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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let me preface my questions with an explanation. Skip the explanation, if you don't have time and answer the questions if you can--all the feedback and various points of view will be helpful.<br><br>
I went to a new friend's house. She is a midwife, bfed her kids until they were all around 5 (still nursing the littlest ones), is a wonderful holistic, down-to-earth, natural everything kind of mom. I really admire her. I brought my kids to play with hers and another mom's kids.<br>
When I arrived, I saw a two-year-old, a four-year-old and a six or seven-year-old outside in the front yard. No adult supervision. The house is not on a busy street, but there were some cars going by while I was parking.<br>
This surprised me.<br>
I took my kids out of the car, and all the little ones followed us into the house.<br>
Once inside, they all played nicely. Then the six/seven-year-old asked if they could all go outside. The other mom there said sure no problem for my kids (hers are 2 and 1). But I said I wasn't too sure about that (mine are 3 and 16 months).<br>
So they were asked to stay inside. And they did for a while.<br>
Then I noticed it was very quiet. So I jumped up and went to the back door to see all of them climbing up a ladder to an above ground swimming pool (which was covered, but the cover cannot hold weight, and was full of water). I glanced around the yard and noticed that the fence was missing sections, and it backed up to the woods and there was a metal swing set and this pool. It seemed to me that it could be dangerous for unsupervised toddlers.<br><br>
But when I came back inside to explain that they had all gone outside--the other moms seemed surprised that I was worried.<br>
So immediately I questioned myself.<br><br>
At what age should a toddler be left to play unsupervised in the same house as mom, but in a different room? Alone?<br>
At what age should a child "looking after" a toddler be (if mom is in the same house, but in another room)?<br>
At what age do you allow your kids to be outside without supervision--in your own back yard? In the front yard?<br><br>
I know that "maturity" has something to do with it, too, so please include that in your comments.<br><br>
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DS is 15 months and we just gave him his own room, which was our den. It's on the main floor of the house. Our house is small, so it's not far away. It's totally baby proof with all his toys and a couple times a day I put Seseme Street on for him to watch on the small tv, placed on the small but VERY sturdy and heavy night stand. There are no accesable cords or exposed plugs. One big comfy chair he can climb in and out of like and expert. I let him go in and out as he pleases. He loves it and it's a safe place for him to have some "him" time, while I'm still close at hand.<br><br>
I allow my dd#2 (who is 6) to watch Seseme Street with him while I take a 5 min shower in the mornings. All doors are locked and the house alarm is always on. Our home is open to the second floor and I can hear everything, even in the shower. :LOL<br><br>
I allow dd #1 (who is 7) to watch both sibblings if I'm in the shower, running a bath for ds, or outside for a MAX of 5min.<br><br>
DD#1 and DD#2 are allowed to ride their bikes in the front of our home without my supervision. We have a large park pathway instead of a narrow sidewalk, that runs in front of our home. There is also a 3 foot green space between the sidewalk and the road. They are allowed to ride up and down our street, right in front of the house. We have markers that gives them enough space to ride, without going anywhere. This is the first year for this. Only because DS can not be in the front without me and I can't always go into the front because of DS's basic needs. The girls are too big to ride in the back, which is what they have done in the past. They are not allowed to go without each other and if one has to go to the bathroom the other must come inside and wait for her to finish. I am picking up walkie talkies this weekend as another safety precaution. There is a neighbour down the street that has a son the girls like to ride with and play with. She is always in the front with her son because he's only 4. So, really the girls are rarely out there without an adult.<br><br>
DS is not allowed in the back yard without me. There is waaayyy too much for him to get into and hurt by, even though it's a very safe back yard. He likes to put the rockes in his mouth, climb up the deck stairs (not too stable with that yet), climb onto lawn chairs and on top of the kids picknick table. When I had a dayhome I was not allowed to let the kids play unsupervised in the backyard until they were over 3. For me I was out there until they were 5. There is alway something in a backyard that could be dangerous for a small child, and usually you aren't even aware of it. You have no control of what gets dragged into your yard. It's not a controlled environment like a home.<br><br>
This year we have installed a gate on the deck stairs. We are getting a retractable screen for the back door so ds can come and go as he pleases. However, the deck will be like a giant playpen. :LOL
 

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My DS is 2.5. I have felt comfortable with him playing in another room alone since he was maybe 20 months or so, as long as I can hear him. (We have a small, baby friendly house.) If he is quiet for more than a few minutes, I go and check on him. He has been allowed to play in our fenced back yard without me since about 20 months as well, while I do dishes in the kitchen and watch him out the back window. I still don't feel comfortable letting him play outside unsupervised.<br><br>
I would absolutely not feel safe letting toddlers play near a pool without an adult around. I can't believe the other mothers weren't concerned about this. We have a little kiddie wading pool set up in our backyard now and when DS is back there I don't take my eyes off him for a second.<br><br>
ETA - About maturity - I would say DS is fairly mature, for his age, but he's still 2.5 so that only goes so far, KWIM?
 

