Advanced search

To think this is desperately sad?

(116 Posts)
IronicSeraphim Tue 23-Apr-19 16:31:01

I live on a block of six semi's, all with big gardens.

All but two of them have young children in. One, has five (aged 4ish to 16ish).

Two of those houses of children (including the one with five kids) never play in the garden. Never.

I've been a SAHP for three years and I've NEVER seen these kids in the garden. I know they're still there as o see them coming and going and on the school run.

I know it's nothing to do with me, but I can't help wondering why you'd do this?

crispysausagerolls Tue 23-Apr-19 16:33:56

I’m sure you’ll get told it’s none of your business, but I think yanbu and that is very sad

pessimisticstateofperception Tue 23-Apr-19 16:37:58

My kids never play in my garden either.

We go out, they go to the park, to their friends houses, to clubs etc, but my garden is never played in. Not desperately sad at all, there are just bigger and better places to play in.

JordanCatalano4Eva Tue 23-Apr-19 16:38:03

I don’t really see why it’s sad,I’ve got six kids they never play in the garden they go to the park instead.unless you’re saying the kids never leave the house which would be sad.

nancy75 Tue 23-Apr-19 16:38:09

Dd rarely played in our garden, when we have free time we are usually out at parks, theme parks, swimming baths or doing stuff with friends & their children

IronicSeraphim Tue 23-Apr-19 16:39:08

But why wouldn't you though? Seems a bit strange that's all.

Genuinely curious. Don't your children ask to go outside?

JordanCatalano4Eva Tue 23-Apr-19 16:40:27

They don’t need to ask the back doors open all the time,they just choose to not go out the garden.

Dressless Tue 23-Apr-19 16:40:27

They might not be at home much? Or they may be playing when you aren’t looking. Or it may just be because it’s been really cold this year. Or because British gardens are too small to be interesting.

Traveler001 Tue 23-Apr-19 16:41:54

Maybe they don’t play out cos the neighbour lady is always staring in their garden 🤣

pessimisticstateofperception Tue 23-Apr-19 16:42:18

My kids are out all the time. Just not in my garden. I don't see why it's strange at all.

LeukaeLucky Tue 23-Apr-19 16:44:16

My children never use the garden either. It's quite shabby to be honest and they say there are spiders everywhere.
They happily play at the park which is only 5min away hmm

IronicSeraphim Tue 23-Apr-19 16:45:05

What's the point in having a house with a garden if you never use it then?

Being outside is nice- and the kids can charge about and the mess matters less for a start.

Oh well, clearly I'm odd thinking this!

haba Tue 23-Apr-19 16:45:13

My children have severe hayfever, and can't play out most of the year. I can't dry their clothes or bedding outside (or their father's clothes and bedding/towels etc either).
Thankfully they're good at entertaining themselves indoors with Lego, reading, board games, computing etc.

pessimisticstateofperception Tue 23-Apr-19 16:49:11

Being outside is nice.

The garden is not the only outside space in the world fortunately.

My kids charge about in the, much bigger, space of the park, at their clubs, and in nearby playing fields etc.

I'm quite sad for your kids only having a garden area to play in, don't you take them to the park confused

nancy75 Tue 23-Apr-19 16:52:55

What’s the point in having a garden? We keep the bbq put there!
We rarely use our garden & id be happy with just a little patio but it came with the house and we’re stuck with it

Easterbunnyhashoppedoff Tue 23-Apr-19 16:53:53

A woman I knew never allowed her dc into the garden unsupervised (4+7), and she was always too busy to go out. Whenever she did they had to be wearing shoes and she was a complete helicopter dm. Drove me nuts.
My dc would love a decent garden.
Yanbu to feel sad op.

IronicSeraphim Tue 23-Apr-19 16:54:35

Of course we go to the park. You can't send a three year old to the park while you do the washing up though...

StCharlotte Tue 23-Apr-19 16:55:01

I'm with you OP. We rented our house out for a few years and our second tenant clearly didn't use the garden (as confirmed by a neighbour). I genuinely don't understand why as, whilst not massive, it was a perfect garden for kids. When we served notice (because we were moving back after working away), she then moaned that she couldn't afford anywhere else with a garden. Nowt so queer as folk...

