what should I do about neighbourhood kid

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Registered: 03-26-2003
what should I do about neighbourhood kid
10
Sat, 05-24-2003 - 6:07pm
Hi all, I am just so bothered right now and I don't know what I should do about this or if I just need to relax a bit. O.k. so here is my problem..my son is 4yrs old, will be 5yrs in july. He is an only child. My husband and I are always out and playing with our son. One of us are always outside with him if he is biking around the neighbourhood or in the front yard..we don't mind him playing in the backyard by himself as it is all fenced. The problem being is it seems like our house has become the neighbourhood drop-off for all the kids who's parents don't bother with their kids. Some of the kids stay hours at our home playing with our son. We have to actually tell the kids to go home after we've had enough., Just last weekend a boy from the neighbourhood we had never met before, came over with our next door neighbours son to play with our son. The next door neighbour left, and this unknown child spent the whole afternoon and early evening with us. This child is only 5yrs old. We have never met his parents. Now again today he shows up and spends another four hours with us. He is a nice boy,but i'm a bit bothered that his parents haven't even bothered to come and introduce themselves since we are babysitting their child. They sent their daughter to come fetch him home.Ergh!!! The kids in our neighbourhood are so unsupervised it makes me sick. These kids are four and five years old and they are biking around by themselves, hanging around wherever, and it is irritating the hell out of me. I take pride in spending time with my child, and I don't get how parents can just let their kids go wherever, whenever, just push them off for someone else to watch. Yes, my son likes playing with the kids, but I feel like I am being put in a situation i'd rather not take on. All I can see is the summer is coming, school out and I'm going to have four or five extra kids to supervise daily. I know my son benefits from the interaction..but how do I tell these families that I don't appreciate their kids living at my house. Jesh, I give them drinks when they are thirsty, and snacks. I should charge for my babysitting. I guess I just don't want to be taken advantage of. I feel angry that these parents could care less about their kids. What are they doing while their kids are running all over the neighbourhood? What should I do? How can I set boundaries in this matter without offending, or seculding my child? I know eventually I will have to let my child go play on his own, but I think four years old is a bit too young. How old were your kids when you let them go out on their own? My child has severe allergies, so I would not think of dropping him off at one of these kids homes and leave him for a few hours. The parents can't even take care of their kids. WHat do you think I should do? Suzanne
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Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 05-24-2003 - 6:48pm
It is so nice to hear that the kids have a safe place to play. I see your higher power trusts you with a lot! *wink* I think there are a few things you can do to make your life easier.

Ask if the kids' parents are awae that they are there. Send them home to tell their parents. You'd be surprised how many kids escape the real of mom and dad's comfort! LOL Also, I would not supply snacks and drinks for all of those children if I couldn't. If they get hungry or thirsty, "Let your mom and dad know that you are hungry (thirsty)." Also, I would tell kids after a certain point that all company needs to go home now. It is family time. They probably won't give you a hard time about it. Don't feel badly for having your views and opinions. Just inform the children of your expectations so they are aware of your rules. You could always have them have their parents call you if you really want to know them, KWIM?

Parents DO let teir kids wander around and I personally don't agree with that, BUT we all know that not one opinion rules the world, LOL! Just share your family's rules and expectations so they know how to behave and what to expect at YOUR house.

I hope this helped a bit!

Janet =)

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 05-24-2003 - 8:06pm
Janet, thanks for your input in this matter. I guess I should take it like a compliment if they like being here, but sometimes it gets to be too much. I do make a point to ask if their parents know they are at my house. But one concern I have is..if the kids are at my house in the backyard, I feel it absolutely necessary to be out there with them because we have a pond. It is all fenced around it, but you know how kids are.and it takes just a moment for something to happen. Plus, you know if something ever did happen, the parents would be pointing the finger at me. Even though I did not ask for their kids to be at my house. I completely trust my son, but other kids I don't know about. I have even planted planters around the fence around the pond..and planted high plants to add as an extra deterent. But the first thing the kids do when they come in is run to look at the pond. I guess I just don't understand parents who let their kids wonder off at such a young age. I know if my 4yr old was gone for four hours I would be checking up on him. But the parents don't even bother to check up. As you can see I'm still heated about this topic. But thank-you for your kind words. I guess the positive point is I can keep an eye on my child..but then again I always do anyway so that's a given. Sorry about rambling on again. SUzanne
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Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 05-24-2003 - 8:56pm
Hello....I really understand your point about letting 4 and 5 year olds wonder the neighborhood. My DH and I are always out with our 4.5 year old son, front yard or back yard. We have recently had some new neighbors move in across the street and they have 2 girls ages 8 and 9. Both of the girls love to play with my son. They will come over and ask if he can come out to play...and he wants to see if they can play if they aren't already outside. And, their mom has commented to us that we are always outside with the kids. I really wanted to say that is because he is only 4...but I didn't. The mom did tell me that she feels better letting her kids play knowing that we are there. Which does make us feel better. Now that he is playing with these girls, he is also playing with other kids that come to play also. Last week, we invited the girls from across the street to swim in our pool(blow-up kind)...well long story short, we ended up with 4 kids plus my son in the pool. One girl actually just showed up with towel in hand and her swim suit on and asked if she could swim(she said her mom knew about her swimming). I had only met her 2 times, but we let her swim this time. We did tell her that next time we would need to speak with her mom first.

