do, but my 6yo gets really upset that he can't play in these areas anymore, and my 2.5yo misses out on some of the cool things I used to do with ds1.

Does anyone else encounter this? It's like once you turn 5yo you are not supposed to be out and about during daylight hours.

No I don't encouter this. We don't have things like that and if we did, we can't afford those places. Can you go to a park or a friends house to play? That just sounds like discrimination to me!
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#32 of 53 Old 03-01-2007, 12:08 PM
 
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It is often done because of large kids hurting smaller kids and a few inconsiderate parents who won't stop them, and ruin it for everyone else. sadly.

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#33 of 53 Old 03-01-2007, 12:09 PM
 
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It is often done because of large kids hurting smaller kids and parents who won't stop them, sadly.
Maybe they should have a "Parents discipline your children or we will" :


Na, I am just kidding...
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#34 of 53 Old 03-01-2007, 12:21 PM
 
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I can see both sides of this. I guess my issue, since my kids are still rather young is we have been to the mall play area and there are kids who are very obviously over 5 who are VERY rough and trample over the little kids. A few months ago we went to a rather large mall, two boys, probably about 6-7 were playing in the under 5 area (actually it was by ht, but they were waaay too tall). They were jumping off the top of the play structures (climbing stuff that wasn't supposed to be climbed on), and saying things like, "I'm going to kill you!" My 2.5 yr old was following the older boys around (he likes older kids), and they were mean to him and when they climbed up one of the structures and he tried to follow them, the boy said to me, "he's going to climb up here and push me off!" I said, "No he isn't, he's just a toddler!" He looked like he would have tried to kick my DS down with his foot if he DID try to climb up! I was so pissed. I looked around and the boys' two dads (also wearing camo) were not even paying attn at all. Their boys were not only being terrors in general but were also causing trouble with other small kids too. You could tell the parents' of younger kids were trying to keep their children away from these older boys.

Later on my son was at home saying, "I'm going to kill you!" I was irrate! He picked up that talk from those older boys that shoudl not have been in the play area to begin with! I am not saying that your kids do this, BUT there ARE kids that act this way, and I think that is why they made that rule. Rules aside though, it seems that the parents with the rough over-5 age group kids act like they can't read the rules anyway, so it doesn't matter. If you child is gently playing with other children, I would let them play in the designated area and play dumb. I think that as long as they are gentle around the other little ones, nobody will take issue with it. If they cause trouble though, then don't be surprised if they get kicked out. I think the rule is really to avoid older children who play roughly, but what annoys me is the parents who have older children who play roughly are the ones who don't watch their kids anyway or follow the rules anyway, kwim? We have the same problems at the playground too, which is why we ended up investing in a nice wooden playset in our backyard. I was sick and tired of my little ones getting trampled on by older kids whose parents did not care to monitor how their children were acting toward other children.
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#35 of 53 Old 03-01-2007, 01:11 PM
 
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If you child is gently playing with other children, I would let them play in the designated area and play dumb. I think that as long as they are gentle around the other little ones, nobody will take issue with it.
I completely understand the POV of having the little, easily intimidated child. My oldest was really freaked out by loud and physical children until he was almost 5. When he was a toddler, he even disliked other toddlers his size (particularly boys) because they were unpredictable. I have had countless situations in which he was freaked out by other children or in which other children were physically aggressive towards him (with their parents right there!). I totally and completely understand wanting your very small child to have a safe place to play and explore.

Having said that, I have experienced many parents of 1 and young 2 year olds (when that child is their oldest) wanting older children to play and act like their timid toddlers and that is not developmentally feasible. I'm saying that, when the older child is within the age limit (e.g. a 4 year old in an under 5 setting), it's not fair or realistic to expect him to play as gently as a 1 year old. Obviously, he should NOT invade the 1 year old's space. But, now that my kids are a bit older and I have a second child who is not timid like my first one was, I see people get annoyed when my kids act their age in their own space.

