Just Came Back from a Playdate and Now I'm Curious.....(72 Posts)
Just returned from a good playdate with my 2.5 year old. I was pushed out of some of my parenting comfort zone though and am curious what is typical.
My friends nearly 3 year old DD and my 2.5 year old son were playing in her room. He almost never plays out of my eye-sight TBH so I felt compelled to occasionally check on them. My friend seemed to think this was bizarre and kept saying "they are fine, leave them". When checking on them I noticed my son was not sharing well - at one point he had grabbed a book off the other child and wouldn't let her look at it. I supposed I wouldn't have known if I hadn't been looking in on them but having seen it felt I had to try to address the behaviour IYKWIM? My friend seemed to think they should work it out on their own and wanted to leave them to it.
Then he wasn't sharing the snack plate, refusing to let the other child have any crackers off it. Again, I felt the need to correct his behaviour while my friend seemed off put by this and kept repeating "they are fine, they will sort it out" etc.
Playdough was left out for free play where as we store it away as our son tends to eat it. The kids were playing with it in a separate room and I felt like I should check in on them etc....but my friend seemed to think I was helicoptering so I tried to step back.
I noticed their house was not babyproofed - no socket covers, no stair gate. Lots of small bits and bobs left about. I never let my son go downstairs without supervision and still make him go down on his bum.
When my friend put out a bowl of uncut grapes I apologized for being precious but asked that they be cut lengthwise .
This isn't a commentary on my friends parenting - her kids are fabulous and obviously are used to more freedom. I think the playdate was very good for my son - the kids played independantly relatively well. I just felt like wow - perhaps we hold the reins a bit tight?
How much do you supervise your 2 year old at home and at other people's houses?
Your parenting is totally different to hers, it happens, you should try get used to that if you're going to have more play dates with other friends.
I wouldn't allow a 2 year old to play upstairs unsupervised, checking on them is fine but apart from that everything else seems the norm.
Btw, socket covers are more risky than no socket covers.
I would have been checking on them - definitely! Leaving your 3 year old alone to potter is one thing, but two of them - mischief multiplies!
I wouldn't be checking on my 2.5 yr old more than about every 20 mins
DS is 3.5 and has been playing upstairs alone for about 6 months I tend to just check on him
when he is too quiet every 20 minutes or so, or when I need to nip up for something else. I think I fall somehwere inbetween you and your friend.
Why do you make your son come down on his bum though? surely its best to learn how to come down properly
Yes, and I stress that I am not complaining about my friends parenting she is clearly a great parent.
Im just curious as we dont have many friends with kids the same age as ours. Its good to see what others do too. For example this little one was able to play nicely with paper books and it was good to see that apparently mine can too....I just hadnt given him the opportunity before IYKWIM?
i left my 2.5yo in the garden for 2 minutes and came back to find her on the wendy house roof! no way would i let her out of my sight unless she is with her brother in our house so i know there is no mischief she can get up to!
as for the grapes - i'm with you - i would have explained to her why i still cut them as i can't bear seeing other little ones eating them whole!!
re the stairs - my dd comes down on her own - we have a stair gate but it is left unlocked as more of a 'have a think before you take the next step'
Just guessing, but is hers a 2nd child and yours a PFB?
When DD1 was small, playdates usually involved all parents and chikdren in onr room, and following/hovering near tje kids.
Now I have DD1 age 5 and DD2 who is nearly 3. They often play alone upstairs (in their own bedroom NOT mine!) and when we have kids to play they often all disappear upstairs to play.
Rarely have playdates for DD2 alone, but if she did have a similar aged friend to play I wouldn't have a problem with them playing alone upstairs in DD's bedroom.
We also haven't had stair gates since DD2 was 18mo... unless you have particularly steep stairs I would say 2.5 is fine to go up/down stairs alone.
Assuming you are in the UK, socket covers are not needed if you keep appliances such as irons out of the way.
I had read this on here before and checked with my electrician who told me to remove all socket covers immediately.
I would also guess it wasn't her first child. I am much more relaxed with my DC2 than I was with DC1.
I have a 2.5 year old- I agree with you on the grapes thing, and although my daughter can walk up and down stairs fine I am always with her.
