Our first play date at home(with non waldorf child) back to the drawing board haha - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 18 Old 08-01-2008, 11:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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wow what a mess!

First question - when/if you invite non waldorf family over do you tell them ahead of time what to expect if they dont know you well?

I didnt
Not sure what they thought, they never questioned anything and i didnt bring it up because it just didnt come up.

The onyl thing I did say was that the nature table was off limits - as it has small items on it.

Waldorf toys and hardwood floors wow haha Our DD knows to be gentle with her toys, maybe because she is younger and hasnt really reached the throwing banging stage? I dunno she bangs and throws but has learned to be gentle.

We have wooden cars and trains, shells, lots of thick glass things like jars or milk bottles pots and pans out in the play kitchen

Friend was banging things together and throwing and mom seemed uncomfortable with the glass I ended up putting all the glass up (on a few items really)

but all the big wooden things like cars and also the pans and pots in hands of unstable little ones seemed like weapons around another child!

I guess im jsut overwhlemed. Ive always felt like wow how do people do this playdate thing? IS it any fun? you just end up having a house full of mess and you end up working double time and were's the fun? DD was way overstimulated and just played byherself most of the time while friend took toys and had a hard time with sharing. In my opinion sharing is way age innapropriat they havent even learned the concept of MINE yet let alone share and I am perfectly ok with them working it out for themselves but friend (who is a few months older than dd) got really upset when dd wanted to play and took toys away from her and cried when she tried to play etc. It just seems like ok the kids dont really play together and i had no time to talk or hang out cause iw as running around making sure no one got hurt haha

Maybe thats all normal and im just lazy and antisocial.....

Next time we are meeting up at a park or something

How do playdates work at your place? Is DD just too young for us to have friends over?
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#2 of 18 Old 08-02-2008, 01:11 AM
 
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I am sorry you had such hard time but it does get better.
I see your dd is only 1 year old I do not think they learn to play WITH another child for a good long while yet. I would meet in the park for the next few times which will let you get to know the other mom a bit better (as well as her dc) and when you are both a bit more at ease with each other the playdates will be more relaxed too.
I sometimes have my neighbours come with their dc for a cup of coffee and we have children 11mo, 17mo, 21mo and 4yo together and I do understand your concern about the hard wooden toys and sharing (or not) but because we all know each other quite well we can share the "lookout", coffee, spilage etc. duties and get a bit of the chat in as well. I also remove toys which I feel are inapropriate (marbles, small shells, smal lego, anything I do not want broken or toys which are important to my dc and I know sharing would be a problem) before anyone arrives.
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#3 of 18 Old 08-02-2008, 01:13 AM
 
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Your daughter sounds like a very calm child. Your lucky! Honestly my son who is also being raised as a Waldorf child probally would of acted similar to the child you had over. He is going through a phase where he likes to dump and throw. Its very typically. He is also very busy! Defiantly all boy. His wooden animals often get thrown and unfortuanlty they frequently get thrown at DH. Who has repeatedly said that wooden toys hurt much more when they hit you in the head then plastic toys.
Anyway my take on play dates at this age is that they are more for the parents then the kids. The kids just don't play together till they are a little older. We go on a lot of playdates regardless but I have to monitor my sons behavior very closly. Besides throwing and dumping, he is also going through a bitting phase. Honeslty though these are all normal parts of development.
I like your idea of going outside next time. THe easiest playdates are defiantly outside becuase there is just a ton more space and nothing breakable.

Fun loving crunchy mommy to an amazing outgoing adventurous boy named Logan Cloud 2/2/07 and our little ball of energy Jayden Edge 11/28/10 and our princess Sky Pearl (9/16/14)and wife to Jet 7/3/05
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#4 of 18 Old 08-02-2008, 09:47 AM
 
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All of the above. I'd get a good book on child development so you won't be caught by surprise. Little ones may like watching other children but interactive play doesn't start until later. One year olds play is parallel, at best. And a common form of interaction is taking toys away from each other.

Outdoors is good.