We used to belong to Gymboree and they had open gym days that were perfect for our outrageously hot summer days when my kids were younger and prone to overheating. Most of the people had tiny toddling 1 year olds who were not used to older children. I've gotten so many hairy eyeballs from Moms just because my kids were jumping off the air-log (allowed and with no toddlers in sight) or because they were making loud noises. I've seen Moms of immaculately dressed toddlers act very disdainful because my older son went into his pirate persona which doesn't involve doing anything other than saying "Argh!" rather loudly. I feel like those Moms were the ones taking over the play area by expecting all children to act like their 1 year olds. Those kids will be 3, 4 and 5 one day and they will likely run, jump and make pirate noises.

Again, I totally understand wanting a safe place for a toddler to play. My oldest was such a timid, gentle toddler and so I have had a lot of bad experiences related to this. OTOH, when kids are within that acceptable age range, I think it's kind of unfair to expect them to play like 1 year olds, as long as they are not in that 1 year old's space.

The biggest issue I have with age segregation, however, relates to me homeschooling my two children and not being able to participate in activities due to age rules. Classes and workshops require a parent to be present but the age rules are often so tight that I could not bring my other child (and who is going to care for him?). Or in the case of our library's developmental play room, 5 year olds are not allowed but yet many 5 year olds miss the K cut-off and so would not be in school during the day. 5 seems to be the mostly left-out year in our experience. There's lots of "6 and up" and lots of "4 and under".
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#36 of 53 Old 03-01-2007, 02:55 PM
 
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We encounter this occasionally, but not often. We may or may not follow the rules, depending on the situation.

We stopped attending preschool open gym when my oldest was 5 because I could see how wild my oldest was and how much the toddlers were intimidated by groups of larger older kids running around. It was a busy place, and my kids were adding to the chaos. I would never take my kids to the 4&under room at the children's museum for the same reason- I know that my older kids would be intimidating to the younger kids.

However, at places like REI, which has a climbing area for age 5 & under, I usually allow my bigger kids to play. We tend to go there during the school day when it's not crowded, and often my kids are the only ones playing. On the weekend, when it's busy and there are many little ones, I don't let my big kids play because I don't want them to trample the little kids.

Honestly, I don't really have a problem with it. When my kids were toddlers, I had enough experiences with them being terrorized by well-meaning older kids that I understand why the rules exist. I try to be very conscious of how my children are behaving, and take them out of a sitation if they are making younger children uncomfortable.

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#37 of 53 Old 03-01-2007, 03:15 PM
 
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I'm with you -- except IMO, it's nuts not to make an exception for siblings.
But this just doesn't work logistically. You let your older sibling in and then someone comes along with an older kid and thinks "hey that kid is older so I might as well let mine in", they don't know it's an older sibling and wouldn't care anyway. Next thing ya know-lots of older kids and the whole reason for limiting ages is shot.
You just can't have a list of exceptions, it just doesn't work that way in real life.
Just because the older child gets to drive doesn't mean the 13 yr old gets to. Just because the older one gets to go to daycamp for 6yr olds doesn't mean the 4 yr old can go because he's a sibling. KWIM?
There eventually has to be lines drawn somewhere.

I have a 2 yr old, 5 yr old and 7 yr old so don't think I don't know what you're talking about! My 7 yr old is rarely able to things at places with toddler or preschool play areas. And my 5 yr old is as tall as most 7 yr olds so she certainly gets "looks." But I just limit going to those places and seek out other places because it's not worth my time to get all ticked off about it, it's just life. We deal with it and move on.

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#38 of 53 Old 03-01-2007, 03:55 PM
 
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But this just doesn't work logistically. You let your older sibling in and then someone comes along with an older kid and thinks "hey that kid is older so I might as well let mine in", they don't know it's an older sibling and wouldn't care anyway. Next thing ya know-lots of older kids and the whole reason for limiting ages is shot.
You just can't have a list of exceptions, it just doesn't work that way in real life.
Yes, it does work logistically and in real life. For example, the Children's Museum in Boston has a Playspace for kids age 0-3. It is gated off from the rest of the museum. There is a worker standing there, letting folks in. My 4 year old is always allowed to go in with my 23 month old. A family with no kids age 0-3 aren't allowed in, period.
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#39 of 53 Old 03-01-2007, 04:20 PM
 
