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

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#1 of 53 Old 02-28-2007, 03:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#2 of 53 Old 02-28-2007, 03:39 AM
 
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Oh, that's just awful!

I havne't seen that in my small town area. There are some classes with upper age limits, but they've always welcomed any older homeschooled kids who were around.
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#3 of 53 Old 02-28-2007, 04:24 AM
 
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Aw, that's sad. How strict are these places? A lot of the time it seems that older kids do go in, and nobody bothers them unless they are playing in a way that is dangerous or scary for the little kids.

My dd1, at 7, would be overjoyed if there was a place where her 2.5 year old sister could play while she monopolized my attention at the table, with a cup of something yummy that she didn't have to guard with her very life.
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#4 of 53 Old 02-28-2007, 08:54 AM
 
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Are you sure they don't make an exception for siblings? The Children's Museum in Boston has a Playspace designed for kids 0-3. No other kids are allowed in...unless they are a brother or sister of the younger child.
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#5 of 53 Old 02-28-2007, 09:08 AM
 
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We are getting a lot of this in the UK as well - mom and tot groups limited to under 3's for example (so a mom with a 3 and a 1 year old can't go!), and places that won't admit "school age" children in "school hours" (like a local childrens exploratory... home ed heaven really...)

Result is that my ds has pretty much missed out on all the stuff that his sisters got to do (when DD2 was wee these 'rules' hadn't yet become the trend, DD1 had a blast being older with her baby sister) and I'm finding it really hard to make new rl friends (we recently moved) because my older children aren't allowed in places where I might meet other people!
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#6 of 53 Old 02-28-2007, 09:12 AM
 
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thats not nice, play areas we go to have a play for under 5's and one for over 5's so the little ones are not getting hurt/knocked over by the bigger kids, although partents don't ussually watch the kids and all the bigger ones run about in the toddler/under 5's area knocking over and scareing the younger ones :

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#7 of 53 Old 02-28-2007, 09:55 AM
 
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Yes, I actually see a lot of "under 5". And the problem is, what if your child misses the K cutoff so he is not in school but he is 5 years old? Where does that child go when he's out with his mother during the day? I understand why they have age rules in many areas, because I've seen older physical boys completely intimidate the littles and make it so that no one else enjoys it. That irritates me. But OTOH, 5 (or 6) is like an in-between age, it seems.

Our main library has a fabulous toy room with big building blocks and puppets and things. We used to go but not so often, because my little guy was not happy when we were out; we often left early because he'd get irritable. Now that he's perfectly happy to stay out (at age 3), I thought I could take him and my 5 year old again. My 5 year old LOVES blocks and puppets. But the sign says "under age 5" so we can't go now.

We have a play center at the mall that uses a height limit instead of an age limit. My 5 year old just makes the top height. I took him in and let him play.

But yeah, it seems like there's a whole group of kids who are still very small but too big to be allowed access to these things. And it DOES feel like they are not supposed to be seen during the day.

At the same time, many of our really interesting library programs and such, and many art classes, state that the child is supposed to be "6 and up". But yet their younger offerings are geared to 3 and 4 year olds. And the latter will predictably be watered down by people bringing distractable 1 and 2 year olds. I can't figure out where the 5 year olds are supposed to fit in there. I've actually thought about writing a letter to my library, but we only have a few more months of age 5.
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#8 of 53 Old 02-28-2007, 10:08 AM
 
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How about calling some of these places and telling them that you have always been a regular patron but since they instituted this rule, you don't feel welcome anymore even though your youngest is under the age limit?

They might laugh and say, "Oh, we just put that so that unattended 7 year olds weren't playing in the younger kids' space. Come on over!"

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#9 of 53 Old 02-28-2007, 10:29 AM
 
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Yes, I see a lot of this where I live. There is at least one historical sites/museum that offers a special homeschool day, but don't allow under 5 (or whatever it was) - is it common for people who homeschool to have day care / babysitters so they can take each child to an age segregated activity?

The town I live in has a recreation dept that offers a lot of nature and art classes, and I've rarely found one I can bring a 3 & 6 year old to together. Whole family programs are even rarer.

I understand about the possibility that some big rowdy kids will scare little ones, or little ones might disturb things that older kids are doing, but why penalize families whose children enjoy doing things together and are well supervised?
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#10 of 53 Old 02-28-2007, 10:39 AM
 
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- is it common for people who homeschool to have day care / babysitters so they can take each child to an age segregated activity?

