Can't stand that all the neighborhood kids want to play at my house! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 42 Old 04-16-2014, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I WANT to be ok with it, because I like to think of myself as a warm, welcoming, and generous person. Plus, I know where my kids (7 & 9) are and what they are doing. Instead, I feel annoyed and frustrated and sometimes anxiety. I don't want to supply snacks or meals to extra kids and I don't want to have to play bad cop when I say enough is enough. In general, the kids generally play nicely, but there are always questions and requests and I find myself wishing I had the house to myself. I know if I were to send the kids away, my own would complain of being bored. I just want to get over it, but I don't. Am I crazy?
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#2 of 42 Old 04-16-2014, 01:16 PM
 
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I get what you are saying... Do you talk to the other parents? Maybe someone could offer their yard even just a day a week? Or better yet maybe some of the parents could take turns or chip in or cripe send over some snacks for the kids. I get how that would get old fast!
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#3 of 42 Old 04-16-2014, 01:38 PM
 
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Being the meet-up house does have its good points, especially as the kids get older, but I can sympathize with not wanting extra kids over every day.

For the snacks thing, I sometimes pass out snacks if I made cookies or have a bunch of fruit that needs to get eaten or something, but usually I send hungry kids home and tell them to come back after they've eaten. Or, if it's lunchtime and my kids are hungry, I'll send kids home and tell them they can come back in an hour after my kids eat. They've never seemed to have a problem with it. Kids do pretty well with bluntness, IME.

And I value family time, so sometimes if kids come knocking I just tell them we're having family time and to come back in a few hours, or tomorrow, or whatever works for us. I didn't want to get in the habit of always being out or making up excuses for why we couldn't play, so I just tell the truth -- sorry, it's family time, come back later! smile.gif

ETA: I don't do this, but I've heard of some families who out out a visual symbol (like a flag or something on the door) when they're available to play to cut down on the constant visits.
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#4 of 42 Old 04-16-2014, 01:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks! I appreciate hearing both of your thoughts!
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#5 of 42 Old 04-16-2014, 01:57 PM
 
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I hope to be the go-to house when my kids are old enough for the reasons you describe, but we're not at the stage of having lots of kids all the time either....I may eat those words. 

 

Some thoughts on the snack thing: the only thing my mother provided was popcorn (unless there was a plethora of something that was going to go bad).  She bought it in bulk, used the air popper, and only put salt on it.  Cheap and it generally kept everyone happy (although she'd complain about popcorn being everywhere).


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#6 of 42 Old 04-16-2014, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That's funny! I do popcorn pretty often too!
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#7 of 42 Old 04-16-2014, 02:18 PM
 
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Could you limit it to 2-3 days a week, days of your choice, for eg. leave a sign on the door- 'You are welcome on Tuesdays and Thursdays'.... then the other days are yours only so to speak.  I have designated playdate days, and i find it easier to organize.

 

If they want to come in on other days, say, "You can come back on Thursday, today isnt good for us..."....

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#8 of 42 Old 04-16-2014, 03:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I like the idea of setting some parameters. Even if I simply go as far as sharing them with my kids, so that they can share them with the kids when questions about going inside or having snacks go down.
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#9 of 42 Old 04-16-2014, 04:17 PM
 
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I wouldn't give them snacks or meals.


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#10 of 42 Old 04-16-2014, 04:55 PM
 
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We homeschool, and it always seems as though there are children in our yard, whether they're for us or for the next-door neighbors (older kids and a basketball hoop).

 

Friends of mine have suggested feeding hungry children, because you don't know if they're getting enough to eat at home (the friends who suggested this were in this position as children). I would disagree, especially in this day and age where you never know if someone has a food allergy. My child never takes food for this reason, unless I've okayed it beforehand.

 

Do you know the parents of these kids? IMO, I'm a little more understanding when it comes to children whose families I know fairly well vs. "strays". You do have a bit more control over the environment of your children when it's at your house, but it gets complicated when you aren't familiar with the parents (in terms of communication and liability, for example).

 

A sign for your door or window may be helpful - I have seen similar things on Pinterest.


