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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SxdUp... SxdUpAngel

Does being 2 feet away from your toddler on the playground HAVE to be considered hovering?  I considered it playing with my toddler at the playground.  Considering I'm one of the only parents around here who actually goes out with their child to the playground, I think it's rather decent of me. 

madam... madamekatekate

It really depends on where you are. My daughter is 17 months old and whenever we take her to the park, daddy or I has to be fairly close by. Not to scoop her up with every little fall (because how ridiculous is that) but because she needs a "tour guide" of sorts. When she's a little older and knows to stop walking when you reach a ledge (She walked right off once, lol.) and knows to let the other children play and pass by without touching/hugging/petting (she likes to pet people.) them then I won't mind sitting back a bit and watching her play.

I do hate the parents who just let their child run amok on a playground and laugh it off because "This is what outside play is for." I remember once I personally chased down a young boy who was running off to the edge of the field the playground was in towards the parking lot. It was a good 300 feet and the mother never even noticed until I came huffing and puffing back holding her sons hand. All she ever said was "Tyler you don't run out to the parking lot. Bad boy." in the most nonchalant way.

Janua... JanuaryRayne

Isn't 2 or 3 a little young to go unassisted.  Especially on equipment that is for more older children.   I can see if there was equipment made for those at 2 and 3, and a bench is right there so if the child needs some help she is right there.  Those who allow it, you have some serious issues.

ShannieP ShannieP

I let my 2 1/2 year old climb on all the equipment by herself, but i do stand close by. Close enough that I could at least TRY to catch her, if she were to fall. I dont let her use equipment in the "wrong" way though. I dont let her climb UP the slides or STAND on the swings. For the most part though, she does her own thing and pays me no attention whatsoever! I only get involved if she is displaying bad behavior: not sharing, pushing, not waiting her turn, etc....

mamal... mamalinzie

I have let my toddler climb by herself since she was about 18 months. I think she is part Mountain Goat, though. She is extremely well balanced and agile. She has had a few falls, but has never been hurt. I trust her to know her own limitations. If she can't do it, she doesn't, or she asks for help.

If a playground is busy, I encourage not to go up a slide because it interferes with others who are trying to play. But other than that, I like to try to watch her go up a slide, and figure out how to maneuver on the play equipment.

HisMo... HisMommySince07

I believe that children should be given some space in order to learn valuable life lessons. My son is 21 months old && do not hover over him. I don't sit on the benches either though. I usually stand about 5 feet or so away from whatever he is playing on. He is ALWAYS in my line of sight. I'm not going to sit here and say that people shouldn't sit on the benches and watch their kids play. It's only when they don't WATCH their children that it becomes a problem. I mean if my son falls down, but is not seriously hurt then I don't freak out && run to him. I want him to be able to do things on his own && not be a titty-baby, but at the same time know that I am always there if something goes seriously wrong.

prett... prettymama0607

my son is still only 18 months, he's at that age where he think he can defy gravity, and I'm not willing to let him test so he can break a leg or a arm, or worse, I don't want to go down that road so for now I will "hover" him to make sure he is safe, you just know when you absolutley have to be there, and when you don't, it's a different age for every child since every child devolps differently.

Beans... BeansMamaBear

My daughter just turned two today and for the last few months Ive been letting her play unassisted at the play ground.. she does just fine.. she knows not to jump or lean over high places (not that its THAT high) and doesnt fool around on the steps. I think it all just depends on your child and how well you know them. I feel completely comfortable letting Hannah playing at the park.

Melis... Melissa4o5

My daughter is only 19 months old but I don't feel that in 5 more months time she'd be capable of navigating the playground equipment unassisted.  Time will only tell, though, and you probably know your childs' capabilities enough to discern if they're in danger.

Most equipment here is definitely for the 6 & up set. My nephew is 3 and he has no trouble at all navigating even some of the biggest equipment, though he still doesn't have interest in the bigger slides. I'd feel comfortable not hovering right over him but standing close enough so that I could hear him ask for help should he need it.

As far as going up slides and standing on swings I don't approve of that. Prudent limits aren't going to hinder development.

dark-... dark-roastmom

  It does depend.  My daughter is a monkey,  when she calls for help i get up off the bench and tell her 'you got up there now get down'.  She has no poblem getting down with me standing there.  She is 2 and very tall so most other mothers think she is four and i never here a word from them.

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