Mom Confessions: I Let My Toddler Climb Play Equipment Unassisted


mom confessionsIt's time for a Mom Confession -- because, let's face it, we're real mothers and sometimes it doesn't work the way the parenting books say it should.

This Week's Confession:

When we go to the park or playground, I don't hover over my toddlers. I sit on the bench and watch. If they want to climb up the slide, I let them. I loved climbing up slides when I was little. It was challenging and fun -- and my mother never shadowed me to prevent a fall or little mishaps. This is how children learn -- by making mistakes.

And if my kid is arguing with another on the playground (or anywhere), I usually don't get involved unless one of them is going to get hurt. They need to learn to work out their own problems. -- anonymous



Is it irresponsible parenting to let young toddlers, say 2 or 3 years old, climb unassisted on playground equipment?

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Total Votes: 264

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Do today's parents go overboard in trying to protect their children from every little bump, scratch, and boo-boo? Should we give our kids more freedom to make mistakes and learn from them?

We all have secrets and opinions -- so thanks to this brave mom for sharing her honest thoughts, and thank you for keeping this conversation non-judgemental!

Past Confessions:

My Kids Go to Sleep After Midnight

I Let My Toddlers Go Naked in Public

I Throw Away My Kid's Artwork

I Paid $22 for My Son's Haircut

My Toddlers Eat Pizza for Breakfast

I'm Dying My Toddler's Hair

I Leave My Toddler Alone in the Bath

Our Children Aren't Invited to Our Wedding

I Scold Other People's Kids

I'm on Vacation, But My Kid Is Still Going to Day Care

I Favor My Older Child

I Let My Toddler Eat Food Before Paying for It

I Find Excuses to Send My Kids to Bed Early



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natha... nathansmommy827

i think at 3 u should start letting them be independent but any younger they could really hurt themselves

mommy... mommykayti

My son will be three in May and I said it depends. If there aren't many kids I will sit and watch. If he is alone, I will play with him. If there is too many I will be right there. Too many times have I seen a bigger kid pick on him, and HECK YES I will tell them he is smaller and to leave him alone. I will not stand for some 6 yr old pushing my kid around or telling him what to do. If the child was my son's age I will let it go though. I think it's alright to let a child play, as long as you are watching and not just ignoring the whole thing    =]

Britt... Brittainy412

I let my son be my guide.  If He wants assistance, I give it, I used to hover on him at first when he had a hard time, but I leaned to letting him do as much as possible.  Now that iknow him well enough and how he reacts on the playground I let him loose.

evyth... evythecute

one of my pet peeves is kids going up the slide in a crowded play ground! its rude and someone could get hurt. now if there isnt many people there and no one is using the side thats one thing. Its not about your kid hurting himself its about them hurting MY kid.

we have a couple play-areas around here that are made for toddlers. the equipment is slightly padded. there i let her roam free unless she is picking on a younger kid. at a traditional playground i dont hover but i stay close and keep a very close eye on her. i am not taking away her freedom i let her do her thing and help if she needs it. but kids need to be taught what is ok and what is not. if we never step in they cant learn and will just walk all over whoever they can. kids dont care about being fare they care about getting their way. i teach my child manner then i give her the space to use them on her own.. and guess what she does.

i dont have anything against moms who give their kids a little more freedom. what bothers me is the moms who dont step in even when their kid is being rude or a bully or has even hurt another kid. at that point you have just decided not to parent and let your kid run wild. kids need at least SOME direction.

Agent... AgentBrez

it depends on a lot of things. i have been at playgrounds and stood by while my 2 yr old walks up the steps and goes down the slide by herself. other playgrounds i am more comfortable sitting on a bench. but i am always watching her, making sure she isnt being rude to another kid or in the way [standing in front of a slide etc]. what bothers me more is when i go to these indoor play areas in malls that are made for kids under 42" and these big kids are running around, not paying attn to where the littlier kids are [who its intended for] and the parents just sit there and do nothing.

mlreg... mlregalado

By two, they can play by themselves while you watch, it doesn't mean you are sitting there letting them run around unsupervised. By three they definitely don't need you holding their hand while they go down the slide. This says nothing about leaving them unsupervised. Of course use your judgment, I wouldn't let a two year old climb something high unassisted.

RanaA... RanaAurora

It really depends.  As far as letting your child climb up the slide, if there are other kids there, you're being a jackass.  If no one else is there, then it's okay, but your child NEEDS to know the difference.  That's unfair to other children waiting their turn to go down, and can get your child really hurt.

If your child is little and the playground equipment is designed for bigger kids, you NEED to be near them because some of those falls can be from over 5-6 feet (OR MORE) up, and even wood chips aren't going to stop injury.

I agree that there are parents who are WAY too laid back and NEED to monitor their kids better.  This doesn't mean you have to be following them around, but you DO need to be watching!  This is your opportunity to help teach them the proper way to handle conflicts, and also "polite" rules of the playground.

I had an experience where a child was running around and trying to shove other children off ladders and stairs when they'd come up to his level, and then laugh.  After he shoved my kiddo (when he was smaller) backwards and I caught him before he fell over 5 feet, I yelled, "NO!  DO NOT PUSH!" at the kid.  After 20 minutes or so of him pushing and risking seriously hurting other children, his parents ONLY noticed once I yelled at their kid.  That's just ridiculous.  They obviously weren't watching AT ALL.

patsf... patsfan013

I voted "It depends."  I have 19-month-old twin boys.  One twin is relatively easy - all he does is run around.  He doesn't climb on anything.  I just have to watch to make sure he doesn't wander too close to the swings if someone's on them.  My other boy, though - what a daredevil!!  He climbs anything and everything, but for some reason won't go down the slides by himself (and they are about 8 feet tall).  I tend to stay close to wherever he is, but I don't hover unless he's near an opening or there are other, bigger kids on the structure, too.

toria... toriandgrace

I have a three year old with developmental delays and some serious spacial awareness issues, so what that boils down to is she will step right off a ledge without noticing it. I am definitely a "helecoptor mother." I also appreciate parents who DO step is during "arguements" because I have a child with a serious speech delay, and other children don't understand that. I know my child isn't your normal kid, but she looks like any other kid and plays at the playground like any other kid, so you can't always let kids fight their own battles.

Pauli... Pauline3283

My 2 year old plays unassisted on some play equipment while I watch from a bench.  If there are gaps for going down a ladder or something we stay by him so he doesn't fall off of it.  If the only openings are stairs and slides, I leave him alone.  He's been doing this since he was about 18 months and it'a never been a problem.

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