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#11 of 42 Old 04-17-2014, 12:38 AM
 
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Caledwvlch, I hope none of the kids know you call them them "strays." It's not their fault their parents aren't around. That doesn't mean you have to keep them around, but maybe don't use a term usually reserved for dogs to describe them. Just a thought.
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#12 of 42 Old 04-17-2014, 07:04 AM
 
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I'm sorry that the tongue-in-cheek didn't convey well in the post. I honestly don't know a fair chunk of these children, whether or not they're playing at the neighbors' or in our yard/the space between them. I don't see parents and I don't see the children around the neighborhood otherwise. I have a fairly young child - IMO it is unsafe and irresponsible on the parents' part to let the children wander. Not the fault of the children, but it puts me in a very sticky situation should the children demand snacks (which has happened), cause trouble (which has happened), or have some sort of accident (which has happened, and my child was the only one hurt - and mildly, thankfully). No one is taking responsibility for these children, and that is where I get a bit anxious - even if they're just playing outside. Not sure if that is the OP's situation as well, or if these are familiar children for her.

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#13 of 42 Old 04-17-2014, 08:04 AM
 
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Yes, i find the term 'strays' demeaning. (as well as the term 'chunk of them') Admittedly, it makes it harder to manage proper interactions with them because their 'big person' isnt there to talk to you, but that doesnt mean these children deserved to be demeaned, compared to dogs, or considered inferior. I see from you above post that there are additional difficulties because their parents are invisible for some reason, but that still isnt a reason to be so dismissive of these kids.

 

I was thinking about a kid this morning, that we would often see in our building. He is very generous, and friendly. A kind soul. But i still have no clue what his parents look like, whether he has brothers or sisters, what apartment  he lives in, and so on. He came to our place for  playdate once which went well, until he invited another friend of his, and that other kid stole my sons  money. Creepy. But the original kid, i have no hard feelings for him. Still, i wonder where the hell his mother is....

 

Also, i think not feeding kids snacks isnt an option if they are playing with your kids, and they come in when they are supposedly welcome. How can you give your own children snacks and not  share them with their friends? Thats plain bad manners. On the other hand,  if its made clear that there is no playdate in the home except on certain days, then just tell them so.  On the right days, be a good host/ess, on the other days, you arent hosting, they have to go home.

 

Also, if they are older, you can always ask about food issues. My son when 4 (now 6) was quite capable of saying he couldnt have gluten.

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#14 of 42 Old 04-17-2014, 09:04 AM
 
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Yes, i find the term 'strays' demeaning. (as well as the term 'chunk of them')

I find your use of "big person" and "creepy" demeaning. Oh wait, not really, because I know perfectly well what you meant by it.

As far as the snack thing goes, I guess it depends on your neighborhood culture. In my neighborhood, visits to each other's houses are very fluid and all the moms know each other well. We all are equally likely to pass out snacks to everyone or send everyone home for lunch and tell them to come back in an hour. So far no one has thought to find that rude or inhospitable -- it's fine depending on the flow of the day and what everyone has going on.
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#15 of 42 Old 04-17-2014, 10:57 AM
 
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Oh gosh. I didn't mean that you had to give them food or let them play at your house. Just the word bothered me. But it's actually none of my business what word you use here as long as you aren't using it in real life so it could get around to the kids, and I probably over-reacted by posting something instead of keeping to myself. As I wrote in my post, I know that if certain kids are causing your family trouble, you need to protect your family from that trouble, and I don't think you're obligated let these kids be at your house.

I just thought the kids might be hurt if that word was repeated around them. I've seen something similar happen before. I hope you're treating them with dignity as you tell them it's not a good time to play (or whatever strategy you use). I'm sure you are.

As a social worker, I have learned that certain words can really shape reality for powerless people. The words help dictate the terms of their lives. Food for thought.