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#5 of 18 Old 08-02-2008, 01:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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yes i am very aware about what is developmentally appropriate. That is why i dont understand the concept of playdates at this point and I was wondering how waldorf toys work with this. Rocks, shells, big wooden toys etc are not really great for little ones who grab things away from each other forcefully and throw etc. Even if dd did do these things with her toys alone it wouldnt be that big of a deal. I mean it probably wouldnt hurt anyone but 2 doing it was hard. Also im sure the other parent wasnt thrilled at having to keep an eye on her child that closley. I have been to a playdate at a "regular" families home and there were around 6 kids there. They had a sunken living room gated off witha bunch of plastic toys and it was allc hild proffed and it was really no big deal, no mess, no one had to watch their child that closly. So i am sure that is what others expect when i invite them to our house, that everything is child proof and safe and the toys will keep their child engaged independently which waldorf toys do but need to be engaged with and just seem to take more energy and interaction than plastic toys that sing and talk and the kids sit and watch them. O also at other playdates the parents will put in a movie or turn on the tv to some kids channel and that also occupies the kids. I guess I am just wondering what is expected and how this works with a waldorf lifestyle and play area. And wether others givea warning of how things are in their home and how they do this if they do.
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#6 of 18 Old 08-02-2008, 02:23 PM
 
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When we have playdates, I let the kids play in an area that has been "prepared" for a playdate. I put away all of DDs toys that might not be OK to have other kids play with, for whatever reason. We also lock doors to rooms that the kids shouldn't have access to. That way I don't have to worry about another kids treatment of our electronics or other things we don't want them to get into.
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#7 of 18 Old 08-03-2008, 01:04 AM
 
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I've never been a huge "playdate" person. I find them a bit overrated and dislike the word "playdate" in general for sounding almost ostentatious.

Anyway, at that age you can really expect anything and I don't think toddlers care much one way or the other about playdates. I think they enjoy being outside and experimenting with all of their senses more than anything else.

DS is six and we really don't live in a neighborhood where people schedule "playdates". I will say this though. Good luck. We have been on this journey for over a year now. Between grandparents, other kids in the neighborhood, and even at the waldorf school (gasp! Imagine that!) it has been increasingly impossible to shelter DS away from all of the annoying things we don't want him around. I'm finding waldorf philosophy to be a lot like general parenting lately in terms of picking and choosing your battles. Otherwise you will be completely overwhelmed.
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#8 of 18 Old 08-03-2008, 11:40 AM
 
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At one we had toys like soft wool balls, playsilks, towel/knot dolls...things like that. I don't think a Waldorf nursery or typical Waldorf home would have the things that you are describing for one year olds. I don't have glass bottles in our play area. We use glass jars to drink from or use as pitchers in the real kitchen...but even at age four with ds I am right there to help him out. I don't have pots and pans in our play kitchen either... I have some small wooden plates and a wooden mixer and a small tea set. The Waldorf teacher who wrote Heaven on Earth talks about keeping things small enough for kids to keep in their hands...she was talking about stuffed animals but I think that's a good thing to think about for toys overall. At the Waldorf nursery school that we were at there were playsilks, dolls, wooden kitchen, some things like wooden apples and wooden bowls but nothing with glass or metal in it. As the children get older things from outside come in like pinecones and shells but that is normally after the stage of children putting things in their mouths...maybe around age 3.
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#9 of 18 Old 08-04-2008, 11:39 AM
 
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I don't think you have to "warn" other parents about your home. Warn them about what? That you have certain kinds of toys? If it comes up you can simply say "we don't watch television" or whatever if they are suggesting that.

I also have an active kid, and he definitely learns by trying everything (or, trying to break everything??). One friend's mom said to me that the toy companies should hire my son to test their toys for safety and durability. Your calm, careful daughter probably is like that from a combination of basic temperment, age/development, and her environment. Also, remember that for the guest child, no matter what their own home is like, visiting a new place is very stimulating and it may take several visits before the guest child is comfortable and acting like him/herself (whatever that is, because they are changing so fast right now too).

We did lots of "playdates" (often very casual, make loose dates to meet in the afternoons, etc) starting before age 1 at the playground, then we started with certain friends at eachothers houses-- and started dropping off the kids to get a dinner out, to work for a few hours, etc. I am a student mama and live in a community with many others, so it was wonderful. I learned a lot about my son and his friends watching them, and really I do think the kids learn a lot from eachother, they gain social knowledge, they learn to play in totally different ways, their language skills make huge gains having to communicate with other people, they learn empathy (slowly!), they do become very attached to certain friends.