There is no way I would leave her unsupervised for 20 minutes though. My house is safe and I am careful about what's lying around as also have a 1 year old, but I at 2.5 they have no sense of risk or danger or anything.
This is interesting, DS is 2.5 - he wouldn't generally be happy to play away from us for an extended length of time, I wouldn't trust him to , and he's pretty unreliable at going up and down stairs safely. Hmm.
I have two dc and wouldn't leave them alone for more than a couple of minutes. So not a PFB issue. I think it depends on the child and parenting style. I've seen three year olds thwack younger ones over the head, crushed fingers in doors, falling over and hitting heads etc etc. so I would keep an eye and do keep an eye on them.
Sounds like you have one child she has more. I have heard socket covers are dangerous as it make the plugs live.
I agree with you about grapes though (& have 3 kids)
Lego, why are socket covers more dangerous? I feel stupid for asking, but I have genuinely never heard anyone say they were before
But grapes are my 'thing'.
So much depends on the character of the child - I could leave ds unattended a lot at that age and he is remarkably sensible. Dn is a few months older and a lot more prone to mischief.
Put the two of them together and it's only recently I can leave them in a different room at all! Neither of them ever ate playdoh though.
If they were in a bedroom I'd assume they were safe and we'd hear if there was a problem, so I'd probably only check if there was ominous silence or too much giggling. I still cut grapes until ds was 4 though!
Never had a stairgate at the bottom of the stairs, removed top one when ds was 2.5 as didn't want them to try to climb over it! Kept one on the kitchen door until they managed to pull it off... dd has just managed to climb up 10 stairs despite not learning to walk yet, so will be buying new stairgates!
If I'm at someone else's house and they are relaxed I try to be too, at least in between children wailing.
Katy in the uk to have a live socket all 3 pins need something stuck in them at once - do if you have a socket cover and half pull it off and stick something in one hole you get fried. With no socket cover something stuck in one hole would do nothing iyswim
God no. I let my three yr old play upstairs by himself, but it would be a long time before I let him play up there alone with one of his friends. He goes up when 5 yr old dd has her friends over and plays with them. However as they always tell on him if he does anything wrong I'm not so worried about that.
her DD and my DS1 are both precious first borns. We each now have infants under 6 months old as well. I don't know if she has more experience with other people's children though. I am on maternity leave so have the opportunity to arrange some "playdates" where we haven't really don't that since I returned to work - so yes, previous playdates when my son were ones that involved everyone sitting in the same room with their babies.
See the stair thing is a good example - I just assumed he was too young to go down stairs by himsel not having other 2 year olds around to go off of. So we hold his hand going down our front steps and have taught him to bum shuffle down to the basement when we go play down there while we supervise (his bedroom is on the main floor - bungalow).
I think the issue is the 6 month difference in their age. I would leave DS2 now at 3.2 for as long as he wanted, but at 2.5 I would have been checking more often. 6 months make a big difference at this age
katy - uk plugs are only 'live' when the top pin is in - so if that is not in you can't get the appliance to work/sticking a finger in won't cause a shock
the socket cover activates the socket because the top pin is in
re grapes - my paediatrician friend is incredibly laid back - but she is very strict on cutting grapes because she has seen too many accidents
Socket covers are one of those things I keep meaning to read about. We have them everywhere, as thought that was what we were supposed to do. Plus my 2.5 year old and 1 year old are seemingly obsessed with plugs so I assumed it was safer.
I'm definitely more like your friend I think.
Saintly... thanks. I had no idea.
I would definitely have checked in them. Otherwise it's all a bit lord of of the flies
I have read the socket cover thing on MN before but I belive my googling revealed that you shouldn't use covers on UK sockets specifically and I am not in UK.
and wrt to the stairs I was interested that when we had a friend and her 2.5 yo DS over last year he was terrified of stairs as they lived in a bungalow and would stand on the edge looking at them. DS2 has always lived with stairs and lots of steps as our house is on a hill and was entirely happy going up and down, as he has done from when he could walk at 9 months. Which btw is stupid. What baby starts to walk at 9 months?