But good luck with your problem and I hope a solution jumps out at you.
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#16 of 42 Old 04-17-2014, 11:08 AM
 
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HA!  I so get this…  Our house is one that the kids all play at a lot.  Some days its easy and some days not so much…  I love to listen in on conversations and to do a bit of coaching when things get heated.  I am straight up with them when they ask for snacks - just yesterday my 8 year old was skipping in to get "waters" for the five kids in the driveway, I looked at them all and said, "Wait a minute - you all like a few doors down, go get a water bottle and bring it over if your thirsty!"  I try and stay cheerful and firm, otherwise I have 5 "water glasses" to deal with and, well, you know…  I am also ok with say, "you know, we have a lot of kids over right now, we are full" and turning kids away if they show up at the door.  It's way easier when they are all outside, I get way more uptight when there is a pack inside…  and this is when I have to say, "sorry guys, this is too much stimulation for me, our family needs a little downtime, see you later."

 

But I am glad that they all want to come here :)  And I hope they continue to...

 

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#17 of 42 Old 04-17-2014, 11:10 AM
 
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Sometimes we put up a sign "kids can't play right now" because the doorbell ringing is such a crazy distraction from my two if they are supposed to be doing family work/homework :)


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#18 of 42 Old 04-17-2014, 03:34 PM
 
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I don't feex neighbor kids because they have a home close by. Most of dd's friends don't love on our neighorhood though and we tend to be the go to place for dd's friends because they like not being bothered by siblings and it does suck sometimes. I love fostering the long-term friendships but one two of her friends come from families where the kids rarely get carbs or treats and they don't know how to self regulate so it is very frustrating to have to choose to either go against my values and regulate another person's food or sit by and watch our stash for the next two weeks be devoured in one sitting. I know the easy answer is to just say no but my dd and I regulate ourselves so it isn't that easy to switch to helicopter mode.
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#19 of 42 Old 04-17-2014, 07:35 PM
 
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I honestly loved being the house that kids came to. You can keep an eye and ear out for what's normal in their peer group or interject if they get stupid or violent as a collective. I never minded some basic lemonade and popcorn feeding. But it does get old and sometimes you get adopted by kids that are not good influences on yours. I have had to go through a couple of times of putting out the "unwelcome mat" for disruptive kids.
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#20 of 42 Old 04-18-2014, 08:14 AM
 
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If you really don't want them to play at your house, then send them home.  Set rules, send them home when they're hungry or when they are disagreeable.  You have to decide what you want and what you can handle.  Eventually they may change their minds about coming over all the time.  

 

I loved being that house too, and miss it now that we've moved into a less kid-rich neighborhood.  My DD was the youngest of the bunch and I wanted to keep an eye on things anyway.  

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#21 of 42 Old 04-18-2014, 08:26 AM
 
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I find your use of "big person" and "creepy" demeaning. Oh wait, not really, because I know perfectly well what you meant by it.
 

Well, 'big person' probably applies to a younger age group, just  trying not to be presumptuous  about who specifically is taking care  of this child. Maybe its their babysitter or uncle. In the case of the kid at our building, i am not even sure he lives in our building. As for creepy-well, its not as demeaning as criminal, dishonest, the kid stole my sons money! I find  'creepy' accurate, not demeaning. It is creepy when a child comes over for a playdate with the specific intention of stealing.  How would you describe that? It appears he was coached by his older brother who took off with the money. Yep, creepy.   Maybe you have a  better term for it. Kind?  Respectful?

 

 

Im glad you know what i meant by  the terms i used. I meant what i said. But  the term strays is still demeaning.

 

I agree with the other posters that other kids can be enriching the lives of our own, and spontaneous playdates a positive thing as long as they dont override your life. 

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#22 of 42 Old 04-18-2014, 08:33 AM
 
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Sometimes we put up a sign "kids can't play right now" because the doorbell ringing is such a crazy distraction from my two if they are supposed to be doing family work/homework :)

Thats a great idea. The doorbell thing would drive me nuts.

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#23 of 42 Old 04-18-2014, 08:49 AM
 
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Im glad you know what i meant by  the terms i used. I meant what i said. But  the term strays is still demeaning. Lets not confuse everything.

It's demeaning in your opinion. When I push a stray hair off my face or water the stray calla lily that somehow bloomed by my back door, I'm certainly not demeaning them or comparing them to dogs. It just means separate from the group. In any case, initially I was willing to let the "strays" debate go, because although it didn't sound demeaning to me in context, I could sort of see how someone could take it that way. But when you brought "chunk of them" into it, it jumped into the absurd for me.
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#24 of 42 Old 04-18-2014, 10:10 AM
 
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There seems to be a bit of a hang up on what to call these hoodlums rather then help with the actual situation.
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#25 of 42 Old 04-18-2014, 10:28 AM
 
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Hoodlums? Oh, my... now you offended my sensibilities...

