Author Topic: Another playground question  (Read 5866 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

shygirl

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1324
Another playground question
« on: September 25, 2012, 08:30:17 AM »
I took my 2yo son to a park yesterday.  My son doesn't go anywhere without a toy car in his hand.  Sometimes, he has one for each hand.  If he had three hands, it's very possible he would take 3 toy cars with him.

So anyway, we went to the park and the very second he climbed onto some of the playground equipment, a little boy I'm estimating was around 5 years old and a girl who I'm assuming was his big sister, glommed onto my kid and his toy car.  The boy was enamored with the car, and asked me a whole bunch of questions about it.  Like, was that specific car my kid's favorite car, does he have a lot of toy cars, how does it work, etc.  The boy was also blocking the way up onto the playground equipment, so my son just started vroom-vrooming with his car on the step where he was stuck.  The boy apparently saw this as an invitation to play and just took the toy out of my son's hand.  I asked him to please give the car back to my son, and I was glad that he did without any arguing.  The boy tried briefly to get my son to "play with him" and I'm guessing share the car, but that wasn't happening.

I looked around to see where his adult was, but there was nobody around.  There was another mom playing with her toddler daughter, but she wasn't related to this boy.  My son ran to another part of the playground, and was trying to play with his toy car but the boy followed him.  Then, he just directly asked me if he could have the car.  I said no.  He asked a lot of time, directly and indirectly, and I think tried to make me feel guilty by saying he didn't have any cars like that.  I was starting to get annoyed, so I told him to go ask his mother.  He said "ask my mom for that car?"  What?? I said "no, just ask her for a car". 

Sheesh!  It was clear that no amount of politely telling him he can't have my son's car was working, so I just started ignoring him and tried to get my son to move away.  Fortunately, after oozing down the slide once, my kid was ready to leave (this is standard for him), so we left.  I felt bad for the other mom though, because now those 2 older kids were bothering her and her daughter.

As I was walking home, I was thinking about different ways to handle annoying children who won't leave you alone and who don't seem to have a parent or guardian watching them.  My first thought was don't refer to a mother, and maybe ask if an adult is with them.  You never know, maybe the kids live just with their dad or the mother is not in their life.

Any other ideas?  I think I need some more ideas since my son's need to have a toy car in his hands at all times has attracted the attention of other children often!

SleepyKitty

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 576
  • Quid plura?
Re: Another playground question
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2012, 09:44:48 AM »
My standard disclaimer: I'm not a parent.  ;) But I did nanny for almost five years, and our daily walk was to the park/playground. The boy I watched (B) was very adult-orientated and didn't really like other kids when he was 2-3 years old (he did grow out of that!), so I ran interference for him when well-meaning kids wanted to play. I don't see anything wrong with just asking the kids to leave your son alone nicely. You don't have to sugar coat things for kids, and they just don't pick up on nice hints. Use a little white lie to avoid hurting the kid's feelings, but be direct. If your son is trying to play at the corner of the park in the grass or something, try: "Hey, thanks for hanging out guys, but my son is still a lot younger and he wants to play alone with his car. Please leave him alone so he can."

If your son is using the equipment, it's a little trickier, but you could try: "My son's still a lot younger than you guys, and he gets nervous and prefers to play alone. Can you give him some room so he can ooze down the slide once and then we'll go to OtherPartOfThePark to play alone so you two can use the slide?" (Or swings, or whatever.)

I did once have to get rather firm with a boy of around seven who would just not leave B alone. I think B was 3, maybe 3 1/2 when it happened. The other boy wasn't being mean, but kept trying to force B to play with him and share his stuff when B just wanted to be left alone. B got very frustrated and upset, and I didn't want to leave because we hadn't been at the park very long - we had a picnic lunch and everything, and B would have been really disappointed to miss out on our day. We were in the grass, not on the playground equipment, so I finally put my hand out in the STOP motion and said: "B does not want to play with you. I'm sorry it didn't work out, but you need to let us play alone now. Please go somewhere else."

Anyway, long story short - just be clear and direct but not mean about what you want from the older kids and I think you'll be firmly within the bounds of etiquette.

SPuck

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 994
Re: Another playground question
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2012, 10:08:56 AM »
I agree that if the white like works use it. If you have a kid that persists, stop acting "sweet", and just use firm body language. If some kid is bothering you just look them in the eye and say "My son does not want to play with other children." And say it in a clear and commanding voice. 

Virg

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5884
Re: Another playground question
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2012, 10:10:17 AM »
My discalimer is that I have kids and have lots of hours watching kids in my background, and I agree entirely with SleepyKitty.  As long as you're not mean, you can (and often must) be direct in requests for younger kids.  "Please leave him alone today" isn't rude but it tells a child exactly what you'd like them to do, because kids under ten really don't pick up on subtlety very often or very well.  Stay positive and keep your statements limited to where your authority is (that is, don't tell other kids not to do something unless it's directly affecting you and don't try to tell them things like "you have to get off the swings" or such) and you'll have a lot better luck.  For your particular situation, "Please leave him alone to play with his car" would have been acceptable and probably more effective than trying to ignore him.