We also "prepared" the house for playdates by removing things of which there is only one (recognizing that sharing just wan't going to happen), things which are fragile or hard, or to which our children were particularly attached. Also just slimming down what is out, so that the inevitable mess isn't too huge. I found that wooden trains, for example, could be played with almost indefinitely with minimal fighting. I also broke up a 1-3-hour playdate with different activities-- play inside, snack, play outside, come in and sing or read a book, play some more, etc. Sort of like preschool. Not until they were about 3 did having a friend over get EASIER for me than just having one (and only certain friends lol!) I would consciously try to involve them in something, and then step back if possible, but with some kids, and with the synergy between some kids, that isn't always possible at this age. Mostly parallel play at this age. But you know, I think that they do enjoy the company of friends, even though they can't play "together" yet.

"Sharing" is extremely hard at this age. You can try to have multiples of everything (which sort of helps) and with a lot of adult support *some* kids can learn about turn-taking and simple cooperation (for example, pulling a wagon together, filling and dumping water containers) (I would ask myself: how can they "share" an item that only one person can use anyway? I found it helpful to imagine if I was constantly being asked to "share" my computer, car, etc...). Even when it does happen with 1-2 year-olds, joint activity/sharing requires adult modeling and monitoring of turn-taking, compromise, etc. I am not sure they can "work it out" on their own-- with my son he usually ended up clobbering the other kids to get his way-- or even just to see what would happen-- (he was and is strong-willed, quick-tempered, very verbal, and very strong and coordinated physically), so at age 1 I kept a close eye on what was going on, and I often felt I had to intervene to help him keep within the bounds of acceptable behavior. Now that he is 3 this is much less of a problem!

My belief is that playdates aren't "easy" but that social interaction with peers is very important, especially for only children (like mine) who wouldn't get it otherwise. I can tell when we get together with kids who haven't had a lot of exposure to peers... they orient all their interactions towards the adults, and they lack a lot of coping skills for the unpredictability of kids! I guess while playdates aren't necessary, its been worth it for us. I love the mom friends I've developed, and I love to see how my son really does care about his friends (who also range from 2 years older and younger than him). Its also such a relief to have back-up childcare when we need it, since I have no family close to me.

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#10 of 18 Old 08-05-2008, 10:23 PM
 
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Waldorf or non-Waldorf is not so much the issue, as I see it. I certainly would assume that there is a fairly child friendly set up if I've been invited to play at someone's house. This can be achieved just as easily with Waldorf toys. The same rules apply. No breakables or chokeables. I have to say that if your LO is not putting shells in her mouth or banging the glass she is a very unusual 1 yo!
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#11 of 18 Old 08-06-2008, 04:24 PM
 
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Not being where you are with a child that could play/interact with other children, I can only say that my thoughts are theoretical - but it did make me a bit sad to read your post. I don't think that you should need to warn anyone about anything as long as your home environment is safe for small children - the type of toys is less important - unless of course you are dealing with people who are opposed to wooden and natural toys as a matter of principle. So, as PP said, keep away from breakables and chokables and all shoudl be just fine.... sorry you went through that

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
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#12 of 18 Old 08-07-2008, 12:24 PM
 
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i think what one PP said was right on--at this age it's more like soft wool stuff, dolls, playsilks, small wooden animals/food, small wooden bowls with lids, a wooden doll stroller, bed etc. i don't see waldorf style toys as being THAT different or more "dangerous" than other types of toys. nothing to warn people against for sure.

i think glass/shells/rocks and even a nature table are for better suited for older kids.
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#13 of 18 Old 08-07-2008, 01:49 PM
 
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I was a big fan of playdates at the park at the toddler age. Neither kid is in their home territory, the park is set up for multiple kids to play in at once, and it was nice to have another mom to chat with while I pushed DD in the swing or sat in the sand-box.

I wouldn't take my toddler to a playdate where the TV was being used as a babysitter, but that's only because I wouldn't be able to keep my inner judgementalism quiet!
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#14 of 18 Old 08-08-2008, 03:48 PM
 
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I just think playdates at people's houses are hard at that age no matter what kind of toys you have in your house. Toddlers have a very hard time sharing, and in my experience it's been easier just to meet somewhere neutral like a park so that there won't be any disputes over toys or heavy wooden toys being thrown in small spaces. I also agree with what a pp said in that playdates are really more for the parents at this age, so if you meet somewhere like a park you can let the kids run around in a nice large space and it's easier to chat .