Inebriatededna Tue 23-Apr-19 16:56:33

There’s been threads about neighbours complaining about children making noise in the garden.

outpinked Tue 23-Apr-19 16:57:10

So you’re home all of the time watching this family therefore know the children never leave the house aside from school? I think you’re the sad one if that’s the case.

coolestmum Tue 23-Apr-19 16:57:24

How do you now they are never in the garden? Perhaps they are just well behaved and don't scream and shout in it. Mine are often in the garden but are actually very quiet kids, so maybe my neighbours think mine never go out!

Nameusernameuser Tue 23-Apr-19 16:57:26

When I was younger our friend had an enormous house with 3 beautiful gardens backing onto one another and a swimming pool. We hopped over the fence to play in the field next door grin they probably play else where!

Insertinspirationalquotehere Tue 23-Apr-19 16:59:36

Yanbu OP. You think it's weird, I think it's weird, but some people are just not outdoorsy and are almost scared of the great wilderness as represented by their suburban garden. A school mum has a beautiful old walled garden,and her four kids are never in it because she feels she has to supervise, and there's a step she's worried about them tripping over. Youngest is 7. It would never occur to her to go and sit in the garden with a coffee. I think she's mad, I would go demented if I couldn't chuck my children into the garden for half an hour. We have two parks within five minutes walk, they do scads of activities and we hike or visit country parks every weekend, but I still need my garden. Each to their own though.

Picklypickles Tue 23-Apr-19 17:02:58

My kids don't play in our garden, we've had a rat problem so I don't want them out there. We live on the moors anyway, better than any garden!!

crispysausagerolls Tue 23-Apr-19 17:03:15

I think garden play is different than the park etc though. DS is nearly 10 months and we were at the park today but it’s much less stressful to have him playing in the garden, which he did this afternoon. His toys and slide are here; it’s peaceful; if he kicks off we can go in etc. Just much more relaxed.

OneStepSideways Tue 23-Apr-19 17:04:32

I think it's sad too. If they made the garden more interesting and child friendly maybe the kids would use it more. Mine has a mud kitchen, sandpit, tadpole tank, slide and a climbing frame, and a big gravel patch she likes to play with construction vehicles in. If it was just grass I doubt she'd play out much. I like being outside gardening while she plays.

CaveDrawer Tue 23-Apr-19 17:07:21

I agree. It does seem sad. I used to leave the back door open so DD and friends could come in and out but in weather like this they’d have their meals sat on a rug in the garden and take their toys out and just pootle about. As kids even when we were too old to play we would sit in the garden with friends and chat and do our homework/revision sat on the grass. We have so much grey, drizzly weather it just seems good that children can play/eat in the garden if you’re lucky enough to have one.

ILiveInSalemsLot Tue 23-Apr-19 17:08:16

Some people are really not outdoorsy people.

Nofilter101 Tue 23-Apr-19 17:08:22

My daughter can't play in the garden as a paedo has just been arrested and bailed to his home address 4 doors down. He can see into our garden. I wish she could go in the garden again. Hopefully he will get time and be gone by the summer

Michaelbaubles Tue 23-Apr-19 17:09:01

I think it’s strange too - a park in no way replaces a garden! Mine get chucked out from the moment they get back after school on fine days and at weekends and holidays they get a bit of screen time then it’s back outside. (Disclaimer: they are allowed in the house! But I like them to be outside as much as possible - I really feel like that’s when childhood happens!)

CaveDrawer Tue 23-Apr-19 17:09:39

NoFilter how awful. I hope he’s gone soon so you can enjoy your garden again.

NaturatintGoldenChestnut Tue 23-Apr-19 17:09:44

On MN in Summer there's nary a week goes by without a thread from some MNer whinging about kids playing in the garden and being 'anti-social'.

Maybe they're out a lot.

OneDayillSleep Tue 23-Apr-19 17:14:03

Mumsnet is weird, if it isn’t someone complaining about kids being out in the garden all summer long being noisy, it’s someone complaining that their neighbour’s kids are inside the house!

monty09 Tue 23-Apr-19 17:14:07

Where I used to live my neighbor's over the road there kids only left the house once they started school, never walked to the shop or played out in there garden, it was that bad that her son was petrified when he started school as didn't know how to be around all the other kids

TinklyLittleLaugh Tue 23-Apr-19 17:15:45

Yep, we had a climbing frame, slide, playhouse with kitchen etc, sandpit/water play, lots of sit on cars. My lot were always out there. Even when they were older and we got rid of the play equipment they'd lie on the grass reading or revising or just chatting.

