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#1 of 22 Old 04-18-2012, 06:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What exactly is the proper protocol to explain to my four and five year old why the next door neighbor lady won't let our kids play with her kids?

 

So the thing is that our backyards are touching and the houses are really close together. She runs a daycare out of her house. We've never formally met her. We moved into this house about a month ago, almost two. In that time we've seen a lot of people in and out of the house and didn't go over to introduce ourselves because I wasn't sure who was the actual owner. There were always parents dropping their kids off there. By the time I figured out who was the probable parent, we just sort of never really got around to saying hello - she'd been around plenty and never said hi to us either, so it was just a bit awkward around.

 

Anyway, she's usually inside and since she runs a daycare, there's always lots of kids in the yard. They have this big trampoline that kids are always jumping on.  It seems to be the spot for all the neighborhood kids. During the afternoons they're usually the older kids, but in the day time it's the preschool set.  I guess she's usually inside watching from the window because I never see her out with them. 

 

Yesterday we were going to take a walk down to the park and the kids went out ahead of me to the backyard while I put on my shoes. When I got outside I saw that they were standing at the edge of the neighbors yard, talking to the other kids. They were all, "hi, I'm four, my name is XYZ and I like gummi bears" types of conversations. All the kids were their age, four and five and one two year old. The other kids were friendly and asked if they could go play, and mine really wanted to. But I said, "hey, I don't know the mom here, why don't we ask her if the kids can go play." So one of the kids ran inside to ask her. I thought that maybe she'd come outside, see who we were, and at least say hello. But then the boy came out and said that she said "no, sorry." So, that was pretty much that and we left.

 

All the kids were disappointed and my two kept asking why they couldn't play. Now, on one hand I get that if you're running a daycare, it can be against the rules if you have more kids than the state limit, or the parents might get annoyed if stranger kids are playing with theirs. And I know there's a million reasons why the lady might not have been able to come outside right then. She could have been cooking, or tending to a younger baby, or whatever. But in my social paranoia I kind of feel awkward now and don't really know if she just looked out the window, saw it was us, and just said no for some reason.  

 

I *think* I should go over there and ring her doorbell and introduce ourselves. The kids are always outside but I rarely see her, so it's not really just a matter of waiting until I see her. I just, I dunno. I would have said hello to her if I knew she was the parent and not just one of the other parents dropping kids off.  I met a couple of the other neighbors - but she never really said hello either. Our houses are practically touching so it's not like she didn't notice we had moved in.  Maybe it's typical here to have the new people intro themselves, but if I saw a new neighbor move in I'd try to be the one to say hi first and welcome them to the neighborhood or whatever, especially if they have kids of a similar age. That doesn't really seem to be the case here. Except for one family who came over with some bread they baked, I've had to initiate the conversations with all the other parents on our block (even though they all seem to know one another really well).

 

So, I'm kind of at a loss. The kids keep asking why they can't play with the other kids next door. And it's always a huge gaggle of kids, so it really does seem like there are all sorts of playmates for them there. (They are homeschooled and we don't really have any friends here yet.) But I don't know how to go over to the neighbor and introduce ourselves after we were basically sent away the other day. I'm not exactly good with social things and it's seems like it would be really awkward. =/ And if she even then says that the kids can't play with hers due to regs or whatever, how do you explain to a four and five year old that they can't play with the other kids next door where ALL the kids in the neighborhood congregate? We are home almost all of the time due to my husband's disability so we can't do play groups or anything like that. I figured that since there are SO many kids in the neighborhood they would have no trouble making friends... I know that at four and five "friends" are transient, but it still disappoints them that they can't play and I want to explain it to them better than "state laws and daycare regs."