Anyway, I grew up where everyone in the neighborhood was at my house and I can tell you that it was the best. Everyone knew my parents and my parents knew my friends. My DH and I have talked about this very subject and have decided that we WANT to have all the kids at our house...so we make fun for them. We make it where they want to come and play with our son. That way we can get to know them, find out which ones are good ones and which ones we will keep an eye on. As for the snacks and drinks, you can provide them but I wouldn't provide expensive ones. Instead of juice or kool-aid...serve water...just use what your son would eat and make it simple. Or, if you really do not want to serve anything...simply tell the kids that they will have to go home for snacks and drinks. Also, when it is time to eat or for them to go home, just tell them so and open the door. I have found it helpful to set a timer and when the timer goes off, everyone goes home. Sometimes, you really do have to be very blunt with other kids(ie..it is time to go home now) and if they keep coming back to play then they really like it there. And that is one huge compliment.

I really do understand you frusteration over the parents lack of involvement and at such at their child's young age. But, at least you know where your son is and who he is playing with. Try not to worry to much and really get to know and enjoy the kids. If your son is enjoying the other kids then it is worth it. Maybe you can suggest a "cookout" one time where everyone brings a dish. That way you get to know the parents as well...just a thought.

Good luck

Joy

Avatar for imomtojd
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 05-24-2003 - 10:22pm
Lurker here. I've actually told a few kids that they were welcome to play in our yard if their parents were with them, but couldn't take responsibility for them otherwise. I do let DS play at our two neighbors yards and visa versa, but any other kids need to have their own parental supervision. Also, I do agree with the other poster that said if a child says he's hungry/thirsty then just suggest they go home for a snack. Take care, Lisa
Avatar for behind_blue_eyes
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 05-25-2003 - 12:31am
I sooooooo hear ya on being upset with parents who don't seem to care where their children are. We have a family who just moved in down the street from us (across the street, about 6 houses away, with a side street between the 4th and 5th house) who's kids are 6 (the boy) and 11 (the girl). I have seen these two children up and down the street, crossing on their bikes back and forth (our street is kind-of busy) and out til almost 9 p.m.! Just recently they have come over to play with Joshua. (Josh plays with the boy across the street from us and he and the new boy have become friends). Since meeting them (about a week and a half ago) they have been over every day. The thing is though, I'd rather have them at my home. I'd much rather the kids play here where I can keep an eye on them rather than Joshua wanting to go over someone else's home. Also, I'm glad they feel comfortable and welcome at my home. I feel so bad for these kids, the mom just doesn't seem to care where they are or how long they're gone from home. They were over my house ALL DAY last weekend. I'm sure she thought they were across the street at another boys home. Not once did I see or hear the mom looking for them or calling for them. One time when I was out in the yard talking with the girl, I seen her mom and boyfriend drive away! I asked the girl if that was her mom and the girl was just like, "I wonder where they're going." So nonchelaunt-like. (So sad to me!) Three days ago I finally met her. She was walking down the street yelling out her sons name, and I went out to introduce myself to her so she would know who I was and who's home her children have been playing at. It scares me to no end that these parents could care less about where their child is at this young age!

Anyway, if your OK with the kids playing at your home go with it. You know WHERE your child is and WHO he's with. Just make sure they realize and understand your rules for your home. If they can't abide by your rules, they aren't allowed to play there. As for the snacks and drinks, what I have done if I don't have plenty available is tell them they need to go home and let their parent(s) know they are hungry and/or thirsty. When it's time for them to go home, I let them know they have (say) 5 minutes and then it's time for the boys to come in, and they can see them another day (or later, depending).

Try thinking about this in a different way, you have a fun, safe place for the neighborhood kids to play!

~Lynda

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Registered: 03-27-2003
Sun, 05-25-2003 - 9:08am
The pond is the issue! Well, that's adifferent story! Do you have insurance to cover you if anything happened? Make sure financially you are all set for accidents and liability, Suzanne.

Now, about the kids, I would send them home NO DOUBT! "I'm not outside right now so I can't have anyone in the yard. Please wait until I am outside and am ready for company." or you could even tell them, "You can't come into the yard unless your parent comes with you." PERIOD! That should take care of it! LOL!! I would also suggest posting a sign up front where EVERYONE CAN SEE: No trespassing! (SP?) If you know where these kids live, I would pay a phone call or visit to their house and let the parents know what your issue is. You simply can't be held responsibile for others safety to that point. It's YOUR yard and with your family...fine. Other than that, no way!