A garden is a real resource. Mine is sloping and quite overlooked but we just crack on with it.

My kids played out in the street and went to the park too.

Rystall Tue 23-Apr-19 17:17:29

YABU!! We’re the epitome of outdoor people but work FT during the week. Our weekends are spent on hikes, on the beach ( all seasons), in forests, up mountains etc. My happiest childhood memories are of our outings like this. I often wonder if our neighbours think like you about us though. our garden is barely used...... our NDN are the opposite though, their kids are always in the garden - always- but never go anywhere.. they’re fascinated by our outings.
Horses for courses I guess.... it’s a big world. Depends on where you live too. We’re lucky to have such fabulous places on our doorstep 🤷‍♀️

RedRiverShore Tue 23-Apr-19 17:28:17

DS always used to play in the garden, the DC from down the road used to come round and they used to play throwing those water bomb things at each other, that was the favourite game.

Babuchak Tue 23-Apr-19 17:34:04

My kids spent a lot of time in the garden when we can't be bothered or are too busy to go somewhere, so I kind of agree with you. They are not allowed to make themselves a nuisance, you can play without screaming and disrupting the neighbourhood, but they are definitively outside a lot

I do know families, with big gardens, who are NEVER home though. The kids are always taken to any place you can think about - obviously they are wealthy, but it's also a lifestyle choice.

Most of my kids friends ask to go in the garden when they come here too, I can't think of any child I know who would refuse to be outside.

If the families are out, fair enough. If the alternative is kids playing indoors or stuck in front of tv or video games, I do find that tragic and unhealthy.

Justanothershow Tue 23-Apr-19 17:37:20

My DC are in the garden every chance they get. They count down until they are allowed out in the mornings, finish dinner, straight back out etc. Much of the time they are on the trampoline. I do wonder if the neighbors hate us!

We go out too. I don't think it's an either/or thing.We have quite a small house, might be part of it.

ifoundthebread Tue 23-Apr-19 17:39:16

@nofilter you don't live in Washington do you 😂

NoSquirrels Tue 23-Apr-19 17:45:52

Meh - we don't have loads in the garden that's particularly interesting, so they're out there sometimes, but not loads as they get older. Used to more as smaller kids with sand tables and what not to occupy them. On the other hand they'd spend ages in their grandparents' garden as it's huge and more opportunity for tree climbing/den building etc.

Mostly prefer to get them outside on a long walk somewhere, or to the park or whatever.

mellongoose Tue 23-Apr-19 17:46:20

AIBU is MN code for "I must find a way to disagree with the OP despite the asking of a fairly sensible question"

OP I agree with you. When the weather is good surely you'd want the kids to run off a bit of energy in the fresh air. I would find it strange too!

WaxOnFeckOff Tue 23-Apr-19 17:49:35

Mine played out in the back garden constantly until they wanted more freedom and would go to the park or out the front or to the playground from maybe about 8/9. We had a trampoline so they would play in the back sometimes and would bring friends in from time to time, up until maybe about 12 but that was pretty intermittent tbh. I don't think they went in the garden at all after that age. I'd expect babies, toddlers and young DC to be out playing in the garden so YANBU.

Babuchak Tue 23-Apr-19 17:49:38

I also find strange people who NEVER open their windows. Of course they manage their home as they please, I just find it odd.

Lweji Tue 23-Apr-19 17:50:47

There’s been threads about neighbours complaining about children making noise in the garden.

Indeed there have.

You may find it odd, but without knowing why there's no reason why you should be sad for them.

lightsoutxo Tue 23-Apr-19 17:52:05

YABU. Growing up, we had a massive garden and to me, when we were out at the park or out sailing/fishing or out at the theme parks etc, fine. But once my house was in viewing distance, I'd much rather be indoors. When I was a teen, during family BBQs, a lot of them would be hanging around outside "enjoying the sunlight" while little old vampire me would take my plate to somewhere the sun couldn't reach. Shocking, I know.

Just live your life OP, and stop judging other people on the way they choose to live theirs. No one needs your pity.