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#2 of 22 Old 04-18-2012, 06:42 AM
 
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I would go over there, introduce yourself on a non-daycare day and ask if the kids can come over one day for a play date. Easiest way to break the ice.
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#3 of 22 Old 04-18-2012, 08:10 AM
 
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Well, she definitely can't have non daycare kids in her yard during daycare.  If she has your kids over there, and the state shows up, they will  count your kids in her numbers, then they will want all the paperwork on your kids....since she has no paperwork on your kids, she will be written up for several offenses at one time.  (among all the other silly things to write us up for)

 

Plus, all daycare providers have seen this.  (not that all parents would do it)  Parents want a few hours of having their kids out of the way, while still being watched.  The kids start out visiting for a few minutes, but within a few weeks, the provider is responsible for these kids, AND feeding them handfuls of snack and drinks all day.  Then, those same kids are at our house 7 hours a day on the weekends.   Honestly, by the weekend, we want a kid-free day.  Or we want to spend the weekend with our own kids.  Or we want two days out of the week that we don't have to clean up the daycare toys.  

 

I think you should introduce yourself.  Offer to have her kids to your house to play.  If your kids are all the same age, then this could be a lifetime friendship for the kids.  Who doesn't remember playing with the neighbor kids til late at night???   

 

In our neighborhood (we have 7 ft block walls around our yards) the kids play at night in the street.  The parents sit out front talking while the kids play.  They go home dirty, happy and sweaty...they will be friends forever.  They even go on vacations together.

 

But, I am the local daycare provider, so I don't usually go out there.  My kids are grown, and I really don't want to hang out with kids on my time off.  So, I enjoy my quiet house most nights, and about once a week, I take a glass of wine and go sit with my neighbors to talk and watch the kids. 

 

WHen my daughter was younger, I had her friends over all the time after daycare hours.  All weekend, all evening, we had the same group of neighbors over to play.....but, I HATED having some of them inside, because they would trash the daycare room.  SO, I preferred to sit out front and watch them there.  

 

Not ONE. SINGLE. PARENT ever, ever offered to watch them play outside.  They stayed inside watching tv, while I watched their kids for free outside. 

 

So, your neighbor might be leery of being in charge of the neighbor kids for free, and not very willing to make new friends because she so desperately wants some free time of her own.

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#4 of 22 Old 04-18-2012, 08:33 AM
 
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It does seem to me that if she runs a daycare, it's not appropriate for her to let the daycare kids go over to your house to play, nor is it appropriate for your kids to join the day care group because of numbers and/or cost.  I get that your kids think the other kids look fun, and the trampoline seems fun, but they're really not "free" to play with.  It's a business. 

 

I would still go over and introduce yourself, though (without the kids).  And see if she has any children of her own that your kids might want to play with.  

 

 

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#5 of 22 Old 04-18-2012, 08:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah.. I don't know if she has any kids ours' age.  I can't really tell who is who.  I know for a fact that a two year old is hers, and I think several high school aged kids, but neither of those are really age appropriate to play with.  I always see so many kids at her house (dozens, really) that I can't tell who lives there.  So I think I'll go over there sometime to say hello, but I still don't know how to approach it because I don't even know if she has kids ours' age.

 

And I definitely don't want anyone watching the kids for free.  If I want that I'll go to the Y where they really do watch them for free for two hours a day.  It's mostly just that when we're already outside in the yard, and then she sends her (daycare) kids outside, I always feel like we have to go inside because the kids will be clamoring to go play and they don't understand that it's a daycare.  When they went to preschool briefly it was, like, a separate building, fence, playground, etc. - not just some lady's house.  And they don't really get why I'm stopping them from playing and I get stressed trying to teach them the boundaries of where our property line ends and where theirs starts.  There are no fences or anything so they always wander that way, and I'm always playing sheepdog.  :)

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#6 of 22 Old 04-18-2012, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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FWIW there are also kids who wander in and around our own yard during the afternoons, and there is a big common area behind all our houses (like a field) and a playground nearby.  And the older kids just kind of wander around the place.  I don't know who she is actually in charge of and who just kind of ends up in our end of the neighborhood.  It's all kind of confusing to me.

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#7 of 22 Old 04-18-2012, 09:01 AM
 
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If there really are dozens...as in 20+ kids in the yard, and they really are unattended, you might want to call licensing just to have it checked out.  

