just her chameleon (12-09-2015)
For me, it depends on which kids I'm with. If it's 6yo DS, I will watch him from a distance mostly as he can do everything by himself mostly and I'm not worried about him falling etc. I would still never sit with my back towards him though, and I do keep a reasonable close eye on him as the main park is big, set in the bush, is right on a highway and I worry about things like snakes.
With my 3yo DD, I stand maybe 2-3m away. She is a daredevil. Could climb before she could walk and thinks she can do evening her big brother can. So I do pay more attention to her as she often attempts things and get stuck as she's not big enough for the next step/platform etc. She can also be a bit rough with other kids, so I keep a closer eye on her for that too.
I don't tend to watch them that much at home though. They can go on the trampoline, cubby, swings etc and do what they like. I'll check on them every now and then, but that's it.
I also always have in my mind kids like Daniel and William as I used to work for Child Services and I know what those revolting p.aedo's do to small children. We've had 5 attempted abductions in our small country town just in the last 12 months. So I'm more aware than ever lately.
I keep an eye and ear out on my almost 4 year old. But I can't be in two places at once with DS on the move now.
If we are by ourselves I'll interact with her more because she wants me to play with her. If she has found friends I stand back and just watch from a seat. She calls out if she needs me. If we are with other adults I usually chat and keep half an eye on her at the same time. She is a runner so has been known to wander off and there isn't that many gated parks here in Canberra (can only think of Boundless for locals)
Generally though, she's always been pretty good at knowing her limits and not jumping off high ledges or things with big gaps.
I also like her to interact with other kids by herself and give her a chance at solving her own problems with them eg taking turns etc.
I've been thinking about this today and I think part of the reason I don't hover is that if one of my kids gets stuck I WANT them to have to figure it out, and if they slip or fall or can't get out of a bind themselves I WANT them (and please don't take this to be sadistic) to feel real fear. I want them to actually understand that what they are climbing on is really high and serious and they have to treat it with respect. Children should feel fear. They should feel it and overcome it, because that's how they become resilient and confident in life when they come across fearful situations. And leaving them clinging on equipment in the park for a minute or two with no mum around to save them is a safe and excellent way to teach them that. I don't let them get seriously distressed, or deliberately leave them there crying while I count to 10. But they learn that something really scary can happen and it will be ok. They might even really hurt themselves, but that will also be ok. I heard a quote years ago that has always resonated with me, and it was something like 'we are all scared of our kids breaking a bone, and yes that's a danger. But the BIGGER danger is raising kids with no coping mechanisms, and no resilience'
See FL I hover but still let and encourage ds try to figure it out on his own.
I've had to learn to have a relaxed approach with ds as he has always been fearless and a climber so I could never stop him, he is also fiercely independent and always telling me he can do it himself.
If I'm at the park with friends there is always 2 of us watching the kids while we sit and chat
The kids will always come tell us if they need us or yell out.
Everyone parents differently and it took me a while to relax with ds but I had to, I didn't want to be a hovering parent, I wanted him to learn his limitations and boundaries.
Im at the park. The only people here are me, dd1, dd2 and a girl who looks to be 3. Dp is in the car and there is another car in the carpark about 100m away with someone sitting in it reading a book but there are so many trees, play equipment and a toilet block in the way for that person to see this little girl even 20% of the time. It is an enclosed park but there are multiple entry/exits. Anyone could take her. She can only be seen by the person in the car on 3 of the 13 pieces of play equipment.
Personally I like to be able to see my kids at least most of the time
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