The town I live in has a recreation dept that offers a lot of nature and art classes, and I've rarely found one I can bring a 3 & 6 year old to together. Whole family programs are even rarer.
Actually, we encounter this too. Subsequently, we skip a lot of things. We went on a homeschool group trip to a local museum. Based on ds2's age, we could not take the museum tour. My oldest would not have gone without me so we just wandered around the museum on our own. We had a great time, but we were the only hs family who did not participate on the tour. When it was over, the hs group leader commented that we would have been fine on the tour based on how quiet ds2 was. Again, I understand why they do this, but I've also met much older children who were fairly inattentive. But yeah, we bump into minimum age rules too that result in our inability to participate at all. I figure that, once my oldest is 5 or 6, it should get easier (I think). But it doesn't make my life easier now.

On the bright side, while many daily activities have these min age rules, many of our hs group activities have had no age requirements. So, I was able to take my 2 year old on the State Park nature walk with the older kids. He thought he was SO grown-up and he was tripping over himself to be with the big kids and act grown-up. We've been to a historical mill talk, although I did have to walk away with him at one point, because he started getting distracted. In many situations, people have been very welcoming of him and I've really appreciated that. Because it's not like I can drop him off somewhere. The fact that we homeschool means that we're all at home and that we don't utilize regular child-care. It can make life difficult, especially when the kids are young. I have one that is considered too young in many situations and I also have one that is considered too old in others. They're only 2.5 years apart!
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#11 of 53 Old 02-28-2007, 11:15 AM
 
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Everything around here is geared to the preschool child. We have a fairly large and active hs community but still not much available for that in between age.

Honestly, I go anyways! I make sure the kids are well behaved and go in anyways. There usually isn't a guard at the door and the only time I have had someone tell me I can't go in was at the Science Center on the weekend when it was busy.

I sometime encounter the problem on the other end too. DS1 is 7 (almost 8) and lots of times wants to participate in activities that are for "8 - 10" or "3rd grade and up". So we lie.: I figure those things are based on reading level mostly. They want to be able to have the kids read the directions without help. So as long I think he can do it then I let him.

It seems the in bewteen ages get the short end of the stick in a lot of places. For a society that feels so strongly that 5, 6 and 7 year olds need to be in organized and structured social activities, you would think there would be more available.
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#12 of 53 Old 02-28-2007, 11:20 AM
 
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The age segregation really bothers me. The ages of my children range from toddler to ten, so there is a lot of stuff we're restricted from doing. But also I just think it's a bad idea to segregate people in general. It reinforces the idea that certain activities are for certain people only, and that different ages shouldn't interact. My older children get a lot out of being around younger children, and the younger children get a lot out of being around them. If there is conflict, that needs to be dealt with by those who are supervising -- the rest of us shouldn't be penalized for it. As far as I'm concerned, it's a kind of discrimination, against those of us with larger-than-average families and who are homeschooling.

Sometimes the age "restrictions" are really suggestions for who might most appreciate the activity. For instance, at the library sometimes they have reading time or a puppet show or whatever, and it's "for ages 2-4" or whatever, and our whole family stops to watch and enjoys it, and, granted, we've ever been asked to leave. I understand the designation is so that people know what sort of thing to expect, but it seems to me there are better ways to get that information across than implying that certain activities are only appropriate for certain people. People can and should be able make the decision for themselves whether it's appropriate for them.
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#13 of 53 Old 02-28-2007, 11:44 AM
 
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Those age limits really hurt my ds' feelings. We go someplace new, he sees something neat, and for no apparent reason, he isn't allowed to check it out. He doesn't understand how he is different from a three year old.

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#14 of 53 Old 02-28-2007, 12:31 PM
 
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I'm another one that just bends the rules We go to story time meant for 3-5 yos and my 2yo comes along. He's reasonably quiet and attentive (sometimes more so than my older son!) and its not like they're checking Ids at the door . My 5 yo still goes to play areas meant for younger kids, I'm just make sure to remind to watch out for the littles. I do hear you, though, and its frustrating. I do think its age segregation and you would think with homeschool being so popular these days there would be more accomidation.
I also hate that most of the classes around here are "no siblings allowed." and for narrow age groups. Just what am I suppossed to do with my other child for an hour or so while his brother has a fun class?

