Just Came Back from a Playdate and Now I'm Curious.....(73 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?
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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.
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.
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!
When s1 started pre school they pointed out he was a "mouther".
He's now 6 foot and still chews everything.
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.
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.
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.
Stairs, do you walk up behind them just incase or just let them go?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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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
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).
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!
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'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!
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