Suppose everyone's parenting is different. My son has been going up and down the stairs alone since he was 1, and has always had grapes whole. As for socket covers I have them but son always manages to pull them out so I've put them up out the way for when baby comes in July. He's 2 and a half always pottering up and down stairs on his own, or out in garden alone. If he was with another kid though I might be more inclined to check on him more often as I know what kids are like when they're together, lol.
I'm definitely more like your friend. From your description I would say you do 'hold the reins a bit tight', totally your choice of course .
I would try and give him opportunity to show what he can do for himself though. Bear in mind summer babies will be starting school nursery a month of so after they turn 3. Imagine if they were eating the playdough, unable to come downstairs on their feet, not allowed to play unless being constantly watched, unable to resolve conflict for themselves etc. To me, that is a description of baby, not a pre-schooler.
I would also say 2.5 is very old to still be eating playdough!
With stairs, I always think the best thing to do is teach them how to climb/go down safely as soon as possible. DD2 is 2.10 and has just this week started walking down completely unaided (ie on her feet without holding someone's hand or the wall). She is very proud of herself! But she has been safely crawling/bumshuffling up and down alone for a good 6 months. Sonetimes I send her upstairs to fetch things for me
However, I still slice grapes for my 5yo's lunchbox!
sirzy, DS is 3.5 and has been playing upstairs alone for about 6 months
Sorry, but I do think that's a tiny bit slack
It's ok I take food up to him occasionally
the whole grape thing gives me palpitations!!
as for stairs - we have a lot in our house so dd is well practised. if we lived in a flat i would probably be more careful
yes the grapes thing, please don't feel pfb about cutting lengthways
for those who don't know, whole grapes are almost exactly the same shape and size as a child's windpipe and are a real choking hazard, so do cut them lengthways. Please.
I would also say 2.5 is very old to still be eating playdough!
I totally agree . He still puts anything and everything in his mouth though and I am constantly cueing him on it - I'm not sure what else to do. If I leave him with crayons, markers, chalk, paint, dish soap - it all goes in his mouth. He ate the head of a marker just last week.
I think we will redouble our effort to expand his ability on stairs too.
I think also, most of us are more relaxed with our own child, in our own house. When my dcs were in other people's houses, I'd be checking a LOT more often, to check they weren't damaging anything.
Have to also agree that a 6 month age difference at your stge, is MASSIVE.
I am definitely more like your friend.
BUT dd2 would have, on occasion destroyed the room upstairs if left her unattended, so i would check on her to make sure she wasn't up to mischief.
I do encourage my kids to sort things out among themselves, but you really have to know that the children are evenly matched. One of dd2's friends is a softy and she runs rings round him. His mum and I try to encourage him to stand up to her and encourage her to play better with him, they need a bit of intervention, whereas with other friends she doesn't
Personality of child plays a big part
I more like your friend. BUT I think that says more about my DD TBH. She has always been very sensible, so I've never needed to babyproof, I've felt happy to let her play unsupervised from a young age, and she's NEVER eaten playdough .
I'm sure if I had a different child that was prone to touch things they shouldn't, climb furniture etc I would be more helicopterish.
I also think it's fine to correct your child's behaviour if you think they're not playing nicely or sharing.
Grapes! this is a 'thing' of mine too, and get really p'ed off when mums say ' my childs been eating whole grapes since they were 6 months and have been fine!'. It only takes one for disaster. They are capable of choking an adult let alone a child. Only today I had to 'rescue' a massive whole grape that DD had wrestled off DN (3.5). I cut my DTs grapes in half till they were about 7 .
Do you do a fair amount of sensory play OP? Just wondering if using his hands might encourage him to not use his mouth to explore? I was so pleased when DD stopped eating everything and it gives you more confidence to try new things (like glitter and things that you may otherwise think they will choke on).
All children are different. I have learnt a lot from the 2 half days DD has at nursery and seeing other kids walking down from the baby room (stairs) holding a hand was what prompted me to try with DD. It is all about seeing what works for you and having exposure. Do you have a local play group you could attend once a week to get more ideas?
I have just bought a bunch of sensory table stuff so it will be interesting to see how he does with it.
I agree exposure is really good. We are doing a gym class on Fridays and a sing-song group on Wednesdays but both have very mixed ages and neither have the kids really interacting much with each other - more with their parent. I am going to make more of an effort to link to my other 2 friends who have kids for playdates too as I agree that exposure is really helpful for ideas and direction.