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#15 of 53 Old 02-28-2007, 01:10 PM
 
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I only have one child at home, the rest are grown and on their own, but I find it difficultto do things because they don't allow kids under five. We got our monthly homeschool newsletter yesterday. I saw five different events that I thought DS would love to do. But they all said no one under five or age six and up. Our local library does a monthly craft time but it is for age six and up. Many of the activities he wants todo he is considered too young for. There is a Space Center nearby that has lots and lots of activities for kids six and up or seven and up. DS is very centered onspace type things. His favorite movie is Apollo 13. But he is not allowed to participate in these activities because he is not old enough. I know this is not as serious of a problem as being too old is, but still what do we do. DH comes home and wants to know what we did all day. What can I say, he's too young to do anything. If I say that then DH is going to say that I need to go back to work until heis old enoughtoparticipate in homeschooling activities. DH is very upset that I quit my job to stay home with DS. Too me it's important. But he doesn't see that sitting at homebaking cookies is a good learning activity.

Sorry to rant on your thread. But this is a problem for me.

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#16 of 53 Old 02-28-2007, 01:17 PM
 
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I also wanted tosay that I do see the flip side of this situation. We were at an indoor play area the other day and school was out. The place was full of six,seven, and eight year olds who were running all over the place knocking down little ones and not caring who got hurt. The parents were not paying any attention to these kids at all. I was afraid my 4.5 year old was going to get hurt. He spent most of the time hanging on me instead of playing because he was afraid to be there.

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#17 of 53 Old 02-28-2007, 01:17 PM
 
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I only recently encountered this at our local science museum. They have a play area for 6 and under (I think). Older kids can go in with younger siblings, but my other dd is an infant, so that wouldn't work out. Dd can pass for 6 (especially when it comes to bus fare : ) but she wasn't interested when she looked inside and saw a bunch of toddlers running around.

We also have "indoor parks" at the community centers, and they are for, I think, 5 and under. It sucks, because an indoor park would be great when it's raining. But I haven't actually seen the park. It may just be that it's more suited for that age group. I think it's actually in the gymnasium and they throw around a bunch of tumbling equipment.
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#18 of 53 Old 02-28-2007, 01:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Those age limits really hurt my ds' feelings. We go someplace new, he sees something neat, and for no apparent reason, he isn't allowed to check it out. He doesn't understand how he is different from a three year old.
Yes, mine too, and I think this is what bothers me most about it.

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The age segregation really bothers me. The ages of my children range from toddler to ten, so there is a lot of stuff we're restricted from doing. But also I just think it's a bad idea to segregate people in general. It reinforces the idea that certain activities are for certain people only, and that different ages shouldn't interact. My older children get a lot out of being around younger children, and the younger children get a lot out of being around them. If there is conflict, that needs to be dealt with by those who are supervising -- the rest of us shouldn't be penalized for it. As far as I'm concerned, it's a kind of discrimination, against those of us with larger-than-average families and who are homeschooling.
I don't like the age segregation either. Both of my kids enjoy interacting with very young and older children. It's ironically one of the reasons we wanted to homeschool in the first place!

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The town I live in has a recreation dept that offers a lot of nature and art classes, and I've rarely found one I can bring a 3 & 6 year old to together. Whole family programs are even rarer.

I understand about the possibility that some big rowdy kids will scare little ones, or little ones might disturb things that older kids are doing, but why penalize families whose children enjoy doing things together and are well supervised?
Yes, this really bugs me. Why lump all kids in together? Why not let them figure out how to play together in a respectful, gentle way? A 4 year old can be physical and rowdy and a 7 year old can be gentle and calm.

And I too have had a hard time finding a class I can do with both of them. We found one gymnastics place where at least the classes are at the same time, so I can drop ds1 off at his and participate in one with ds2 at the same time. But this will be the last semester we can do that, because then ds1 will be 6yo (they check birthdays at registration), and all those classes are in the afternoon, while the little ones are still in the morning.