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#15 of 18 Old 08-08-2008, 07:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mama2cal&darby View Post
The same rules apply. No breakables or chokeables. I have to say that if your LO is not putting shells in her mouth or banging the glass she is a very unusual 1 yo!
I don't think that's true. My dd is 18 mos now, but it's been over 6 mos since I've had to worry about her putting small things in her mouth. I let her play with marbles, small stones and coins and it is never a problem. I realize though that every child is different and I have known children who still put these things in their mouth at almost 4. I also think that breakable things are good for young children. It's how they learn to treat them appropriately. I used to teach a 2 year old classroom and we used breakable glasses to hold paints in and breakable dishes in the home-area. Very rarely were any broken. But it is a matter of what a child is used to. If a child isn't used to handling breakable items than they won't know how to treat them with care.

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#16 of 18 Old 08-08-2008, 10:21 PM
 
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I def agree with the pp who said toddlers are not able to work things out on their own. At that age they haven't learned the empathy and reasoning necessary to share -and it will simply end up as a free for all with the survival of the strongest and most agressive.

Simply saying "Johnny was playing with that Suzie. We'll have a turn later. Let's play with this ball now" and repeating that sort of thing whenever necessary will get the message across. At first it may be just "awful" to have to wait, but they "get it" fairly quickly, espec if you notice when Johnny puts the toy down and you hand it to Suzie saying "Your turn now".

As for throwing things, yes, some children are gentler and some rougher players. However, 1 yr is not too young to learn what can and cannot be thrown. If a child throws a hard wood toy simply say "Only beanbags are for throwing" and hand them a beanbag while temporarily removing the other toy (which isn't in their hands anyway as they just threw it). They will quickly learn that beanbags (or wool balls or whatever *one* object) are for throwing and that throwing other toys makes them (semi) permanently disappear. If they ask for the other toy back, say "You can do _________ with this toy" and show them how the wood cow can eat make believe grass or moo or whatever. If they try to throw the cow again, intercept them and say "If you throw the cow, the cow will go bye bye". Simply putting it like this so it's not an issue of you taking it away but simply that it disappears works well. They get the cause and effect but not necessarily that it is you producing the affect.

Granted all of this can be *very* difficult to accomplish in the middle of a playdate - which are for more for moms at this age than for children Sometimes just having one or two kids over is easier at this age. I do think there is still some social and developmental and character development for young toddlers tho. And if moms really want to talk, then like pp's said - soft toys are great!
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#17 of 18 Old 08-09-2008, 12:56 PM
 
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"Attached Mama" has given some really good practical advice about how to begin mediating between children of that age. Some of it is modeling, some of it is speaking "for" them about turns, etc, in very simple terms. As I said in an earlier post, I believe that children do learn a lot from one another. But its not easy. I do think that some kids, and some pairs of friends, on some days and in some situations, can learn these concepts fairly young. There has to be a lot of trust built up, between the children and adults (which I imagine you already have), and between the children.

"Becoming the Parent You Want to Be" (not a Waldorf book) was and continues to be very helpful and practical for me, thinking about conflict resolution, fostering my son's independent relationships, and realistic expectations for various ages.

My son is now 3 1/2, in the past few months I have seen him spontaneously "work things out" with friends in a cooperative way, without adult prodding. He's also begun to come up with his own "solutions" if I ask something like, "well, we have one muffin and two kids here who want to eat it, what do you think we can do?" (actually, that was a real example from 2 days ago-- I'd already suggested cutting it in two, which they rejected-- then 10 minutes later came up with the same plan, and were perfectly happy with it). And-- lol-- I've also seen him throw, grab, hit, scratch, and yell plenty of times in the past few months as well. Impulse control is not easy for him-- but nowadays it generally happens more if he's tired, hungry, stressed, or already frustrated. (and, come to think of it, I'm not perfect either, much as I wish I were).

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#18 of 18 Old 08-11-2008, 07:13 PM
 
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I think it was just a difference in temperament. I have two children, one sounds similiar to your daughter and one similiar to your guest. My more calm child was easily playing with chokeables safely at age one, and had ceramic dishes in the play kitchen. My other child, notsomuch.

I agree, there is nothing to 'warn' anyone about. It's just your home and how you keep it. I would prepare the space for guests ahead of time, though, like PP mentioned. Breakables go up if you don't know the temperament of the guest child.

Park playdates are always good, though. They work better as a 'neutral' ground, I think.
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