I'm surprised about the stairs, but otherwise you sound pretty normal to me.
I still feel uneasy with just turned 4 yo DS playing upstairs with his friends, but that's because he has just come out of a very bad aggressive phase (biting, hitting, scratching that seemed to last for 6 months) and we're still a bit shell-shocked.
I also agree with the PP who said that mischief multiplies...
Your friend sounds pretty Norwegian in her parenting.
Being Norwegian myself, I am pretty "off" with this type of parenting. And if she is British, ignore her, then she is just daft, rather than culturally "challenged".
everyone is different. I agree with you on the grapes, and would have checked a bit. Agree with her on letting them sort disputes-missed learning opportunity for them if you step in. Although I would step in if violence started!! In between the two of you on house safety- had the place child proofed, but then allowed a lot of freedom within that. Do what you think is right, but maybe let your son have some space to learn to do things for himself- practise on the stairs etc. Agree there is Abigail difference between 2.5 and 3.
I use home made playdough (It is very good recipe, best I've ever come across, feels as good as new real playdough - google no cook playdough and find he one with cream of tartar and a cup of boiling water)
It is totally harmless if eaten, but tastes horrible so they don't eat it.
exposure is great, but do remember that they begin to share aged 3, and play alongside rather than with others until 3+ and so at 2.5 it is very normal for him not to play well with another child or to share properly.
When DD was about 8 months old I read an awful story in the local paper about a toddler choking on a grape. It really affected me, didn't do much for my PND!
I peeled every grape DD ate for years and years.
I don't blame you one bit for being worried about your DS. He wasn't in his own home. There is a difference about how familiar they are in their surroundings.
To be honest, I'd be mightily pissed off if someone else kept telling me to leave my kid alone! You know your child a damn sight better than they do.
WRT babyproofing. We were pretty laid back for ds and dd1. ds was pretty normal, but dd1 has never ever done anything daft (no drawing on walls, or putting tiny things in her mouth) she is naturally a calm, sedentary sort, and once told 'no' she never did it again (this did not last, but was true until she was about 5)
Then dd2 came along. We had to invest in lots of baby proofing to keep her safe. eg, we had to put a baby gate on the kitchen for the first time. As soon as she could pull up she made a bee line for the stove, pulled up and turned gas rings on, and unless we were watching her, she would crawl off in the direction of the kitchen all the time.
We had to put new handle on bathroom that others could open but she couldn't as she flushed things down the loo. She posted things into video player, climbed out of her cot at 18 months (others stayed in it til 2 years and we moved ten out) Climbed on anything and up anything.
And at 18 months then had an accident with something we could not have predicted despite our (by then) very safe house, and need 13 operations in 1 year.
It is very dependent on your child's personality, and however careful you are you can't protect them from everything.
I'm more like your friend too. The only baby-proofing I did was to move the cleaning products to the top shelf. All my bits and bobs stayed out, no stair-gates, no socket covers etc. No plastic cutlery.
DD turns 2 in a couple of weeks. She understands if I tell her something is hot and has done since she was 9-10mo. Her grandfather has a log fire burning and she treats it with a lot of respect. She eats well with proper forks and knives. She likes to put small things in her pockets and carry them around but has never come close to choking on anything (BLW). I let her play unsupervised for as long as she likes - sometimes it's 5 mins, sometimes 30 - and yes, she does decorate her hands and arms with felt tip pens and chuck dried pasta around the room (she has toy kitchen) but it's hardly dangerous.
She can climb and descend stairs quite happily. She always looks for a rail but if there isn't one she crawls up and down instead. She's a damn good climber and once went 7m up our biggest work ladder. Took 3 of us to get her down. But the experience is important. She knew she'd gone past her safe zone and hasn't ever tried that since. Same for the heat thing - she touched a hot radiator and cried. We sat with her next to the radiator and told her it was hot, and acted out touching it and whimpering. She's now got an understanding of heat. It's not some abstract thing to be explored and tested.
I think kids need to experience risk so that they can learn how to assess it and make decisions around it. Over-protection can result in kids with no common sense at all but a lot of vague fears.
But that's just me. And all kids are different. If DD was a full-on tornado, I'd probably view the whole thing very differently!