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of course someone always comes up with an exception
but what I said is still true-you don't have workers at most places "screening" siblings that can go in and MOST of the time this just wouldn't work

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#40 of 53 Old 03-01-2007, 04:27 PM
 
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of course someone always comes up with an exception
but what I said is still true-you don't have workers at most places "screening" siblings that can go in and MOST of the time this just wouldn't work
Hmm...okay. The only place -- wait ,TWO places...the Science Museum in Boston has the same type of arrangement...that have a young-kid-only policy has workers there to guard the gate. I've never seen a situation where there HASN'T been an official person around to enforce it.
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#41 of 53 Old 03-01-2007, 04:43 PM
 
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I have a question that sort of goes along with this thread. Why is it automatically assumed that older children will be aggressive and a problem?

In my family quite the opposite is true. I worried more about my five-year-old playing in those areas when he was two and lacked emotionally maturity than I do now he is older and more patient with other children.

Those types of rules are in place here but they don't seem to be enforced with any regularity.

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#42 of 53 Old 03-01-2007, 04:49 PM
 
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[QUOTE=Seeking Refuge;7439165]I have a question that sort of goes along with this thread. Why is it automatically assumed that older children will be aggressive and a problem?

QUOTE]
because all you have to do is go to any mall play area for kids under 5 (or whatever age) and you have bigger/older kids playing rough and not watching for the little ones

I understand what you are saying because my older kids ar every helpful and careful with the little ones too. But unfortunately many are not. And from just my own observations there are more that are NOT careful than are.

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#43 of 53 Old 03-01-2007, 05:25 PM
 
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I have a question that sort of goes along with this thread. Why is it automatically assumed that older children will be aggressive and a problem?
I don't think it *is* automatically assumed that older children will be aggressive and a problem. In my earlier post, I mentioned that a lot of normal, nonaggressive, perfectly acceptable older-kid play intimidates my toddler. At least one person posted in agreement. Big kids don't have to be aggressive to change the tone of a room or the comfort level of toddlers who are playing there.

I have noticed that toddlers with older siblings don't seem anywhere near as intimidated by older kids playing. So maybe the issue is less evident to people who have a toddler plus an older kid than it is to those of us with toddler firstborns.

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#44 of 53 Old 03-01-2007, 05:27 PM
 
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[quote=AnnR33;7439228]
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Originally Posted by Seeking Refuge View Post
I have a question that sort of goes along with this thread. Why is it automatically assumed that older children will be aggressive and a problem?

QUOTE]
because all you have to do is go to any mall play area for kids under 5 (or whatever age) and you have bigger/older kids playing rough and not watching for the little ones

I understand what you are saying because my older kids ar every helpful and careful with the little ones too. But unfortunately many are not. And from just my own observations there are more that are NOT careful than are.
Ditto that. When I actually run into older children who take extra care around my little ones I am actually surprised (in a good way, I've had the pleasure of being in this situation a few times). I'm not saying all older kids are rough, BUT I find that the majority of older kids are pretty oblivious to any little kids around them. I do not think they mean to be rough or run them over, but it seems to be more of the norm to ignore or trample over little ones. I've even heard older kids saying things like, "I don't want to play with a bunch of babies." I don't know where they adopted this type of attitude about little ones, but I've noticed that attitude a LOT where I live. Granted we live in a very non-AP area, but usually children under five are treated like they are a nuisance.
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#45 of 53 Old 03-01-2007, 06:02 PM
 
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Warning: Gross Generalization Alert...

See, this is where I notice the difference with homeschooled children. In my limited personal experience, the homeschooled older children we've met have been very gentle and respectful of small children. They have spoken to my kids like they are real people (including my then-2 year old; an older girl even complimented him on his hat). My kids, who tend to be on the shy and cautious side, have felt really comfortable in mixed-age homeschool settings. We even went to a hs park date and my 2 year old was navigating amongst all these older kids on the play structure and they were all so respectful of his personal space; I was amazed!