DontDribbleOnTheCarpet Tue 23-Apr-19 17:52:35

On MN, "I feel so sad about..." usually means "I want to sneer at someone about..." so on that basis alone YABU.
Perhaps the kids used to play outside until some weirdo started staring into their gardens.

lightsoutxo Tue 23-Apr-19 17:57:09

On MN, "I feel so sad about..." usually means "I want to sneer at someone about..." so on that basis alone YABU.

It's a "nice" way of saying "look at me, I'm so enlightened unlike people who do/don't do __"

Babuchak Tue 23-Apr-19 18:02:57

oh come on, if you know the kids are at home but are never outside, it IS sad.

lightsoutxo Tue 23-Apr-19 18:14:50

oh come on, if you know the kids are at home but are never outside, it IS sad.

No it's not. Maybe they've been outside for hours at the park or at football or wherever else and want to rest INDOORS once they're home.

Babuchak Tue 23-Apr-19 18:20:36

or maybe they spend hours glued to a screen.

lightsoutxo Tue 23-Apr-19 18:24:40

You don't know that. For all we know, they're home exhausted after hours out hiking/sailing/football etc. Even if they are at home "glued to the screen", there's really no harm in it as long as it's done in moderation alongside other healthy activities. Stop being so patronising. The world is far bigger than that which you're familiar/comfortable with.

Babuchak Tue 23-Apr-19 18:28:39

you don't know that either smile

lightsoutxo Tue 23-Apr-19 18:29:30

Yes, and that's why I have refrained from passing judgement instead of making statements like this:

oh come on, if you know the kids are at home but are never outside, it IS sad.

lightsoutxo Tue 23-Apr-19 18:29:46


Babuchak Tue 23-Apr-19 18:31:20

and other people have expressed their opinion. And here we are smile

Deadringer Tue 23-Apr-19 18:38:17

I think it's strange too op. Going to the park and friend's houses is great, but it doesn't always suit, as pp said, you need to do stuff around the house sometimes and the garden is right there, a step away, and you said it's a big one, very odd imo to never use it.

lightsoutxo Tue 23-Apr-19 18:40:03

Your initial point was that "it IS sad" when kids are home but are never outside, my counterpoint was that that wasn't necessarily true due to a variety of reasons outlined above. Yours is a "for all cases" type of statement while mine is a "there exist a case where" type of statement. Do you see the difference there?

The crux of it all is that the only judgement I've made so far pertains to the OP judging other people. Never have I made a definitive statement on what's "sad" out there without knowing the full picture.

lightsoutxo Tue 23-Apr-19 18:41:02


megletthesecond Tue 23-Apr-19 18:43:38

There's a house next to me and the children never go in the garden. I can see them watching tv inside.
Their garden is quite nice by the way confused.

justloseit Tue 23-Apr-19 18:44:54

Please get a hobby or a job.

pessimisticstateofperception Tue 23-Apr-19 18:57:55

There's a house next to me and the children never go in the garden. I can see them watching tv inside.

hmm nosy neighbours on this thread.

Babuchak Tue 23-Apr-19 19:00:25

Some people like being watched, there are so many houses without shutters, curtains or blinds grin

loulou0987 Tue 23-Apr-19 19:03:42

You say you’re a sahp, are you in your house all day everyday? Do you never go out for more than an hour? That’s also very odd!

Alsohuman Tue 23-Apr-19 19:09:39

Someone posted a picture of a proper kids' garden the other day and loads of people told how "messy" it was. It wasn't, it just had lots of toys in it. I agree with you, OP. It's weird.

megletthesecond Tue 23-Apr-19 19:13:57

Not necessarily nosey, just living in a cramped estate and can't help noticing what people get up to. Or don't get up to.

IceBearRocks Tue 23-Apr-19 19:14:00

I'm desperately trying to get my 8 and 9 year olds in..they are bouncing on the trampoline, them in the sand pit and the tomato plants now have flowers !?!

DizzyPhillips Tue 23-Apr-19 19:14:53

As a child I hated the pressure to be outdoors as soon as the rain dried up.