DD I baby proofed everything. She needed me to though. She could manage stairs by 2.5, though one foot on each step, very gingerly, with hand held, because we lived in a top floor flat and the stairs to the flat were concrete.
DS1 needed no real baby proofing other than a stairgate to the kitchen so he didn't fridge raid - but that was more for the safety of my fridge contents than his safety!
DS2 I didn't need to do anything for - by the time he walked at 3.7yo, he was old enough not to need it IYSWIM.
DS3, however...well, my house has turned into Fort Knox. He can manage stairs half on his bum, half stepping whilst hand holding, but gates top and bottom as he often falls. Gate on bedroom, gate on living room. He eats play dough, still puts everything in his mouth, climbs, throws himself off things - and I DO have socket covers after I caught him sticking 3 dribbly fingers one in each hole - but I have ones now that you have to unlock with a coin. I wouldn't let him play upstairs unattended!! He's 2.3yo.
What I'm saying is a lot depends on the particular DC's personality. My DS3 is a human tornado, always doing dangerous things, so he needs a lot more protection currently.
I have to say I had never heard of the not eating whole grape thing until reading recently on a mn thread (& it never occurred to me). It doesn't seem to be common knowledge where I live.
My DS has just recently started playing upstairs with his friends. He is 2.5. I have found that sometimes they play better together without adult supervision - more likely to sort things out for themselves, no being dramatic about tiny sharing problems etc. That said, I do keep a close ear out for them. Oh, and the first time he went off for an unsupervised play with a friend was a very similar situation to OP's, at another friend's house with a slightly older child. And i found it very unnerving!
You are wrong about the stairs but right about the grapes. Everything else is a matter of parental style, and a function of the huge age difference between the two DCs (also gender related perhaps).
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
It depends so much on personality. At that age my DNiece decided to organise "seaside" (buckets of water on stair carpet, paddling) while on a playdate where the other mum would not let my DSis check on the kids. No-one in the extended family would have left DNiece alone...my poor sis
I think for many dc 2.5 is too young for playing completely unsupervised. I am with you on that and I've been described as a hippy dippy laid back parent I would also cut the grapes.
We have minimal child proofing - no cupboard or drawer catches, let DS build little towers out of the small tins in the tin cupboard, don't fret about digging in the flower beds.
I think each to his own with child proofing as it is also down to the dc. Mine is very careful with drawers so no catches is fine, but had he not been I would have had them on ASAP.
So know what you mean about seeing from other children what DS can do. I recently realised other dc his age can sit quietly and eat neatly from a plate - now I expect him to do that too.
I am definitely more like your friend. My pfb is 3.5 & has been fine with stairs for a few years. We live in a 3 storey house, so he is often on a different level to me. I am more than happy to leave him as long as there are no drawing utensils/paint nearby! I leave him to play with friends, only intervening when there is a squabble. Never did much babyproofing.
Oh & I don't cut grapes, but he always bites into them.
I also let him use proper scissors supervised & he helps me cut up veg for dinner with a sharp knife. His dad things I am a lunatic, I don't see the problem.
Never had any experience with children before my son, just follow my instincts, go with the flow & hope for the best!
I am def more like your friend, my dd is 2yrs 4mths and we got rid of stair gates ages ago as she is fine on the stairs.
I let her play upstairs and nip up occasionally. I make sure the bathroom door and any rooms I don't want her in are shut.
Re the not sharing, sometimes it is good to let them sort out mi or disagreements on their own.
Like other people have said, it all depends on the child. DD1 (PFB) is 3.9 and has played unsupervised for a year or more. But I wouldn't necessarily be as laidback with a second, until I know what they're like.
DD has never been a climber, never drawn/painted on anything she shouldn't, never put objects in her mouth, never (intentionally) ripped a book, never even eaten chocolate that she's had for Xmas/Easter that's kept in her room. So I've never worried.
She's never showed any interest in plug sockets although I do think we still have one socket cover somewhere and never even showed an interest in any of the electrical gadgets (X-Box, Playstation, Amp etc) in the lounge. The only thing that I do if I leave her to play anywhere (the lounge while I'm in the shower etc) is to put the dogs in the lower-ground floor and shut their stair gate so she's not unattended with them.