 

I try to mind my own business in the neighborhood, and I also assume the parents have the responsibility to know how many kids are there, and what they are doing during the day.  But, some parents don't know...or they think they do, but it's not what they thought it was.  So, if there's an actual dangerous situation, or the provider is operating illegally, then someone should make a phone call.

 

If those kids are interrupting the peace and quiet of the neighborhood (as I assume 24 kids would be very loud) then that should be handled too...it's not fair for one neighbor to disrupt everybody else just to make some extra money.  

 

It does sound like these kids understand the boundaries and stay in the yard they belong in which tells me she must be watching....but, you can't see her.

 

But, there is NO way I'd have a trampoline with daycare kids.  That's a lawsuit waiting to happen.

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#8 of 22 Old 04-18-2012, 10:18 AM
 
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This is from someone on another board.  I don't know the location, or your location... every state has different rules.

 

 

 

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Here, we  have a notorized State form for all "no pay" kids who may be here during opening hours. It requires a parents social securty number.... PLUS, I can only have 12 kids on the property, including my own.  

 

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#9 of 22 Old 04-18-2012, 10:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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They're not all there at the same time.  There's a daycare crowd of little kids, then there's school age ones, then there's high school aged kids.  I haven't seen 20 kids in the yard all at once but added up I'm sure there's that number.  I highly doubt she's in a formal daycare provider relationship with all of them, however, especially the oldest ones.  I dunno.

 

The trampoline does sort of bother me but I don't see it as my business really.  They set it up a few weeks ago and all the kids adore it.  The younger ones are often outside but I've never seen her with them.  I assume she's watching from the window as it's right by their kitchen I'm guessing.  (It's right outside our kitchen too so I can see it when I'm cooking or on our patio.)  Once or twice I've seen one of the little kids bump their heads and cry - they have a net around it but there's always a bunch of them on there at once, so sometimes they bump into each other.  The kids were crying for a while before one of them ran inside to get help.  I'm not sure whether she saw it from inside and decided it was a minor thing or, I dunno.  I didn't really want to get involved.  The other kids were comforting their friend and if it had been anything serious I would have been over there in a heartbeat to help.  Again, I don't know.

 

As far as the kids making noise, they're all reasonably well behaved.  They do make some noise but I'm actually relieved because that means my kids don't stand out when they're playing outside.  ;)  And it doesn't really carry much, there's a big field in the back and most of the neighbors have kids as well so I guess it doesn't bother anyone.  The kids are usually still out jumping around when mine are already in bed, and DD's bedroom overlooks the trampoline so sometimes she tells me she can hear them, but meh.  She goes to bed early anyway, so I wouldn't expect there to be silence anyway.

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#10 of 22 Old 04-18-2012, 10:37 AM
 
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None of the kids count in the numbers after age 12.  

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#11 of 22 Old 04-18-2012, 12:31 PM
 
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I can imagine this is a stressful situation. My dd would be whining all day every day in such a situation. I don't know if you can afford it. But, if your kids are getting desperate, (most kids would want to play with other kids their age that seem to be having a lot of fun) maybe you could see if they could go over for a couple of hours for a fee.


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#12 of 22 Old 04-18-2012, 12:57 PM
 
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I personally think that you should break the ice with a home made baked good and a small little pop in hello. Introduce yourself and say something about how it looks like there are a lot of fun times in her yard. Suggest that you two get your kids together sometime and leave it at that. From that small generous gesture you will get an idea of how friendly she is and go from there.


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#13 of 22 Old 04-19-2012, 07:11 AM
 
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On the next weekend day, I would go over there with a plate of cookies and a card with your name and phone number on it and say hello.  She may not have kids your age and it is her business, so I can't imagine she would let your children come in and play for free.  Respectfully, I would have been a little miffed if you asked one of the kids to ask me about this rather than knocking on the door and asking yourself.  I think that the impetus is on the existing neighbors to be friendly and go say hello to new neighbors.  I have always appreciated it when people have welcomed us into a new neighborhood this way.  I can't imagine someone moving in next door and not stopping in to say hello and exchange phone numbers at least.  I'm not trying to make you feel bad, but it's just common courtesy which seems to be lost these days.  I freely admit I am biased because we moved into a rather unfriendly neighborhood a few years ago, so stuff like this has become kind of important to me.  