Now...I practically launch my kids into the garden at the first sign of a dry day 😂

floppybit Tue 23-Apr-19 19:42:45


BiscuitDrama Tue 23-Apr-19 19:45:52

How can you tell? Genuine question. smile

IronicSeraphim Tue 23-Apr-19 19:57:08

I genuinely hope they are all out doing stuff but it does seem strange to never use the garden. Not even for half an hour between tea and bed time, build a snow man on a Saturday morning.


This will probably get me flamed alive for drip feeding but these are all HA two beds. Lovely houses, garden and area (yes we're very lucky) but very small none the less.

Roselinemac Tue 23-Apr-19 20:37:16

We have a semi with a garden front and back and my kids play out ll the time, we still go to parks but they also love playing out whilst I'm cooking dinner after school for half hour or on a weekend whilst we are having a lazy morning.

Decormad38 Tue 23-Apr-19 20:41:08

My girls always enjoyed hanging out on the trampoline but not so much the garden.

Pinkpanther473 Wed 24-Apr-19 07:01:04

We spent a lot of time in the garden this weekend, probably wouldn’t as much normally but I was potty training so thought I’d take the potty outside in the sunshine.
It was so nice, eating breakfast, playing with her toys outside, I think it made me more relaxed too.
You need some stuff ideally, we’ve got a blow up paddling pool, water pistol, table etc. It was cute watching her spray the plants and paint the outside wall with her water pistol. We didn’t have a garden before so I’m really grateful for this one smile

justloseit Wed 24-Apr-19 07:06:23

Well the thing is OP, poor people don’t give a shit about their kids.

That’s what you wanted everyone to say isn’t it?

ItMustBeBedtimeSurely Wed 24-Apr-19 07:08:32

I think children need free play away from their parents, so if they're not in the garden because they're on supervised outings or just watching TV, then yeah, I think it's a bit sad.

But maybe they're going to the park with their friends, who knows?

Tigger001 Wed 24-Apr-19 07:17:01

My DS loves to be out in the garden, he goes out to play after he has finished his tea until we have supper, (Even wrapped up with a hat and coat on ) but not everyone is the same

I don't think i would probably notice, and I wouldn't imagine the kids to not get any fresh air or outdoor play but I do think it is a waste of a good space if it's an unused garden and sad if they don't want to use it.

slipperywhensparticus Wed 24-Apr-19 07:19:20

Neighbour's complain a lot about renters daring to use the garden

I have druggies at the bottom of my garden the kids want to go out but the stench is appalling

ShinyShoe Wed 24-Apr-19 07:22:22

YABU. My kids are rarely outside regardless of the weather. When they get home from school they are knackered and just want to veg in front of the TV. They’ve been running around doing work and play all day. They need some downtime. School makes them go outside. So nothing wrong in them enjoying their own bedroom or slobbing on the sofa when they get back in my opinion. The worst thing is a pushy parent who won’t just let their kids alone or let their kids relax and recharge their batteries.

IronicSeraphim Wed 24-Apr-19 07:23:05


Who the fuck are you? Kate Fucking Middleton?

InadvertentlyBrilliant Wed 24-Apr-19 07:27:43

How do you actually know this? Isn't there any fencing between your gardens? How can you manage to see 6 gardens?

FlossieTeacakesFurCoat18 Wed 24-Apr-19 07:29:18

@justloseit if they're living in semi detached houses with big gardens they're not likely to be poor confused

I agree it's sad OP. And it's weird that so many people here are like "Maybe they're going on outings / to the park." It's not the same thing at all! Playing in the garden means having a bit of independence from your parents and not having them watching you all the time. I used to spends hours in the garden practising my cartwheels, climbing trees, sitting on a tyre swing reading comics, making mud pies grin It was just like another room of the house, but a lot more spacious!

CondomsAreCnts Wed 24-Apr-19 07:42:23

I take mine to the park rather than garden usually. We live opposite one so the garden seems boring in comparison.

Clankboing Wed 24-Apr-19 07:42:58

I agree OP. My children are in our garden quite a lot though much older now, but so am I. I've also noticed that the park near our house is unused. My son would like to make more friends and goes there but confirms that it's always empty. Similarly the park near my workplace. I can hazard a guess why!!

InadvertentlyBrilliant Wed 24-Apr-19 07:45:02

Maybe they've always gone round to friends and played in their gardens?

TheFaerieQueene Wed 24-Apr-19 07:52:09

It is sad. I spent the vast majority of my childhood outside. It was fun.