The Discovery Center one really bugs me: First of all, they check at the entrance. They have someone sitting there to check height, and expect that child to sit with them and draw while the parent brings the younger one in. Yeah, right. Secondly, when I took ds1 there as a toddler, there was no age/height limit. Rarely were there problems with older kids being too rowdy, and if there was, it was handled. My toddler ds learned to be really gentle around the babies as well. And third, I have mentioned this issue to them. They are standing by their rule. In fact, they even had a homeschool day, and in the literature for it said straight out that families with toddlers and older children can just play elsewhere!

But another thing I hate about this is that everything is not determined by a child's age. My ds1 is the perfect example. He has always been beyond his years in sharing well, listening to directions, behaving appropriately, etc. But, he is a young 5/6yo in the sense that his play tends to be less sophisticated than other children his age, and he lacks the savvy that a lot of older kids seem to have. So like the gymnastics place for instance: He does a little half day camp for a week that he loves, and it's for 4 and 5yo. Well, as of May, he will be too old for that, and will have to go to the one geard for 6-12yo! I don't feel comfortable at all dropping him off at a class that is geared for such older kids. But yet based soley on their age, that's where all 6yos are supposed to go, with no regard for where they are in their individual development.
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#19 of 53 Old 02-28-2007, 01:22 PM
 
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i bend the rules . . . sometimes. if we are the only ones there or close to it I let the older ones go in allowing for some basic ground rules. They may not abuse the equipment and they always always have to yield to the littles. no running or rough play or anything that could tip a toddler over. I understand why there needs to be special places for little tiny kids. but at the same time lets get real. i can't expect my children to sit and read all the time. I do however expect them to do it sometimes (its not like their little sister has never had to sit through a class for them.) we have never been asked to leave anywhere.

things that go the other way are more complicated. we did a hs tour that absolutely did not allow anyone under six and they were very clear that if you child acted up at all they would be instantly removed from the area (it was a dangerous place for children who couldn't follow the hands by your side rule). we worked it out as a group and managed to meet everyones needs. and of course there are always classes and i would never sneak a younger child into a class because it really bugs me when people do this and ruin it for the big kids. SO what we do in that situation is split the difference. half the moms will take the big kids on the tour or to the class or whatever or activity and the other moms will haul the littles off to somewhere perhaps a 6 and under only play area (by the way, everything here is 6 and under which eliminates the middle ground) they don't get to go when all the big kids are hanging out.

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#20 of 53 Old 02-28-2007, 01:27 PM
 
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I too have noticed this


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#21 of 53 Old 02-28-2007, 04:23 PM
 
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I'm sure I'll see the other side of this in a few years, but right now I am really grateful for age-segregated play areas for my 22-month-old.

Our children's museum has a room for kids aged 0-4. When older kids come in and play there, or even if there's a critical mass of 4-year-olds, my daughter gets intimidated and clings to me. I see other toddlers in the same fix. It's not even necessarily a matter of the older kids being rough (although I have definitely seen a lot of that). She gets intimidated by big kids running close to her (even if they don't touch her), or climbing around her on a climbing structure ladder, or using loud play voices. They aren't doing anything wrong, so it's not even a matter of "enforcing appropriate behavior." Their size and energy just inhibits a lot of toddlers.

I hear what people are saying about older kids feeling left out, but I also feel like in *every other part* of the children's museum or science museum I'm grabbing my child out from underfoot of running big kids, finding another activity for her when a big group of big kids descend on the activity she was doing, and just generally making way for older children. Can't we have *one room* in the museum where she doesn't have to give way to big kids?

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#22 of 53 Old 02-28-2007, 04:58 PM
 
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I think it's just crazy to divide people by age.

Becasue of sibling situations and because of developmental differences one 5 yo may not walk up stairs very fast and would do better in a smaller area with slowers paced children.

Hopefully it wouldn't actually be an issue if you were there and the big kids weren't getting too wild around little one's. I know that happens and it doesn't make them bad kids...just bigger. That's what people have to watch out for.
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#23 of 53 Old 03-01-2007, 12:45 AM
 
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While I may not like it I certainly understand it. There have to be limits at some point for safety and the well-being of the kids and the setting/equipment.
The put an age because many parents/caregivers don't have common sense and need a black and white rule to follow (even though many ignore them). They can't have a rule saying "kids who are able to play nicely with toddlers are allowed" I say this in jest but I hope you get my meaning. There are times when the place is empty and you allow your older kids to play with a sibling-no big deal. But for the general use I can see a need for bounderies.
As far as older kids feelings being hurt, that's part of life. Life's not "fair." They learn to deal with it and move on. As parents we need to explain the need for rules and help them understand them.