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#14 of 22 Old 04-19-2012, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I didn't exactly "send" the little kid in.  I said "we should ask first" and one little kid said "OK, I'll go ask" and took off running.  I didn't stop him, but I didn't send him in, either.  I could have gone in with him, I suppose, but I would have had to get my kids, and by the time I did that, he was gone.  I honestly figured she would probably come out, and when she didn't, I figured she was busy.

 

Also, I didn't mean to imply that my kids would just go over there and start hanging out with hers for free while I went to go read a book.  My kids just wanted to say hi and play for a few minutes in their yard, like the other kids were inviting them to do.  I wasn't going to leave, even if they were allowed to stay.  I don't let them out on their own yet even into our yard, much less our neighbors' yard.  And I don't want to sound mean but I'm not sure of the supervision this lady is doing to her daycare charges, I'm sure she's got it under control but even if she was a super hawk watching every move from indoors I wouldn't let some stranger watch my kids.  Call me over protective but whatever, I feel best when I can see them.

 

FWIW I didn't think it was appropriate  for them to play there SINCE it was a daycare situation, but I didn't want to say no outright, so that's why I said that we needed to ask first.  I wanted to teach my kids good manners (that we can't just barge in to someone's yard without asking the owner) and I was also hoping the lady would come out and I could say hello to her at least and have a formal introduction to her.  When the kid ran in and came back with no, I figured she was busy and we left.  I figured if she wanted to say hi - and see who was talking to her daycare charges - she would have come out with the boy.  She either must have been really busy or been watching through a window.  I can't imagine any daycare provider knowing there's some stranger or other near her charges and not come and see who it is.  (Especially if they don't have a fenced in yard AND her two year old is among them AND all the kids are five and younger.  It may be a safe neighborhood but still.)  So, assuming she's busy, like maybe trying to rock a baby to sleep, I figured she wouldn't appreciate me ringing the doorbell and making her get up from what she was doing?  I dunno, that was my logic.  I figured if it was possibly nap time I didn't want to interrupt, and it was roughly that time of day...  Shrug.

 

I feel funny about going over there, now.  It seems a little pushy or maybe even desperate.  But I suppose I should.

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#15 of 22 Old 04-19-2012, 02:39 PM
 
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Idk, I've always thought it is up to the people moving in to go around and say hi if they want to.  Altho existing neighbours should be nice too, of course.  Since I always intend to bake stuff but never do, I probably would go over and ask if they needed some craft supplies or hand me down books/toys for the day care.  it sounds like you're doing a lot of imagining without a lot of knowing, which for me usually starts a whole bunch of misunderstandings. 

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#16 of 22 Old 04-20-2012, 07:02 AM
 
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Idk, I've always thought it is up to the people moving in to go around and say hi if they want to.  Altho existing neighbours should be nice too, of course.  Since I always intend to bake stuff but never do, I probably would go over and ask if they needed some craft supplies or hand me down books/toys for the day care.  it sounds like you're doing a lot of imagining without a lot of knowing, which for me usually starts a whole bunch of misunderstandings. 

 

This is exactly me.  Intend to bake, but don't, so I would just go over when you think it's a down time for her.  I think you are making it way too complicated.  It's just a 'Hello, I'm so-n-so.  I just wanted to come and introduce myself'.  You have imagined up all kinds of stuff that is hindering you from being simple about it.  I think it's unfortunate that you just moved there and you already seem offended by your neighbor who hasn't done anything.  Okay... so she wasn't June Cleaver when you moved in, but maybe she feels awkward coming to meet you, maybe she's so busy all the time, and time flies. Sometimes I have good intentions to do something for someone and then time flies and I don't do it.  Then I feel weird doing it, like now it's too late, so I just forget about it. Sorry if I am too blunt.  I am not trying to hurt your feelings.  Bottom line: If you want to meet her, go do it and stop thinking up scenarios.