Backwoodsgirl Wed 24-Apr-19 07:57:01

We spend as much time in the garden as possible,

MeakTiger Wed 24-Apr-19 08:00:45

Mine are allowed to but rarely do - our garden is small and in shade, the lawn is full of weeds no matter how much I try and sort it out. There are brambles everywhere too. I try and get out there but work with a three hour commute each day and DH works too albeit with a slightly shorter commute.

It’s small and a mess and I don’t know where to start really! So no the kids don’t play outside and I don’t sit outside. Hopefully we can work on it but it will always be small, damp and shady.

Dyrne Wed 24-Apr-19 08:14:07

I have to keep my children out of the sun between 10-3 in the Summer as their skin is extremely sensitive. They may be out playing before and after that time but usually we’ll have gone out for the day to a shady woodland walk or similar.

If someone’s looking into my garden when it’s “lovely and sunny” in the middle of the day they won’t see my children playing; doesn’t mean they’re stuck to their screens all day.

FenellaMaxwell Wed 24-Apr-19 08:21:11

We live 5 mins from the beach and 10 mins from my mum, who has a much bigger and nicer garden, and she spoils DS rotten so he has a nicer playhouse, huge sandpit, climbing frame, slide etc at her house.

We work full time so while we spend a lot of time outdoors at weekends, we prefer to do it somewhere nicer than our small, boring garden.

TinklyLittleLaugh Wed 24-Apr-19 10:08:35

Kids tend to copy their parents too. DH and I eat breakfast outside in the summer and mostly take our coffee out too. We have a table and chairs just outside our patio doors so lots of evening meals are simply relocated to the patio.

It’s a very cheesy phrase, but our garden is an extension of our home.

Rosesaredead Wed 24-Apr-19 10:13:18

Desperately sad is pretty dramatic. Like I'm sure the kids aren't imprisoned in their rooms. I didn't play in my own garden much as a kid because I was always out and about - in the park, at the beach, or the country park, or swimming, playing tennis, museums, doing hobbies, etc. Much more fun than pottering in the garden.

BigRedLondonBus Wed 24-Apr-19 10:15:47

Do you feel “desperately sad” for all the kids that live in flats then that have no outside space at all? I live in london, plenty of families with small children in high rise flats.

NataliaOsipova Wed 24-Apr-19 10:21:52

oh come on, if you know the kids are at home but are never outside, it IS sad.

Not everybody is an outdoorsy person. I’m absolutely not. I never go outside “for choice”; always prefer to sit/eat indoors. My kids aren’t particularly outdoorsy (although they do sometimes enjoy playing out, more often than not they choose to play inside). What’s “sad” about it?

loulou0987 Wed 24-Apr-19 10:52:32

Build a snowman on a Saturday morning? Are you in the UK op?
If you are outside spending quality time with your children (building snowmen) how can you see what they are doing?

nethunsreject Wed 24-Apr-19 10:54:46

I agree with you, op. My neighbour never lets her kids play in the garden: it's 'hers', apparently. Ffs.

balloonyellow Wed 24-Apr-19 11:22:58

Mine have played in the garden probably twice. Paving is cracked and could trip etc. Plus smoking neighbours and their dog mess. She plays outside daily at preschool and we go to the park, walks out etc. It’s a lot to presume from garden use

HairycakeLinehan Wed 24-Apr-19 12:45:05

How on earth have you even noticed this OP?
I genuinely couldn’t tell you what my neighbors are up to unless they’re encroaching on me in some way. I’m far too busy in and out, walking ddogs, heading out for the day, getting the bbq going, if it is snowing on a random Saturday morning (rare) then I’m getting stuck in and playing with DD.

I think it’s “desperately sad” that you seem to be watching this house so much you know the families movements and “moved” so much by it you start a thread on MN about these people who could be all off out at different activities, hiking, camping, spending a weekend with grandparents etc.
Get a life.

IronicSeraphim Wed 24-Apr-19 16:14:56

I'm actually amazed at all these days people who are so totally and utterly engrossed in everything they do, that they are completely oblivious to everything going on around them.

Must be nice to be so focused!

Lweji Wed 24-Apr-19 16:24:30

It even feels nicer not to stake out the neighbours' houses.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Get started »