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mummyoh

Neighbours vs Siblings

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mummyoh

I’m a SAHM to two little boys, 2 and 4 years old. We live next door to another family who has two boys slightly older than mine. Lately my eldest has become obsessed with playing at the other families house, he’s usually pretty good when I say no, but now I’ve started saying no he will throw a tantrum. I’m okay with the occasional play date but not okay with It being every day, for hours on end at such a young age. I’m also not particularly interested in having the next door children here at our house either for a variety of reasons and so don’t want that expectation to build.
I feel trapped inside sometimes as every time we go into our garden this pressure builds up for play dates.

How can I encourage my own sons to enjoy playing together more than they enjoy playing with other children?
And how can I draw a reasonable boundary around this situation without coming across as controlling?

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Freddie'sMum

Honey, your boys are 2 and 4.  As far as they are concerned - you are the boss !  You will decide when and where your 2 and 4 year olds have a playdate with the kids next door and you must be prepared to say 'no' and stare down a tantrum if they want 'yes'.   Of course you can draw a boundary around this "we are going to play at home today -  I think some fun things we can do are X Y and Z.  What do you want to do?" 

Tantrum - "I want to play with Jack and Jill next door !' stomps feet, flays about, continues tantrum - wins Oscar.

OP (Mum / Parent / Boss) - "well like I said just now, today's a day for us to be at home and playing in our home.  Lets play Lego / blocks / X Y or Z".

Small child continues tantrum and OP (Mum / Parent / Boss) walks out of room and starts playing Lego / blocks / X Y or Z.  Small child stops tantrum and joins in.  Then small child asks again to go next door - OP (Mum / Parent / Boss) rinse and repeat at least 100 times a day.

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trillian42

Can you make a particular time with the other family for a play date? So the answer becomes not ‘no’, but ‘yes, on Thursday afternoon’ or whatever. And if you’re able, enlist a parent from the other family to say they aren’t free if your son shouts over the fence (on the excuse that you don’t want him to bother them, or that your other son gets left out etc). Do their kids like playing with him?

And of course it’s fine not to want long frequent play dates or to be best friends with your neighbours, but another approach could be to embrace the situation - kids next door that your son wants to play with while you hang out with younger son could be considered a win. As they get older, supervision could become less of an issue.

It’s definitely not for everyone I know, but we have a gate between our neighbours’ and ours and the kids play together between the yards, they use our trampoline etc. We have boundaries about wandering into each other’s places. Will take it in turns taking kids to the park. We do have excellent neighbours though.

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Mooples

I have 2 boys the same age, the 4 year old plays actual games with his friends with storyline’s and structure and dialogue. The 2 year old just isn’t there yet so of course the older one prefers playing with his peers than his younger brother. They are getting better all the time but I reckon in a year they will be able to really play together properly. 

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mummyoh

Thank-you, all this advice has been really helpful. I don’t feel like the other mother is on board with me as it’s often her son up calling out to mine and she likes to have my boy over  to distract her big one too- I just don’t want to repay the favour and I feel pressured to do so  if he goes over too much.
I like the idea of creating a set time for the play and leaving it at that.

And I look forward to the day when my two boys are able to enjoy more games together.

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