Pre-School and Daycare

How closely do you supervise play - 4 year old

My husband and I have been having a disagreement, lately. I am curious about what others might have to say on this topic. There are several children who live in our neighborhood down our street. Often, we take our 4-year-old out for a walk, at which point he sees his friends. Usually, the kids play outside while the adults talk, and all is well. Our new neighbors across the street allow their three children (twins who are 5, and a 7-year-old) play inside while they socialize outside. When we run into them, their children inevitably invite our 4-year-old inside (he is JUST turning 4 in a month, so I'm rounding up). My husband has been allowing him to play indoors with their children in their house, unsupervised (directly, at least), while he socializes with the neighbors outdoors. I get worried about this and would rather not allow him to do that, but it is a bit awkward to address with the neighbors. It isn't that I think there is anything out of the ordinary going on - but it just seems too soon to me to allow him to play inside alone for a half-hour at a time, particularly with other children in a new home. My husband's stance is that it is extraordinarily awkward to address with the neighbors (he doesn't want to invite himself inside their home when they feel comfortable allowing the kids to play inside alone), and he just isn't that worried about it. I am curious about what others have to say. 

Re: How closely do you supervise play - 4 year old

  • Have you ever been inside? How well do you know them? Honestly, I wouldn't do it. But I would have before I found out my bil (a police officer) leaves his weapon out of the safe in his bedroom closet. Now I'm terrified that if he thinks that is a good idea, so will other people. I don't know what I'm going to do about this fear but since dd is too young for unsupervised play dates, I haven't had to deal with it yet.
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  • It would totally depend on how well I know the people.  I let DS go in my neighbor's house who I know extremely well.  I trust her, her family, her house, her dog, DS is very comfortable at her house, and he is usually with her older kids or my DD (not in the house by himself).  I new neighbor that I don't know very well.  Probably not.  Could you say something like, "I would hate for DS to get into anything he isn't supposed to.  I think it would be better if he played out here."
    DD~6 years old~born June 6, 2008 (1st grade)
    DS~4 years old~born November 6, 2010 (1st year of preschool)
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  • i am not comfortable even with my child going to family houses, unless i have been in it too - to make sure nothing unsafe is left out, the mood of the animals. i am crazy over protective. i do not think children should be unsupervised due to abuse that has happened to children i know while unsupervised. something horrific can happen in a matter of seconds/minutes.
    i would also talk with the child before and after, what did you do? who was there? (there may be others inside that you don't know about).


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  • Hmmm... this is a tricky area.  You are really looking at a few broad scenarios and evaluating how likely it is that one of those might play out.  What you don't want is one of the following:  1) the neighbor kids use their 'home field advantage' to bully your kid, 2) the kids together take advantage of the parents being outside to do something they're not supposed to do, or 3) your kid being the youngest and in unfamiliar territory inadvertently does something wrong.

    Keeping in mind those 3 scenarios, how I would deal would depend on some subtleties you haven't explicitly mentioned in your post:

    --How trustworthy are the neighbors' children? If they're generally good kids, you can probably count on the 7 y/o to notice if the younger ones do something unsafe or inappropriate and notify the adults.  If this is the case, I'd figure you're pretty safe from scenarios 1 and 2.  If the kids seem a little sneaky or make you uncomfortable, I'd just make an excuse about how you have to get home for some reason when the invite occurs.  

    --Do you let your son play unsupervised in your home, and does he generally understand safety concepts (ask for help to reach things on a high shelf, don't touch strange electronics, don't interact with pets you don't know, don't go into areas of the house where you haven't been invited.)  If so, I'd think that you're pretty safe from scenario #3.

    --How "with it" do the parents seem?  If the host kids come outside to "tell on" each other, do the parents handle it in a way that seems okay to you?  

    --Does your son enjoy playing there, and does he seem eager to join with his friends?  If so, that's probably a good sign.  After the visit, talk to him and get him to tell you what they did.  That way, you'll feel more comfortable and you'll have a chance to talk to your son about the etiquette of playing at someone else's house.

    At my house, for any first time guest kids below middle school age, I give them a brief tour of the house and tell them some basic rules of where they can go, what they can do, and how to handle it if they have questions or problems.  Maybe invite these kids over to your house so you can get to know them better.
    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

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  • At first I didn't think anything of it, but the comment about someone leaving a gun out does make you think.  I allowed DD upstairs at my BIL's house.  She thought she was having some m&ms that were actually reese's pieces and ended up in the emergency room (she has a peanut allergy).  I'd probably go along with something about your LO getting into things and making a mess.
  • I would not allow it until I know the parents well and have been inside their house.  I am not even a super paranoid person, but a lot of people where I live are gun owners.  You don't know if there are unsecured guns, matches, medications, or who knows what else lying around their house.  Even rule-conscious kids may be curious, or think they know what something is (see PP's Reese's Pieces example), when it's actually something dangerous. 

    DS born 8/8/09 and DD born 6/12/12.
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  • erbearerbear member
    edited July 2014
    That would not phase me, as long as I knew the parents. I would not let her go into a house of someone I didn't know well.
    "Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies. God damn it, you've got to be kind." - Kurt Vonnegut
  • I have met all of the parents who live by us and been in their houses.  I trust them completely have no issues if LO goes over to their house to play with their kids.  They feel the same way about us.
    Most of the time they play outside and they all are very aware of the street and how to play safely.   

    This summer LO has gained a lot of independence and has been allowed to go to their houses (we just want to watch him cross the street) and they have come to our house. 
    It actually feels kind of nice, loosing the reigns a bit and letting the kids play on their own.  


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  • shopgirl78shopgirl78 member
    edited July 2014
    Meet and trust the parents?!? Play on! It's easier for me as my older two usually accompany my 4 year old. I only check on mine when they are playing anywhere (backyard, rooms, neighbors, etc). Thy don't have free range of the neighborhood though. Of course, medical conditions and allergies would require more supervision.

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  • I would  same age  If i knew the parents and had been inside maybe but not with an age difference or sex difference so I would likely say no.
    We only have girls around us- so if DS wants to play with friends near our house- he plays with girls.  I'm not really worried about it at the moment.  When they are 14, that's a different story. 


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