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#26 of 42 Old 04-18-2014, 01:13 PM
 
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There seems to be a bit of a hang up on what to call these hoodlums rather then help with the actual situation.


LOL!!!!

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#27 of 42 Old 04-19-2014, 07:54 AM
 
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It's demeaning in your opinion. When I push a stray hair off my face or water the stray calla lily that somehow bloomed by my back door, I'm certainly not demeaning them or comparing them to dogs. It just means separate from the group. In any case, initially I was willing to let the "strays" debate go, because although it didn't sound demeaning to me in context, I could sort of see how someone could take it that way. But when you brought "chunk of them" into it, it jumped into the absurd for me.

Whats absurd about pointing out that strays or chunk is demeaning?  Maybe you dont find it demeaning, i do. A superstar is separate from the group, but would call them a stray? A kid who chooses to  do their own thing and doesnt require as much parental supervision as your own, is not a stray  by any definition. So maybe you knew what the word meant, we all knew what it meant, but i think a better word could be used, that is all some of us were saying.

 

I find the middle class smugness towards kids  from families they dont understand even creepier than the kid who used a playdate to steal money.But that  smugness usually comes through in the kind of advice people like that give.

 

I found other advice on this thread pretty useful, so i disagree with the above post.

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#28 of 42 Old 04-19-2014, 02:32 PM
 
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I have had good luck saying "sorry, I'm not offering (or serving) snacks right now." Or (like the water bottle suggestion above) suggesting everyone dashes home and brings their snack or meal back over and they can enjoy the company and eat together but I haven't provided it for everyone.
We consider our home our refuge so if it is too loud, too disagreeable an atmosphere, etc we say so and send kids home if necessary. I also remind my own kids and the neighbor kids that every family has different rules but when we are at my house we use our family rules (so I am not opposed to correcting manners, language, etc.). Now that I type it perhaps it sounds strict (?!) but it seems to work for us. smile.gif
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#29 of 42 Old 04-21-2014, 08:02 AM
 
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I have had good luck saying "sorry, I'm not offering (or serving) snacks right now." Or (like the water bottle suggestion above) suggesting everyone dashes home and brings their snack or meal back over and they can enjoy the company and eat together but I haven't provided it for everyone.
We consider our home our refuge so if it is too loud, too disagreeable an atmosphere, etc we say so and send kids home if necessary. I also remind my own kids and the neighbor kids that every family has different rules but when we are at my house we use our family rules (so I am not opposed to correcting manners, language, etc.). Now that I type it perhaps it sounds strict (?!) but it seems to work for us. smile.gif

I like your approach. It is your home, and there are certain rules in your home. Its also a matter of modelling as your kids are learning from the others. If they have bad manners/swear/or whatever else, you have every right to correct them, so it seems to me.

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#30 of 42 Old 04-23-2014, 06:16 AM
 
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I do quite a lot of the "the rule at this house is........." especially around the trampoline. A couple of times kids have questioned it, but not that often.

 

I think like others I like the idea of being the place to play. I like to be able to keep an eye on what's going on.It;s also nice for DS to be able to join in. He's not yet of an age or ability where I'm ready to let him out to play unsupervised, though several of the kids who come round are younger than him.

 

I haven't met the parents of most of these children, though I have sent a couple back home with our number to let their adult know where they are. Kind of hoped I might get the same in return but not so far. It is a whole new realm, so far I've always know the parents of their friends.

 

My kids are pretty good at asking if people can come in, they also know that while I;m happy to have a pack of kids playing outdoors on a warm day, indoors is a different matter.The kids they bring over also seem to have picked up on this and generally ask if it's OK to stay.

 

I did have to have a chat with the group last year, they were all playing hide and seek. Fine in the garden, not fine in my airing cupboard!

 

Maybe we've been fortunate that they are mostly a good bunch and all seem OK with "it's time to go and play elsewhere"

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