I also know all her 'play-date' friends well enough to know which ones we need to keep an eye on and which ones we don't. For example, my DNephew is adorable but would have no hesitation in drawing all over the walls or (the last time he was here) spreading vaseline across the wall... So we don't let him and DD play together upstairs without supervision.
Grapes, don't cut up because DD always bites them, as do I.
My parenting style sounds more like your friends' (apart from the grapes - they definitely get cut in half) as I'm very laid back but your style sounds equally valid. I think it's interesting you've picked up on the differences though and if you feel like you want to implement some things to the benefit of yourself and your DS, then by all means do it. But only if it feels right for you, not because what she does is somehow 'better' (as it isn't, it's just different parenting choices).
PS Please have a look into the safety (or actual lack thereof) of socket covers. UK sockets are actually very safe and covers make them unsafe as they 'activate' them.
We always cut grapes. Daughter is very sensible and knows to bite first, but you just have to laugh at something, inhale and it could get caught. Its not so much about the child's sensibility but rather the size of it means its almost impossible to dislodge in an accident.
Stairs -I let my 16month climb up and down unaided happily. She's a real climber though and quite safe.
Let 16 month and 4 year old pKKw together for 15 mins or so whilst elsewhere in house.
No to socket covers but that's a uk thing due to our safety standards. Yes anywhere else.
Stairs, do you walk up behind them just incase or just let them go?
My son is 3. My sister is also 3. When we visit my mums they both ask if they can go to her room. All doors to toilet, bathroom loft and other bedrooms are shut and handles very high so its not possible for them to open. They make a mess in the bedroom but that's it. They will play for hours and will shout if they need us.
I dont have gates or socket covers either and my sin is free to potter around the house. He knows what draws etc he can go in.
I don't cut grapes either and neither does my mum. They are capable of eating them whole.
2yo needs supervision IMO. Yanbu
This is an interesting thread - yes everyone is different and there is nothing wrong with that - but one thing did jump out at me.
I only have a 1 year old but I have already noticed and felt uncomfortable with the constant interference with babies/ toddlers when they interact with each other. I do it, because other parents expect it - it's socially unacceptable to let your child pull another babies hair or take their toy. But actually I wonder if they would be better left to work out themselves what reaction they get - of course not actually hurting each other! But when it's just grabbing etc, isn't that part of learning?
I worry that the way we live nowadays involves real over parenting and children can't actually develop independently.
It is not normal for a 2.5yo to try to eat playdough, or chomp on other things as you describe, that rings alarm bells for me, sorry. I would seek HV advice.
You sound more protective than me, though I would check up on them a lot like you wanted to; mine are mischief makers! I wouldn't cut grapes for mine, but wouldn't mind if you asked.
You sound ott in my opinion
When s1 started pre school they pointed out he was a "mouther".
He's now 6 foot and still chews everything.
Eating play dough is really common,it's the salty taste apparently . Ds1 ( now 19) was dreadful for it and I rather bashfully told the nursery manager . She hooted and said they had loads who liked the taste and I subsequently met quite a few other children with a play dough craving!
Manne we went up behind them when they first started climbing up, (about 9-11 months depending on the DC) until they were steady (a few months maybe) and then they just went up by themselves.
Coming down safely was a bit later because they were slow to grasp that they had to turn around to come down, that was probably a few months after they figured out going up.
By 2 they were all definitely going up and down completely unaided.
Totally depends on the child. I would let DC3 play upstairs by himself but not with a friend as two children that age can get up to all sorts of mischief. But I let him play upstairs with his two older sisters from a very young age as they were very good at keeping an eye on him. Re. playdough, I wouldn't allow messy play out of sight but I'm a bit uptight that because of the mess, not the child. If your son is the type who puts everything in his mouth, I would be much more cautious about letting him play out of sight in someone else's house. I'm very laidback in our house but I was always more careful in someone else's as you don't know what the hazards are.
Sharing toys, I would let them sort it out themselves and only intervene if there's hitting etc. Otherwise how do they learn to take turns?
Stairgates, depends on your child and your stairs - ours weren't very steep or long and were carpeted so I taught the children from a pretty young age how to get up and down and removed the stairgate.
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