Virg

Betelnut

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3792
Re: Another playground question
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2012, 11:25:02 AM »
I do like addressing the child directly.  Recently, while at the pool, a child came and started to literally take my daughter's water pistol stick from her hands.  I said, "She just got that toy and wants to play with it."
Native Texan, Marylander currently

shygirl

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1324
Re: Another playground question
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2012, 12:18:15 PM »
My discalimer is that I have kids and have lots of hours watching kids in my background, and I agree entirely with SleepyKitty.  As long as you're not mean, you can (and often must) be direct in requests for younger kids.  "Please leave him alone today" isn't rude but it tells a child exactly what you'd like them to do, because kids under ten really don't pick up on subtlety very often or very well.  Stay positive and keep your statements limited to where your authority is (that is, don't tell other kids not to do something unless it's directly affecting you and don't try to tell them things like "you have to get off the swings" or such) and you'll have a lot better luck.  For your particular situation, "Please leave him alone to play with his car" would have been acceptable and probably more effective than trying to ignore him.

Virg

I didn't try telling him that my son wanted to play with his car by himself.  That's a good idea, and if there is a next time I should try that.  It seemed from most of the boy's questions, his actual intent was that he just wanted the toy car not that he really wanted to play with my son.  I only started ignoring him after several times of telling him he can't have my son's car.  The boy also offered to trade a ninja for the toy car.  I'm not sure where he was going to get this ninja, but I did politely say "no thanks".

Rohanna

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2321
Re: Another playground question
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2012, 06:53:57 PM »
To be honest, I really dislike when small children bring personal toys to the playground/playplace/bookstore. I know there's not usually a rule against it (McD's usually says "no toys on play equipment", and the splashpads don't allow water guns), but it just makes everything harder than it needs to be. I don't mind policing behaviour, but it gets *very* tiring following a small child around saying "no that's not yours honey" 800 times, when I'd rather let him have a bit of independance and practice taking turns and interacting with his peers. I don't want to worry that my child might accidentally break your child's toy in the process of playing appropriately (as I saw when a small child dropped a toy and another child stepped on it while running- that nearly got ugly). I don't want my child getting hurt if he slips on a now abandoned toy. 

That's why my children have a "no toys on public equipment/in play places that you won't share"- my eldest knows and will say to me "That's so no one thinks they can play with it, right?" At the beach or in the park? Fine- because you can stake out a patch to play on...but on equipment everyone is using? No- it just complicates things that are supposed to be fun.
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. ~ Jack Layton.

starlight

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 965
Re: Another playground question
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2012, 07:21:19 PM »
Kids that young don't really understand body language or tone.  They need to be taught.  My daughter's preschool is really big on teaching the kids, starting at age 2, how to read other people's body language.  An oft heard phrase is "Look at her/his face.  What are they feeling?" and then discussing it.  You could easily translate that into a teachable moment at the playground.

"Look at Son's face.  Do you see how happy he is playing with his care?  He is really enjoying playing with his car and doesn't want to share.  It's his special toy."  You've been direct, polite and given the offending child a chance to see your son as a human, not just an obstacle to the toy he wants.

From there, become more firm as need be.  Too many kids today simply don't know how to be empathetic.  No one teaches them how.  When you take a moment to show them that this other person has feelings, thoughts and emotions too, they seem to respond really well. 

Iris

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3867
Re: Another playground question
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2012, 09:06:57 PM »
To be honest, I really dislike when small children bring personal toys to the playground/playplace/bookstore. I know there's not usually a rule against it (McD's usually says "no toys on play equipment", and the splashpads don't allow water guns), but it just makes everything harder than it needs to be. I don't mind policing behaviour, but it gets *very* tiring following a small child around saying "no that's not yours honey" 800 times, when I'd rather let him have a bit of independance and practice taking turns and interacting with his peers. I don't want to worry that my child might accidentally break your child's toy in the process of playing appropriately (as I saw when a small child dropped a toy and another child stepped on it while running- that nearly got ugly). I don't want my child getting hurt if he slips on a now abandoned toy. 

That's why my children have a "no toys on public equipment/in play places that you won't share"- my eldest knows and will say to me "That's so no one thinks they can play with it, right?" At the beach or in the park? Fine- because you can stake out a patch to play on...but on equipment everyone is using? No- it just complicates things that are supposed to be fun.

FWIW I had the same rule. Toys could come to the park with us but when DDs went off to play on the communal equipment the toys had to stay with me.
"Can't do anything with children, can you?" the woman said.

