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Just Came Back from a Playdate and Now I'm Curious.....

(73 Posts)
MyShoofly Tue 23-Apr-13 21:48:48

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 blush.

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?

mamacoffee Tue 23-Apr-13 22:28:37

I would definitely have checked in them. Otherwise it's all a bit lord of of the flies

MyShoofly Tue 23-Apr-13 22:29:23

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.

FunnysInLaJardin Tue 23-Apr-13 22:30:03

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?

Smithsgirl88 Tue 23-Apr-13 22:31:09

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.

OutragedFromLeeds Tue 23-Apr-13 22:32:15

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 smile.

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!

intheshed Tue 23-Apr-13 22:33:37

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 grin

However, I still slice grapes for my 5yo's lunchbox!

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 23-Apr-13 22:33:43

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 wink

Sirzy Tue 23-Apr-13 22:35:03

It's ok I take food up to him occasionally wink

EverybodysSootyEyed Tue 23-Apr-13 22:35:36

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

5318008 Tue 23-Apr-13 22:37:30

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.

MyShoofly Tue 23-Apr-13 22:42:56

I would also say 2.5 is very old to still be eating playdough!

I totally agree blush. 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.

BackforGood Tue 23-Apr-13 22:43:03

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.

steppemum Tue 23-Apr-13 22:49:32

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

InSync Tue 23-Apr-13 22:57:13

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 wink.

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.

lucybrad Tue 23-Apr-13 22:58:07

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 blush.

OhHullitsOnlyMeYoni Tue 23-Apr-13 23:08:40

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?

MyShoofly Tue 23-Apr-13 23:16:19

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.

IsItMeOr Tue 23-Apr-13 23:23:57

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...

QuintessentialOHara Tue 23-Apr-13 23:26:44

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".

donttrythisathome Tue 23-Apr-13 23:26:50

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.

steppemum Tue 23-Apr-13 23:27:10

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.

olgaga Tue 23-Apr-13 23:28:29

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.

steppemum Tue 23-Apr-13 23:36:56

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.

MoelFammau Wed 24-Apr-13 03:12:41

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!

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Wed 24-Apr-13 03:48:30

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.

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