HTH

Janet =)

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Sun, 05-25-2003 - 6:43pm
I can certainly understand where you are coming from. We have two kids (8 ds & 4 dd), next door there are two kids (boy 7 & girl 3). The four kids play outside together all the time, the two yards are like one big yard. We certainly have no problems with it. Some kids in the neighbourhood are always on the run. They will call to see if they can come and play, most of these kids will come and their parents will take a nap or go into town shopping. I refuse to be a sitter for them. If children just drop by, I simply say that I am not supplying snacks and drinks for everyone. If the children play rough or are causing a fuss, I simply tell them that they must stop or leave. The kids next door have the same rules that my kids do, and we do supply them with snacks just as the neighbour will give our kids snacks. I don't like the kids spending time with the kids that run around town. Just last week, three young boys (ages 7, 6, and 5) went into the woods alone. I will not let my kids go with these children. Our children know that they are not allowed on the road, because we live on the top of a hill and sometimes cars will pop over the hill very fast. They are also not allowed near the water, our backyard leads to the beach. I think that you have to put your foot down. It's nice for your child to have kids to play with, but you have to set rules and limitations. Good Luck!

Tracey

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 05-25-2003 - 7:56pm
Joy, Thanks so much for your input. I'm glad I'm not the only one with this same thing going on. We too have kids calling on our son to come out to play..we explain over and over that he can not be out unless we are with him..they look at us like we are strange. At one point the girl across the street was knocking at our door all times of the day even when I explained it to her..she is 8yrs old. I don't know how to get it across to her without being nasty..it was becoming really annoying as she was ringing during dinnertime and my son's bedtime. So you have a pool..that in itself is a huge kid magnet. I can completely see how they would love being over your house. I neigbourhood mother who has a pool in her yard..made the rule..you can swim if your parent comes and supervises you and I thought that was a great idea..it really cut down on the numbers of kids begging to swim in her pool. I guess I should just take it all in stride, and lighten up. But another thing I've found is some of the kids are way older than my son..I'm not sure i want him hanging around these kids...He will learn all that 'older' stuff when he reaches their ages. I just want the kids over that are around my childs age. So how do you tell the older one;s,that you rather them not play here? I think your bell idea is great..I'll give that a try. Thanks again for your help. Suzanne
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 05-25-2003 - 8:07pm
Thank you everyone for all your advise. You all gave me something to think about. I just talked with my husband about this issue AGAIN and he agreed to put a special lock on the gate that only him and I can open..so that should stop the kids from coming back when we are not there. Another thing I mentioned to him is to mention to these kids parents that we do have a pond, fenced..but perhaps they should talk to their kids about the safety rules just to make sure they understand...but he thinks this is going to far. I explained that what if I have to go inside for a moment and I am not out there and something happens..he said to not worry but I do! Most of the kids parents do know we have a pond..as I live in a cul de sac and we all talk..the other few kids that's another story. I think starting tommorrow, I'm going to make a rule of, 'no going near the pond at all, if they do they leave" That way they will stay away from it. I like the idea of giving water only, thank you. Just yesterday, one of the kids was going to help himself to our garage fridge for a juice..I stopped him, and said he is not to go in there without asking first. I explained to my son the same thing. You have all given me something to think about. Have a great holiday weekend. SUzanne
Avatar for inmommyworld
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Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 05-26-2003 - 7:23am
I totally can relate. I didn't read the other posts yet, forgive me if I'm repeating anything. My ds's are almost 4 and 5. They are the youngest in our neighborhood, until last summer a family moved in w/ 3 kids their age. Last summer was ok, until the end, our home became the "hang-out" for all of the neighborhood kids, older ones too. I think this happened because mine are little and I didn't let them go anywhere else.

As soon as the weather was nice this spring, it started again. As soon as we are seen outdoors, it's like we are a kid magnet, pulling every kid out of their house to ours! There is one child that is babysat by her grandparents, they ship her across the street as soon as they see us. BUT, in that case, it isn't a huge deal for me. The kids play very well together, and I feel the grandparents are elderly--to old to be caring for a busy 4 yr old, so I don't expect them to watch my kids as well. But with the newer family, it's the same thing. Their 3 children, are ALWAYS over. My older ds has played at there house once. I hope their mom will start inviting my ds's to play there sometimes, or it will be a long summer. In this case I think I made the mistake of mentioning I prefer the kids at my house, thinking mine were too young to play at other people's homes. But now, I thought I made it clear that they can play there. They are close and I see everything that is going on from my house.

I too feel like I'm babysitting! Providing drinks and snacks. The kids ask for food as soon as they get to my house. If were all outside, they just walk in and out of my house like they live there. I have to constantly be a referee/rule enforcer! I have set some ground rules. I will send the other kids home when I have had enough. I have things to do sometimes, and can monitor my kids but not everyone elses while I'm doing chores around the house. If the kids are playing rough with my kids toys, I will say something. I make sure they understand what is allowed and what isn't at our home. This is difficult because I am seeing now that kids are raised differently than mine and it's hard sometimes. (See my new post on this topic!)

Anyhow, I understand where you are coming from and don't be afraid to ship the other kids home when you feel necessary. You're not the neighborhood sitter.

Lisa