In contrast, I do see a lot of older children in general society that are not only oblivious to the physical space of little kids but also to the physical space of everyone else. We had a group of cub scouts once get completely into our immediate physical space with their inpromtu, loud game at a bus-stop (we were there first and there was a ton of room!), despite the fact that the four of us were giving very clear vibes of being uncomfortable. The adults were standing right there. Someone finally half-heartedly said something to them after my youngest started looking halfway freaked out. I see this a lot. It's like everyone else is invisible. Kids who are old enough to know better run into me and lean on me in line or brush my arms when they walk by. The parents don't say anything. I figure they are the same parents who watched as their toddlers hit mine and took his toys away. There's some really permissive parenting going on, coupled with a sense of false entitlement. It's not good.

In our homeschooling group, OTOH, you can tell that the parents are really involved in modeling behavior for their kids and they really do care. I feel really good about that.
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#46 of 53 Old 03-01-2007, 06:12 PM
 
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I agree with the above 2 posts! When my son was in public K he was not as careful or patient with his younger sister or other toddlers. But since we've been homeschooling he helps little ones at the park or museum etc. He pushes them on the swings and runs over if they fall to see if they are OK. Most other kids his age are oblivious to the younger ones.
I think when hs kids (in general) are around more variety of ages and interact more often with all ages they are more sensitive to younger ones.
At school they are segregated and live in a vacuum in some senses and just don't pay attention to other ages.

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#47 of 53 Old 03-01-2007, 06:22 PM
 
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That does make sense to me. It could explain in part why I was so baffled by the behavior of a boy I was recently watching.
He is 10 and doesn't act with much more consideration or maturity than my five-year-old. It didn't occur to me that his experiences in school could have contributed to this issue.

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#48 of 53 Old 03-01-2007, 09:10 PM
 
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#49 of 53 Old 03-01-2007, 11:40 PM
 
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One of my big biggest pet peeves is when someone dismisses another's feelings or concerns with "life isn't fair". It's condescending and rude. :

I do understand the annoyance factor and safety issues with kids who are rougher and more intimidating. This concerns me with all my kids. In fact, our homeschooling group banned certain types of physical activity from our "family day", and started another gathering time specifically for that kind of physical activity. What they didn't do was segregate the ages. So I can choose what's appropriate for my bunch; someone else isn't making that choice for me. It would suck if I was officially prohibited from bringing my older kids to the more mellow gathering, and from bringing my younger kids to the wilder gathering. We'd end up being able to go to neither.

What's funny is that my experience has been very different from that of most people here, it seems. When we go somewhere where there are kids of different ages, it's almost *never* that I worry about the bigger kids, who usually either ignore my younger ones or are kind and accomodating. It is usually kids of the same age who make trouble. Personally, I would much rather my two-year-old have all older kids to play with than a bunch of other two-year-olds whose mothers aren't watching them either, as is too often the case. Just yesterday, in a play area, the child who was being aggressive with my daughter and made her cry? Another two-year-old. I've lost count of the times I've seen little kids throwing sand at each other, or taking each others' toys, or knocking each other over.

I have to admit though that my gripe isn't even so much what is to me a weirdly artificial segregation (by ages but not play styles.) I don't begrudge people being comfortable however they can manage it. What bothers me is when there is no accomodation whatsoever for people who don't send their kids to school and who have kids who fall into different age categories. It's completely either-or in many cases. What about making a smaller age-specific space with a larger activity area, so that parents can watch all their kids at once? At our library in the kids' section, there is a place that is obviously for little kids, and another sectioned off by low book-cases for bigger kids. They don't mix unless they specifically want to be part of one vibe or the other. It works great.
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#50 of 53 Old 03-02-2007, 01:21 AM
 
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Warning: Gross Generalization Alert...

See, this is where I notice the difference with homeschooled children. In my limited personal experience, the homeschooled older children we've met have been very gentle and respectful of small children. They have spoken to my kids like they are real people (including my then-2 year old; an older girl even complimented him on his hat). My kids, who tend to be on the shy and cautious side, have felt really comfortable in mixed-age homeschool settings. We even went to a hs park date and my 2 year old was navigating amongst all these older kids on the play structure and they were all so respectful of his personal space; I was amazed!

