May 27, 2008,
P.N. asks from Dearborn, MI on May 24, 2008
Snacks and Neighbors
Does anyone else feel like they "live with" their neighbors. My neighbor has a 5 and 3 year old. we have a 3 and 9 month old. The two three year olds are boys. It seems as if we have no privacy. We like them, but we don't want to spend all our free time with them. We would like to do things at home as a family... and not do it with the neighbor children. This rarely happens. We don't let our child go over to their house unattended, but they feel free to let both their children come over unattended to our home and backyard. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to approach this with the neighbors... they don't have too many boundaries. Also the snacks they serve are mostly chips, cheese puffs and those freezer pops. I try to do healthy snacks, like fruit or crackers and cheese, but I don't want to feed their kids all the time. I try to limit snacks they eat together, but the freeze pops come out 2-3 times a day in the summer. I just lost my job, so I'm bound to be spending most of my summer taking care of all 4 kids.
I need a tactful way to NOT have the kids over every single day, be able to spend time with just my own children in my own backyard and not have to leave the house each day as money is tight now...
S.R. answers from Detroit on May 26, 2008
Go over there and say something like "I'm really busy these days but I know the kids enjoy playing together. let's schedule a play date, how about wednesday from 1 - 3 o'clock." At the time you suggest the play date end, take the kids back or call the parent to let them know how much fun they had and to say you should schedule another play date soon.
T.W. answers from Lansing on May 25, 2008
You will just have to make it short and to the point with these kids. When they come to the door, and you don't want them say " I'm sorry_____ can't play today, and shut the door.
K.G. answers from Buffalo on May 25, 2008
When I was a little girl I had a neighborhood friend, her mom would say "I'm sorry Tabitha can't play now we are having family time." I remember thinking I wish we had family time at our house. The sign is a great idea! I'd put, I'm sorry can't play now FAMILY TIME on one side then WELCOME KIDS! We would love to play on the other. That way if they see you in the back yard you just send them home, "Sorry, family time, come back later or tomorrow." I have stopped feeding neighborhood children. There are just to many of them. I will only give a snack to a child I invited over, the rest if they ask for food I tell them they need to go home if they are hungry, get something to eat and come back. I say it in a kind way. I would never expect a neighbor to feed my kids. No reasonable neighbor is going to hold it against you if you send their child home when they are hungry. Good fences make good neighbors! Good luck.
1 mom found this helpful
H.S. answers from Detroit on May 24, 2008
I agree that you need to speak to the parents of these kids. My mom is one of 5 kids, and when she was growing up, there was a family that lived in the house behind them and there were 6 (?) kids in that family, and they were all around the same ages, so they all played together. One of the things that I would say to this other family is that 'I am glad the kids have this chance to play and be friends (because it's good for their development.) but I think we need to set up specific play times for the kids to play together.' Bring up having an almost one year old as well as the three year old, having the two kids they have, they should understand that. One thing I saw on an episode of Dr. Phil is that there was this mother who had the same problem you guys have ... only her kids were older. The kids friends were always coming over, which left no room for not only family time, but home work time. The mother made two signs out of wood. One said, "The kids can't play right now, come back later." and the other side said "Feel free to come and play." As for the snacks, I have a similar problem with my kids ... and my grandmother ... (she babysits while I work or am in school ..) I try to keep my 2 and a half year old and 13 month old from eating too much sugar ... I was addicted to it and as a result, don't eat as healthy as I should. Just tell your neighbor that while a sugary treat is okay every once in a while, as a general rule, you prefer your kids to eat fruit and stuff as a snack. There is a good brand of popsciles that I think are made by Edy's ... they're made with real fruit, just be careful because they stain. Good luck and happy early birthday to your daughter and belated birthday to your son.
T.F. answers from Detroit on May 27, 2008
I cannot wait to read the answers you get here because I have a couple of families on my street that have unsupervised kids and they wanna play with my boy all the time. So I also feel like I'm gonna turn in to babysitter if I cannot figure out how to get it across to the kids that we need privacy sometimes. Also I don't want the parents to think I am being a witch or something if you get my meaning.
L.A. answers from Detroit on May 25, 2008
We had the exact same situation several years ago until our neighbors moved away, only our kids were the exact same age and therefore very good playmates. When they came over (which was several times a day), we would say "the kids are not ready to play today" or they are busy, or whatever. You may need to address the snack issue with the other mom.
S.M. answers from Saginaw on May 25, 2008
Hello P., There is a saying that says "we teach people how to treat us". I had a neighbor family that was very close also. But I had to set some rules of my own. When the kids come over without a parent, simply say to the child that they need to come over with mommy or daddy. If they won't go home on their own, then take them by the hand and walk them home. Explain to the parent that you are just too busy to always be watching their children, and would they please keep them home unless they come with a parent. Talk openly about your feelings regarding snack time. It is not rude to set health boundries. It's good for all types of relationships to set rules, boundries, and manners. Even communities as a whole do this to keep the peace. Good luck P., I know that you can do this.
J. answers from Detroit on May 24, 2008
We also had this problem... But we were not friendly with the neighbors, so... We didn't care about tact unfortuatley. We just took their child by the hand and deposited him back on their porch and rang the door bell. It is VERY bad parenting to just let your kids roam and go to a neighbors .
Now we have other neighbors who if our kids want to go over each others houses we always look outside and call down to see if it is OK to let our child come down and play and feel very comfortable saying no if the time isn't good.
In our old neighborhood, a family put up a flag pole. If the flag was up, your kids where welcome to come and play, if it was down that it wasn't which worked out great.
It's very unfortunate that there are parents out there that put us in this perdicament(sp?). I thought we as parents are suppose to watch our own children??? And being a parent we all know how hard it is sometimes to wath our own children, get things done around the house without having to watch all the neighborhood kids.
In regards to snacks... I tell my neighbor's what my kids can and can't have. I think it's a pretty open conversation these days with all of the allergies. Little girl neighbor allergic to nuts, little boy neighbor allergic to milk. So I just had both parents make me up a list of what they "can" have and I keep it taped inside my cupboard for when they come over, if I have it they can have it. If I don't then they need to bring their own snack.
Sorry for the book!
J. in Macomb
N.L. answers from Detroit on May 24, 2008
This is a very hard one. We have a neighbor that also sends their young child over unsupervised and I always felt like I was watching / feeding him and he wasn't the best behaved. My husband helped with the situation. My husband talked to the man next door and said "my wife is very concerned about the safety of having your children over without one of you with them. He expained how my attention was often diverted because I was chasing the baby around (who could now walk) and for safety reasons it would be best if they joined us outside." After that conversation they continued to send their child over (we also have not boundries). Each time they did we told the child for safety reason they could not play in our yard until their mommy or daddy could come over to and that he would have to go home. After a few times of the child going home and telling the parents they go the hint and started coming outside or watching keeping him in because they did not want to go outside - she was always "busy" it seemed. We just kept saying "for safety its best".
L.J. answers from Detroit on May 25, 2008
in our neighborhood next door and the two houses across the street always get together to play the kids love playing with each other, the moms are usualy outside also, and we take turns as to whose house we play at that day. my daughter being the oldest(5)knows that she has to ask first before she can play, the answer usually is yes though. if one day you dont' want the neighbors playing maybe stay in your back yard(where they may be less likely to see you outside), or simply tell them they can't play today, everyone will understand and no ones feelings will be hurt. as far as snacks try to give yoru kids snacks before you go out to play than theat won't be an issue.