We're back to that wonderful time of year when my neighbor's daughter comes to visit, sends her two older kids over to my house, and sits around visiting with her mom and baby while I take care of 5 kids (apparently I have a "free drop-in childcare" sign hanging someplace-- I'd take it down if I could find it.)
Anyhow, today my younger dd (age 4) came up to me a couple times complaining that the neighbor's grandaughter (let's call her Jane) and my older dd were calling her a baby (they are both 6). I figured that since I hadn't heard it, I wouldn't get involved, beyond suggesting that she not play with them. Then I followed her out onto our deck and down the stairs. The older girls were playing under the deck. Younger dd said "hi". Older dd said "hi". Jane said "Hi you big fat baby" in about as nasty a tone as a 6 year old can manage. It was mean and completely unprovoked (and younger dd isn't a pesty kid-- she tends to go off on her own, not tag along with bigger kids).
I told both girls that they may not call younger dd names in her yard, and I sent Jane home (to her Grandma's) and older dd inside for a timeout. Older dd got a timeout because it was not the first time younger dd had been teased, and older dd was going along with it. After 5 minutes I let her go back over and ask if Jane could play, but if it happens again (not just today but for the rest of the summer), they're done for the day.
Was I too harsh? Too lenient? Should I have talked to her mom about it?
I feel strongly that my kids have a right to play in their yard without being teased. If this happened at the park I would have handled it differently.
Any tips for dealing with the childcare issue? My girls are ok playing in my yard unsupervised, but I feel that these kids need supervision in my yard. Clearly their mom doesn't think so, but there have been issues in the past that make me pretty sure I'm right.
As I see it, my options when they are visiting are to drop everything and spend my time chasing my toddler around the yard, or to keep my kids inside. Is there any nice way to ask my neighbor take a turn watching the kids?
Thanks for any input!