In contrast, I do see a lot of older children in general society that are not only oblivious to the physical space of little kids but also to the physical space of everyone else. We had a group of cub scouts once get completely into our immediate physical space with their inpromtu, loud game at a bus-stop (we were there first and there was a ton of room!), despite the fact that the four of us were giving very clear vibes of being uncomfortable. The adults were standing right there. Someone finally half-heartedly said something to them after my youngest started looking halfway freaked out. I see this a lot. It's like everyone else is invisible. Kids who are old enough to know better run into me and lean on me in line or brush my arms when they walk by. The parents don't say anything. I figure they are the same parents who watched as their toddlers hit mine and took his toys away. There's some really permissive parenting going on, coupled with a sense of false entitlement. It's not good.

In our homeschooling group, OTOH, you can tell that the parents are really involved in modeling behavior for their kids and they really do care. I feel really good about that.
ITA with you. That is actually one reason why we want to HS. I think that it will allow us to better, "socialize" (LOL!) our kids in a GOOD way, not in a bad way. I think it's very important to be aware of those around you and I still think that being polite and courteous of others, strangers or not, is important (something I often feel ppl no longer think is important at all, ppl are just plain rude these days). It's too bad that there aren't more parents who are more aware of their children's behavior and it doesn't help that most of them do not set a good example for their children.
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#51 of 53 Old 03-02-2007, 04:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What's funny is that my experience has been very different from that of most people here, it seems. When we go somewhere where there are kids of different ages, it's almost *never* that I worry about the bigger kids, who usually either ignore my younger ones or are kind and accomodating. It is usually kids of the same age who make trouble. Personally, I would much rather my two-year-old have all older kids to play with than a bunch of other two-year-olds whose mothers aren't watching them either, as is too often the case. Just yesterday, in a play area, the child who was being aggressive with my daughter and made her cry? Another two-year-old. I've lost count of the times I've seen little kids throwing sand at each other, or taking each others' toys, or knocking each other over.

I have to admit though that my gripe isn't even so much what is to me a weirdly artificial segregation (by ages but not play styles.) I don't begrudge people being comfortable however they can manage it. What bothers me is when there is no accomodation whatsoever for people who don't send their kids to school and who have kids who fall into different age categories. It's completely either-or in many cases. What about making a smaller age-specific space with a larger activity area, so that parents can watch all their kids at once? At our library in the kids' section, there is a place that is obviously for little kids, and another sectioned off by low book-cases for bigger kids. They don't mix unless they specifically want to be part of one vibe or the other. It works great.
Exactly.

It's not that I don't understand the reason why these age limits are set up. We all want our children, regardless of age, to be able to play and explore in a safe environment. I just don't think this is best served by setting up artificial environments based on age alone.
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#52 of 53 Old 03-02-2007, 10:11 AM
 
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Almost everyone I know, willl take younger kids along with older siblings. So, for example if something is for ages 5 and up....almost every homeschooling family I know who has a child(ren)older than 5 and a child(ren) younger, will just take the younger ones along. I have never once encountered a problem..or had anyone say anything. I thought it was just assumed that younger kids had to tag along? Even at library storytimes, or gymnastics classes...it is pretty common to see younger siblings brought along.

Unfortantely, it doesn't go the other way, though. I would feel uncomfortable taking older siblings along something geared towards younger children. It seems as though it is assumed that older kids (4+) are in preschool or school all day. Around here, almost everyone puts their kids in preschool or pre-K by age 3 1/2 or 4 at the latest.

As far as teh children's museums with the under 5 rooms...well I would probably take an older child in as long as it wasn't crowded, and i knew my older child would be considerate of the yougner ones.

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#53 of 53 Old 03-02-2007, 11:42 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ameliabedelia View Post

Unfortantely, it doesn't go the other way, though. I would feel uncomfortable taking older siblings along something geared towards younger children.
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Even our homeschool assistance program does this. They routinely plan events which they ask younger siblings not to attend but a parent is still required to participate in the event with the older sibling.

I asked the secretary the other day what she would like me to do with my other son during the puppet show. She seemed absolutely amazed that I don't have drop-in daycare arrangements, despite the fact that she knows I stay-at-home. I told her "no" we do things as a family or we don't do them at all. I can easily take the boys to the puppet show at a time when both boys can go.

Stephany
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