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My ds is 2.5 and he plays in his room alone. He doesn't stay in there for more than 15 minutes and I can hear him in there. Sometimes my almost 11 month old follows but I follow pretty closely after. My oldest also gets to go outside by himself but it is gated and you can see him from the front room. The baby can't go outside alone. I close the doors to the rooms that aren't well babyproofed and the house is pretty safe for them as long as someones paying attention.
 

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Compared to the answers you are getting, I am a really casual mom. I let my 3 and 1 year old out of my site a lot. There are messes and bumps but I feel very safe. It is about me knowing my kids. I know when I can turn my back for 5 minutes and when I can't. I have a 7 year nephew who I trust to look after the 3 year old outside for 10-15 minutes between me checking on them. I wouldn't necessarily be comfortable at someone else's house with the same level of supervision because I know what my kids are going to get into at home. I know what the risks are. We have a pond in the back yard and I talk to them a lot about the risk of water.<br><br>
Is the point of your question to question your level of trust or your friends? I give my kids a lot of space but since I have always done this, it works for us. My oldest (the 20 yr old) was nervous about how much space I gave the little ones but then I explained to him that letting him get into things, fall, make their own mistakes helped him be really physically confident and he had to agree. Its just a different style.
 

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I let my 8 year old dd play outside alone (obviously). I let her and her 4 year old sister play outside alone. But if the almost two year old dd is going out, so is an adult. We have a fenced yard with a play structure and a rock retaining wall that is a kid magnet.<br><br>
In the house, the almost two year old is allowed to play in another room without me - no problem but my house is baby-proofed and I know what my kid will likely do. Someone else's toddler or mine at their house - probably not out of my sight at age two. Outside at my house - age 5 or 6 without direct supervision, just checking through the window often and a window open to hear them playing.<br><br>
I think more kids raises the options of someone getting hurt, not lowers them. An older kid (8+) can be very helpful to keep an eye out but can't be given the entire responsibility at that age.<br><br>
I haven't read the thread yet but I think your friends were being less than smart in their choices. JMO.
 

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The pool would scare me. Especially if my kids had never been to this house before.<br><br>
As far as being alone in our house, I let both my 3.5 and 18 month old play in a different room or different floor (we have lots of them), if they will let me be somewhere else! I let DD1 play alone in the back yard -- completely fenced in, so no worries. DD2 I don't because we have concrete steps that she hasn't fallen down yet, but it makes me nervous.<br><br>
I have gotten quite good at deciphering sounds and recognizing what they might be into without my being there. And of course, whenever it is too quiet too long.
 

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Well what I would allow my kids to do in my home verses someone else is two different things.<br><br>
I would be leary of allowing my kids out of my sight in some others home, but I could see were she could feel comfortable with HER CHILDREN doing it.
 

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I have a 16 month old that I don't let play alone. I have older kids though (9 and almost 12) that will play with him or keep an eye on him for showers (kind of irrelevent).<br><br>
The older two, I didn't let play outside alone until they were about 6. Maybe I'm just overprotective, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.<br><br>
Just curious, the other parents didn't do anything about the kids climbing up to the pool?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
To the pp regarding the nature of my question:<br>
Frankly, I am not sure. I guess I was initially questioning myself, because both of the other moms seemed so casual about their kids being alone in the front yard and the back yard, whereas I was really concerned about my kids.<br>
And since I respect their parenting decisions in other ways so much, I started to wonder if perhaps I was too uptight.<br>
I didn't mind them in the next room playing with the other kids (it was babyproofed) but the outside thing wasn't working for me.<br><br>
Here at home, I will leave them to play alone in another room (our house is one story, small and baby-proof) but I don't allow them outside for a second (even in our own backyard) without me nearby, and that's largely because of their ages.<br><br>
So again, I like to know what others are thinking in regards to kids being without supervision in various situations and of varying ages.<br>
It helps me to align my own thinking and to determine what's appropriate and not too permissive or too uptight.<br>
kwim? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="innocent">
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Alkenny, I just now saw your question:<br>
the answer--no, they didn't seem concerned in the least.<br>
In fact, when I brought the kids in, I made a comment: "Oh, you have a pool"...and the mom replied: "Yeah, but the kids won't bother it."<br>
Which was not what I saw happening, but I didn't want to be the obnoxious first-time guest, so I let it drop, since all the kids were in the house at that point anyway.<br>
Was this the right thing to do?
 