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#24 of 53 Old 03-01-2007, 05:03 AM
 
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'nother fan of having a space for the really little ones, separate from the "school age" kids. Littler ones fall more, wobble more, get shoved out of the way more, need their caregiver's more, there is a difference that is age specific, unless we get into disabled older kids. I took Emma to the toddler zones at various places when we spent a winter in an apartement, and I frequently complained when older kids took it over, because it ruined the experience for the littler ones who just aren't capable of exploring and toddling around with older louder faster bigger kids swarming a smaller enclosed area. And I also agree that the bigger kids aren't doing anything wrong, it's just that there's a definite benefit to having separate spaces created specifically to be safe for, and geared towards todlers and preschoolers.
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#25 of 53 Old 03-01-2007, 08:46 AM
 
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'nother fan of having a space for the really little ones, separate from the "school age" kids. Littler ones fall more, wobble more, get shoved out of the way more, need their caregiver's more, there is a difference that is age specific, unless we get into disabled older kids. I took Emma to the toddler zones at various places when we spent a winter in an apartement, and I frequently complained when older kids took it over, because it ruined the experience for the littler ones who just aren't capable of exploring and toddling around with older louder faster bigger kids swarming a smaller enclosed area. And I also agree that the bigger kids aren't doing anything wrong, it's just that there's a definite benefit to having separate spaces created specifically to be safe for, and geared towards todlers and preschoolers.
I'm with you -- except IMO, it's nuts not to make an exception for siblings.
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#26 of 53 Old 03-01-2007, 10:03 AM
 
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I do understand wanting a safe place for little ones, but it sucks that the rules have to be hard and fast (because some people lack sense and don't supervise their kids). I do let my ds into the 3 and under section when it isn't crowded but I talk about being careful of the babies, stay close, and am prepared to remove him. He gets overwhelmed in big rowdy groups of older kids, too, but at least he is at less risk for being trampled.

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#27 of 53 Old 03-01-2007, 10:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by AnnR33 View Post
As far as older kids feelings being hurt, that's part of life. Life's not "fair." They learn to deal with it and move on. As parents we need to explain the need for rules and help them understand them.
Which is difficult when the rules don't make sense and the child is not developmentally able to understand the age difference. Maybe school kids are used to being segregated by age, but a homeschooled 5 yo is just as likely to play with a 3 yo as a 7 yo. Kids understand that they belong with their friends and that kids that are similar sizes are somehow equal. There are 3 yos bigger than my 5 yos and 7 yos smaller than him. In another year or two, I think he will be able to understand.

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#28 of 53 Old 03-01-2007, 11:00 AM
 
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That is just awful. I have not seen this yet but probably will. Gosh, when I take my 2 year old out, my 5 years old son and 8 year old niece are the ones she wants to play with her on the playground. She pushes me away - she wants them!
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#29 of 53 Old 03-01-2007, 11:07 AM
 
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I can see it both ways. I do think though siblings should be allowed in younger play areas though, but I have seen older kids go in and the parents haven't watched and the older ones are really boisterous which is not fun for the little ones.

My dh took ds to a toddler messy play for under 3's and dd was so upset she couldn't go, so dh took her and they let her join in (didn't even ask for payment).

It just seems we do live in an age segregated society and it sucks!

I shouldn't really be taking my ds to a toddler group any more because he is now over 2.5 and should be left in the preschool section whilst I go home and put my feet up!!! OTOH we go to sing and music class for ds and the teacher always lets me bring my dd with me if dh is working, she lets her join in.

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#30 of 53 Old 03-01-2007, 11:45 AM
 
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happens here - except it is for under 6. In fact there is a lot of funding for programs for the under 6 crowd, but little for anyone over that age, because, drum roll please....they are supposed to have access to that kind of stuff at school:

Well not all children go to school, and not all schools are that great....

To be honest many time my older children are allowed into the "under 6 stuff" - but it is always made known that "they are making an exception because the centre is quiet, ect". It gets old, you do not feel welcome, and eventually you go less and your youngest child misses out...

Of course it does go the other way on occassion - there was a medieval workshop being offered, parents had to stay, no little ones allowed (due to semi-understandable safety reasons). We could not go-my older ones missed out.
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