the playground

[deleted account] ( 20 moms have responded )

Last week I took my daughter to the zoo. This is a trip that always includes going to the playground...the best playground in town. There was one other child already there who happened to be about my daughter's age (3). They took off playing. I sat my rear on the bench and entertained the baby.

A few minutes later a grandmother with two children entered into the zoo's playground. She had a girl that was about the age of my daughter and her new playground friend. She also had a boy who was about 18 months old.

Like most playgrounds these days, it has a large structure and a smaller structure for very small kids. My daughter spends her time equally between the two structures. The grandmother instructed the older girl not to play on the big playground, because baby brother would follow. She kept running towards my daughter and the other girl, but the grandmother would call her back. Finally she ran for it, brother followed, and tripped and hit his head on the side of the large structure. Grandmother scooped him up and told the older girl, "This is why you can't play on the big playground. He'll get hurt." They promptly left.

Maybe there's more to this (I am just an outsider just seeing 5 minutes of this family's life), but I had two problems with this.

1. Children should be allowed to explore and tumble and fall.
2. Why hold the older child back from doing something she is capable of doing? It doesn't seem fair.

And I'm throwing in an article about the importance of roughhousing and letting kids fall. Just because I stumbled across it, and it kind of fits.

Other thoughts?


Rosie - posted on 11/12/2011




probably not, lol. i'd be afraid that a bigger kid would soon get on it. maybe she's (the grandma) not capable of physically getting on the playground herself? my mom looks like she is, but really isn't able to do much after having two knees replaced. idk.

Medic - posted on 11/12/2011




I don't agree with the grandmother, how hard is it to follow and help one child if the other is capable. My son is 5 and my daughter is 21 months and they both go and play on the big structure, and yes I have to get my fat lazy ass off the bench and help the little one but its a freaking PLAY GROUND.

Ez - posted on 11/12/2011




I agree with you too Sara. I don't wrap my toddler in cotton wool. If she wants to climb the big stuff, she can. If she just wants to watch the bigger kids, that's fine too. They soon figure out what they're capable of and what's still a bit out of their reach.

As for holding the older child back, that is totally unfair. Why couldn't the grandmother occupy the little one while the older girl explored? Sounds like she's just lazy to be honest, and doesn't want to have to deal with two kids doing two different things.


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[deleted account]

Just return with the older kid next time.

I have a 2 year old who is not afraid of anything.She wants to be like her big sis.She will go for the big slide no problem and go down it.Its not suitable for a child her age for a reason.She has hurt herself.Theres no saying she will learn to not go back to the slide.She did not learn lol.

She can't comprehend she is to small for the older playground equipment.So what we do is take her to the playground were it is divided into 2 age groups.Dad takes our oldest in to hers and i stay with our 2 year old in her age appropriate playground.

Were she cannot climb to the top of things and hurt herself.There all safe.Shes then not frustrated by not being allowed to go on things were she has fallen and hurt herself.I hurt myself trying to catch her as i saw it coming.:-(

Becky - posted on 11/12/2011




My 2 are only 18 months apart and the little one is his big brother's shadow. If Cole is doing it, Zach is doing it. I can think of a couple of times when I have told Cole not to do something because it was a bad example for Zach, but I've never held him back from something because Zach couldn't do it. Zach is actually more of a daredevil than his older brother, if that's possible. I can see many heart attacks in my future! lol But anyways, if I am concerned about the younger one, I will stay close by.
I can see what Mary said being the case though. I would be a lot more cautious about someone else's child than I am with my own, both because I know my own kids' abilities better and because I don't want someone else to blame me for their child getting hurt.

Mary - posted on 11/12/2011




Sara, I wonder if it was because she was the grandmother, and not their mother? I am much more lax with Molly than my dad is; girlfriend has been on the "big"kid's part of the playground since she was 2. However, I have noticed that my dad is much more cautious with her (and my sister's kids) than he ever was with us when we were children. Some of it is probably that I am much more comfortable with knowing both her capabilities and limitations, but I think a bigger part of it is that I am only answerable to myself if she is somehow injured. I think my dad worries that if she is somehow harmed when he has her, that I will fault him for being negligent, and it makes him so much more hovering than he was with me. Hell, it was the 70's when I was dad was on his tractor, mowing the grass with a beer in one hand, cigar in the other, while my sister and I were climbing huge trees! He would NEVER do that my niece, nephew and daughter. He isn't even comfortable with her being on a different floor of the house if he's on his own with her.

