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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Leesh... Leeshamak

I totally agree if they are older~ but 2 or 3 is too young (IMO) to let them just play without some supervision. My kids, in particular, are very clumsy and fall over their own 2 feet~ let alone on a play structure! If they know the equipment quite well, I might feel a little safer....

Also, fightin shouldn't be tolerated~ no matter where it is... We aren't their friends~ We are their Parents!

Londo... LondonAsMommy

I said it depends... some play equipment seems completely safe for toddlers- like if it has steps and no wide open places where they can fall... and if there are no big kids on the equipment that are playing rough, I will let my 3 year old play without shadowing over her.  Granted she is still in my sight at all times... but if there are a lot of children on the equipment, or if it looks like it was made for older kids, I'm a 'helicopter mama'

litls... litlsuzzy

I don't stand over my almost three year old. as long as I can see her and she's not in danger she's fine.  If it's crowded I stay closer than if we were alone but that's about it.

Conflict resolution is a huge part of life, even at 2. Yes you should guide them to a non-violent way of communicating but you can't always be there. Only you know your child's maturity level and act accordingly. There is nothing wrong with sitting back a weatching to see how they handle themselves.

JPsMo... JPsMommy605

IMO, it depends on the equipment and on the child.  My son has great hand/eye coordination and was able to climb very well by 2 years (which shocked me with some of the things he could climb), but a neighbor's child wasn't as coordinated and so wasn't able to climb at all even though he was 6 months older.  After that, my son was allowed to climb unsupervised only after he showed that he was consciously careful, but I was adamant about following one rule - I don't help him climb - if he wants to climb, he can, but he has to be able to do it himself.  That's how he learned, and he never fell, so once he made it clear that climbing was a skill, I only hovered when there was a new, higher challenge, until he proved capable there as well.  Not all children should be unsupervised (and by that I mean "hovering") as early, but some can be - it's the parent's call.

I also have learned to sit back and let my son try to resolve conflicts.  If it comes to both children growing too frustrated, then I'll re-direct my son and he's generally fine with that.  Most of the time, though, he either walks away or compromises.

celti... celticreverie

I actually HATE seeing parents sitting on benches allowing their 2-3 year olds run off and do whatever they want. You can still allow a child to explore, test their boundries, while being close enough to be there if they do get seriously hurt ir if that child get's violent. I get seriously aggrivated at those parents who do NOT control their children. My daughter wanted to play with a little girl at a park once, who was a little older than my daughter (my daughter was 18 months at the time). This little girl shoved her off of one of the platforms. She only fell a few inches but screamed and cried and the parent did NOTHING. Later on the little girl came to both my daughter, who slapt her. In my head I said "good she deserved it"... but I went to my daughter and told her that you do NOT hit, no matter what. etc. *I* take responsibility for my child at a park, I do not allow them to run around like a maniac and sit lazely on a bench.

My daughter runs around, and gets to enjoy the park. I am just closer to her. I still want to teach her how to share/take turns, so I am nearby to encourage these good behaviors. I do allow her to climb up the slides but need to remind her to move if someone wants to come down because it is, after all, a slide not a jungle gym.

Lokis... LokisMama

I'd say it depends on the type of equipment.  The park near my house doesn't have any toddler-sized equipment and the slides and stuff that are there, the biggest one tops out at 8ft or so (I'm guesitimating, but my husband is 6ft and it's way taller than him)  My 2 year old is just over 3-ft tall.  So him jumping off the top of that slide is like me jumping off the roof of my house, so of course I'm going to 'hover' over him and make sure he dosn't jump off and get a concussion or worse.

Plus-... Plus-size-mommy

I agree with LokisMama, the playground equipment here where we live is also very high off the ground!! And, it has open spaces where he could easily jump off or fall out of!! So, yes I do watch him and "hover" usually there is no one else playing there so I just play with him, I can slide, climb, and swing with the best of them!! And, then I know the chances of him getting hurt are lessened! And, he loves having momma slide down the slides with him lol!!

mamap... mamapaparazzi

I don't helicopter my kids.  I'm one of those over-safe moms that if I had my way I'd bubble wrap them before going outside, so I have to overcompensate by planting my butt on the bench and gritting my teeth or my kids would NEVER have fun, lol.  I literally have to put aside my worries for the sake of their independence and it's HARD sometimes, but it's paid off.  All my kids are super independent and careful children.  They get hurt sometimes, but that's life. Every scraped knee is a lesson learned to be more careful, lol.

Even though it freaks me out a little, LOL.


Rhond... RhondaVeggie

It totally depends on the equipment and the other kids there. We have a playground with some good toddler equipment (at the elementary school, go figure) and my guy has been playing there alone without help since about 18 months. Now he's 3.5 and I'll let him play just about anywhere without hovering providing there are no big kids rough housing. He's a responsible kid though, knows his limits and always plays safely. If he were a jumper or just didn't pay attention to what he was doing I'd hover a lot more.

avpri... avpriddis

My 2yo sure I'll let play unassisted until she calls for my help.  My 1yo, no because she will back off something thinking she can get down on her own.  Some parents, IMO, are too laid back at the park.  They become oblivious to their kids who in the meantime are bullying the smaller children. 

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