Poirot thought you could, but forebore to say so.

shygirl

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1324
Re: Another playground question
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2012, 09:37:02 PM »
To be honest, I really dislike when small children bring personal toys to the playground/playplace/bookstore. I know there's not usually a rule against it (McD's usually says "no toys on play equipment", and the splashpads don't allow water guns), but it just makes everything harder than it needs to be. I don't mind policing behaviour, but it gets *very* tiring following a small child around saying "no that's not yours honey" 800 times, when I'd rather let him have a bit of independance and practice taking turns and interacting with his peers. I don't want to worry that my child might accidentally break your child's toy in the process of playing appropriately (as I saw when a small child dropped a toy and another child stepped on it while running- that nearly got ugly). I don't want my child getting hurt if he slips on a now abandoned toy. 

That's why my children have a "no toys on public equipment/in play places that you won't share"- my eldest knows and will say to me "That's so no one thinks they can play with it, right?" At the beach or in the park? Fine- because you can stake out a patch to play on...but on equipment everyone is using? No- it just complicates things that are supposed to be fun.

FWIW I had the same rule. Toys could come to the park with us but when DDs went off to play on the communal equipment the toys had to stay with me.

That probably would not work for us right now.  I've attempted to get him to leave the car at this stroller and then go play, but he refuses, and starts screaming and crying.  This is not a battle I want to fight right now.

Maybe when he's a bit older and can understand more, we'll give this another shot, but for now it's not an option.

Jones

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2637
Re: Another playground question
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2012, 11:13:26 AM »
Honestly, my kids haven't (so far) needed a "comfort toy" to the extent that they had to have it everywhere they went. We have seen other kids using their own toys though, and it's been a great lesson for mine to learn that not everything in the world is communal property, and while Susie might have a purple bear she won't share, you have a brown bear you left at home and whether or not Susie shares is her choice.

I think you are fine with how you dealt with the little boy, OP. It always frustrates me to see children in public without an obvious parent, both for the safety aspect of it and because inevitably those are the kids who need parental intervention the most.

BeagleMommy

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3231
Re: Another playground question
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2012, 11:24:52 AM »
I think I would have said to the older child "I've already told you twice that you cannot have my DS's car.  It is time for you to go back to whomever brought you to the park.".  It is time for this child to learn that just because you ask for something, politely or otherwise, doesn't mean you get it.

Betelnut

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3792
Re: Another playground question
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2012, 11:28:12 AM »
To be honest, I really dislike when small children bring personal toys to the playground/playplace/bookstore. I know there's not usually a rule against it (McD's usually says "no toys on play equipment", and the splashpads don't allow water guns), but it just makes everything harder than it needs to be. I don't mind policing behaviour, but it gets *very* tiring following a small child around saying "no that's not yours honey" 800 times, when I'd rather let him have a bit of independance and practice taking turns and interacting with his peers. I don't want to worry that my child might accidentally break your child's toy in the process of playing appropriately (as I saw when a small child dropped a toy and another child stepped on it while running- that nearly got ugly). I don't want my child getting hurt if he slips on a now abandoned toy. 

That's why my children have a "no toys on public equipment/in play places that you won't share"- my eldest knows and will say to me "That's so no one thinks they can play with it, right?" At the beach or in the park? Fine- because you can stake out a patch to play on...but on equipment everyone is using? No- it just complicates things that are supposed to be fun.

It doesn't bother me if other kids do it (bring toys in).  It is a very good lesson for my child to realize, "Hey, I can't just run up and grab that toy away!"  I figure it is part of teaching my child how to socialize with other children.
Native Texan, Marylander currently

MommyPenguin

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4562
    • My blog!
Re: Another playground question
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2012, 11:34:04 AM »
To me, also, there's a big difference between a kid bringing one or two toys that stay in the child's hands/possession at all times, and between bringing a bunch of things and leaving them lying about with no apparent owner.  Kid brings two toy cars to the park to vroom through the sand, or a kid brings a favorite stuffed bear?  Fine.  Kid brings a whole set of army men and attempts to set them up all over the sandbox amongst the other kids playing there, then yells if they move one, or kid brings a bunch of Barbies and leaves them all around?  Not so fine.

Betelnut

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3792
Re: Another playground question
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2012, 11:45:50 AM »
We frequently bring a big bucket of sand toys to our local playground that has a huge sandbox.  My daughter HAS to share--that's the rule.  I do spend a lot of time sort of supervising the whole operation and I do pick up every sand toy and put them back in the bucket and then back in the car if my daughter wants to switch to the swings or other playground activities.

I figure supervising play (if not being active) is part of being a parent.  It actually sort of bugs me when a parent brings his/her kid to the playground and then sits and looks at his/her smartphone the whole time.  My kid, at least, wants to play with someone and, since we come alone, that is me.  (If the kid HAS come with a bunch of other kids, the parent can checkout a bit more, but not so much that the parent isn't aware of what is going on.)
Native Texan, Marylander currently