Corinne - posted on 11/12/2011




I play rough with my kids and let them go on the big equipment as and when they want, if they need help, they call but they usually don't. My M.I.L is a heli, back when we were talking, we'd take the kids to the park and she was always up their rear end. We had several talks about it and Mike even sat her down to tell her to take a step back. The article rings true though, she's big on the academics, three degrees and thinks I'm dumb cause I choose not to go to uni.

[deleted account]

As far as the older kids plowing into the younger ones...would it make your answer different to know that the ONLY kids on the playground were two 3 year olds? And does it change your mind that the younger one never actually played on the big playground. He just so happened to fall and trip and bump his head on it as he was running towards it. I mean, kids fall. Yes, be cautious. There have been times we've left a playground, because teenagers were taking over. But to me, this was overly cautious. It would have been fairly easy to let the small kid at least climb the steps of the large structure while holding his hand. I've even gotten on structures with Eliza when she was younger (when there were very few kids there) so she could play.

Rosie - posted on 11/12/2011




i actually agree somewhat with what the grandmother did. she obviously knew what would happen if the girl went on the bigger playground, and was trying to prevent him getting hurt the best she could. also, i'm not fond of letting younger kids go on bigger playground equipment. i've had too many incidences of my children falling, or being plowed over by older children. i don't let them on the bigger playground until i feel secure in their ability to be on their own, which was just recently for my youngest who is 4. he is small for his age though, so maybe that's why? anyway, i'm sure this grandmother knew what the children were capable of and was trying to protect them.

i'm all for letting kids's just that when i KNOW they are bound to get hurt i'm not going to purposely put them in a situation that will cause that.

Janice - posted on 11/12/2011




I definitely believe children need to explore, tumble and fall. My daughter is a clutz and makes other people so nervous but really she is fine. My short 2 year old still climbs rather than walks up steps and my BIL was constantly making worried comments when we all went out trick or treating (his daughter is 5 mo. older and taller). She was fine, even though she did stumble a few times, but he looked at me like I was a terrible mom. Oh well.

I do agree that the grandmothers response was not the best. However, I'm assuming she was "old" and maybe helping the 18 month old navigate the bigger climber wasn't an option for her. I think it was a tough situation. Yes the little girl should be able to play with her peers and on her level but there also is a time to listen and play where grandma has asked. I just hope that this situation is always occurring in the little girls life, but we will never know.

[deleted account]

My thought (w/out reading responses yet) is that Grandma should've let the girl play AND she should've followed baby brother so he could play too.

Of course, I should add that I've never had to do that. ;) The first two were, obviously, on the same developmental level and by the time number 3 was old enough to follow.... they were old enough to look out for him and help him.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/12/2011




Also, if you have 2 son is 5 and my daughter is 19 months. It is very difficult to distract her when it comes to things like this. She gets something in her sights, and that is it. Some kids don't distract easy. I usually will go on the equipment with her to keep her safe, but for whatever the grandmother didn't do that is her business.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/12/2011




I have told my son he cannot do things because his sister will try also. He is allowed to do these things when she is not around. As she is getting older, she is getting braver. I tell my son these things so he knows how to behave around his sister incase I am out of sight range. Not necessarily at a playground (duh, always have my eyes on everyone). i don't think this lady was out of line. For whatever reason she did not feel comfortable with the little one on the bigger structure is her business. I have seen many parents nervous about larger structures, and get nervous myself when i see the big drop points, or older children running wild without disregard for the littler children on them. Playgrounds can be very fun, but also very dangerous.

Krista - posted on 11/12/2011




I'm with Erin -- why could the grandmother have not just occupied the little one while the older one played on the big structure?

Jeannette - posted on 11/11/2011




I tend to agree with you Sara. I have three kids and holding the oldest one back (there's 5 years difference) would affect her. I played alongside my younger children while the oldest one ran to play with the bigger kids, and if they put up too much of a fuss, well I got right on the equipment with them to let them have fun with their older sister. Also, letting kids fall teaches them something about consequences, even if just for a few moments or hours, they are learning. Learning to ride a bike without training wheels - you fall, it hurts, you try very hard not to do that again.
This was a good article, so glad I was not the 'helicopter parent'.

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