 


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#17 of 22 Old 04-20-2012, 01:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Offended?  I'm not at all offended by her actions, I'm trying to figure them out...

 

FWIW I have high functioning Asperger's and I over-analyze absolutely every element of socializing.  Meeting new people is very stressful for me.  It doesn't come naturally.  It can take days or longer for me to get the nerve up to approach someone in this type of situation.  For some reason, if they're approaching me it's fine, or if it's a socially neutral location (like talking to someone on a playground where our kids are playing together) I'm fine with that.  But approaching someone on their territory is hard for me, I get nervous, I stammer, my eye contact goes out the window, etc.  It's like getting up the nerve for a public speech just to say hi.  It's a big deal for me and I have to get up the nerve to do it.  But I know, I know.  I just have to, I guess.

 

So, thanks for the input, ya'll.  I'll try to brave the conversation and try not to be *too* awkward about it.  ;)

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#18 of 22 Old 04-20-2012, 02:43 PM
 
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Offended?  I'm not at all offended by her actions, I'm trying to figure them out...

 

FWIW I have high functioning Asperger's and I over-analyze absolutely every element of socializing.  Meeting new people is very stressful for me.  It doesn't come naturally.  It can take days or longer for me to get the nerve up to approach someone in this type of situation.  For some reason, if they're approaching me it's fine, or if it's a socially neutral location (like talking to someone on a playground where our kids are playing together) I'm fine with that.  But approaching someone on their territory is hard for me, I get nervous, I stammer, my eye contact goes out the window, etc.  It's like getting up the nerve for a public speech just to say hi.  It's a big deal for me and I have to get up the nerve to do it.  But I know, I know.  I just have to, I guess.

 

So, thanks for the input, ya'll.  I'll try to brave the conversation and try not to be *too* awkward about it.  ;)

 

But, don't worry if it doesn't go that well.  If she doesn't have kids your kid's ages, then other than being neighbors, don't let it stress you out.  We have that kind of neighborhood where everybody goes out front and sits together til very late at night.... it's great sometimes, but sometimes I just don't want to, but I feel like I should.  

 

So, just tell yourself  "It is what it is", and don't worry about being friends with them.   Go on a search for friends though!  The park, or that field behind your house.  Join some groups, or swim lessons.... somewhere that has kid the same age as yours.  

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#19 of 22 Old 04-20-2012, 09:11 PM
 
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Wow that sounds hard.  Now I understand.  If going to say hello to her is that hard and stressful, why put yourself through it?  Maybe just wait for an opportunity  when you see her out in the yard.  Hopefully your kids won't  bug you continually about the trampoline.
 


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#20 of 22 Old 04-23-2012, 04:19 PM
 
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I am very uncomfortable socially, but sometimes I just have to force myself to do things, for my child's benefit.  I am an introvert, I hate talking to people on the phone, I am socially awkward, but still I do things like call for playdates and schedule events, because my DD is an extrovert and needs people.  

 

It has helped me with new neighbors to have something like a plate of cookies and my name and phone number on a piece of paper to hand to them.  I just give it to them, say a few words, and say something like 'I don't want to disturb you for too long..."  Good luck!  

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#21 of 22 Old 04-23-2012, 04:29 PM
 
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I feel somewhat mystified by people too, and tend to over analyze.  My point was that you can't make assumptions about the neighbours behaviour because you don't have enough info.  You don't know what she was asked - she could have gotten anything from "Can xxx come play with us?"  To "the neighbours are out side"  From the kid.  She may have been busy, may have been avoiding you, may have not even known if you were there.  Because you don't know, you might as well assume the best, that she had no idea you were there and was just busy, and that she assumes you will come say something if you want to get to know your neighbours.  From what you've described, if sounds like you're still at square 1 on the getting to know you chart to me.

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#22 of 22 Old 06-07-2012, 02:48 PM
 
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I think you should go over there, and say, "my kids are home schooled. Do you think you could introduce me to some of the other kids mothers, to see if we could make playdates."

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