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I don't think there are any cut and dried answers to when it's ok to leave your kid alone; I let my 2.5 y old play on the deck by herself but I can see her through the window in the kitchen. I don't have a problem wandering off to get a towel or a drink while she's in the bath, but I can hear her. She spends maybe an hour or 2 by herself in the basement watching tv while I have a shower and get dressed, but I check on her a few times, and if she gets restless she comes and finds me rather than climbing the furniture. During the day, she can pretty much go where she wants and do what she wants inside. At night we put up a gate so she can get to us in our room, but no where else - but that's more about sleep walking than anything. I can't imagine letting her hang out near a pool without supervision (ie, at least a teen who is a strong swimmer & has some lifeguarding/rescue skills), and I'd probably still be checking in fairly regularily. Same goes for unfenced yards that go to the street etc. (ok, they wouldn't need the lifeguard skills lol).
 

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Well every child and parent is different but I do let Haley and Max play out back by themselves (2.5 and 4.75) and have for quite a while. Haley plays by herself outback all the time. If I had a pool I wouldn't do that though unless it had a fence around it or something...just too dangerous imo. They are not allowed in the front yard by themselves b/c we live on a very busy street and I don't trust them or the cars. Grayce is 9.5 and I allow her to take rylie (10 months) outside by herself. I can always hear them though.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>GranoLLLy-girl</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I jumped up and went to the back door to see all of them climbing up a ladder to an above ground swimming pool (which was covered, but the cover cannot hold weight, and was full of water).</div>
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I REALLY think you need to tell your wonderful, holistic, natural, down to earth respected midwife friend what you saw. You said in another post that she said her kids wouldn't mess with the pool - that is her assumption. You know better - you saw with your own eyes. And the other woman's ONE and TWO YEAR OLDS???? In the backyard with a POOL! and no adult supervision? That is insane and I don't care how NFL you are. Just because someone is AP or NFL or whatever doesn't mean their kids can't drown. This is just the same as having a loaded gun and letting the kids near it without adults. I could not respect someone making choices like that. It is absolutely neglectful. I am nowhere near a perfect parent but would never let my kids play near a pool without adults!<br><br>
Without the pool, and with a GOOD fence (although I figure that even my two year old can open the gate - I've seen her do it) and with a VERY mature eight year old to monitor and with no one under the age of three, sure, let them play and check every so often. But under the situation you described? No. You are not being overly cautious - your instincts were right on.<br><br>
I would feel I had to tell the midwife that the kids were climbing the ladder to the pool. How can you not? What if you say nothing and one of her kids or one of her friends' kids drowns as the moms are inside chatting?<br><br>
This thread (for me) is kind of ironic as I posted in another thread to quit judging other moms' parenting choices; live and let live. But no one was drowning there...
 

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I still won't let my 4yo. son near a pool with out adult supervison. I don't care what those other parents think. I have heard 8 and 9 year old drown in pools that had a cover. Those covers can't hold any kind of weight and then the cover can trap even older children who could swim.<br><b>Protect your children at all cost!!!!</b>
 

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we let our 2.5 yr old outside on the deck (babygated). but <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"> she's a climber, so it is really me sitting at the kitchen table, looking out on the deck on the rainy days we've had lately.<br><br>
if we had a pool...no way. and if I had a pool i'd have a water alarm so I'd know if something (ball, baby, whatever) fell into the pool.<br><br>
I'm especially cautious around water...it only takes an inch to drown. I did fill up the kiddie pool the other day and set it on the deck with dd (gated) and mow the grass. But I was back there in the back yard.<br><br>
I'm more nervous about someone else coming along and snatching my kiddo up from the yard than I am about her getting into something she's not supposed to. But at someone else's house I don't know the hazards so I'm with her all the time.
 
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