“Jaw With John” – Waterfront Property Attracts Kids, Don’t Tell Jared

We have a vacation home where we go sometimes on the weekends. Our neighbors seem to view our place as a public kids’ camp. More than any other place, we seem to be a magnet for their unsupervised kids! We regularly end up with other kids in our water, playing with our toys, even asking us for refreshments or running through our house. I’ll admit it is a little flattering to be viewed as fun, but we really need some boundaries.

One time a parent asked if her child could play with ours. When we responded “of course” and assumed she would stay to observe, she proceeded to leave her child with us while she went out for the afternoon!

But often it’s just the kids who run over to our place on their own. We don’t know if their parents know where they are. Honestly we don’t understand the attraction because we offer nothing more than what they already have at their own place, except perhaps parental supervision! We’ve even tried to say, “we need some family time now,” only to have them sit on the edge of the property and stare and wait to rejoin us.

With the increased volume, the focused attention required with kids around water and the extra clean up, by the end of the day it’s all so exhausting! How do we put a stop to being viewed as free daycare, free lifeguarding and free entertainment while not straining those relationships? — Exhausted from “Relaxing”

Dear Exhausted:

Let me clear something up right now, it’s not your water because you don’t own it. You own the coastline and if you have a dock then that’s yours too but you don’t own the water.

The parent who left their child with you is clearly irresponsible and when you saw them again you should’ve said “When you asked to have your child over, we assumed you were going to be watching over him/her. Next time, he/she isn’t allowed unless you’re present. We’re not running a daycare center…unless you want to pay us.”

To combat this you could put up a fence. That’s the most dramatic response but I don’t think you want that. You sound like you enjoy their company, to an extent. That’s why you need to meet their parents and see if they have their and your your permission to play on your property. But it’s ultimately up to you to approve and be vigilant. If one or multiple kids show up you’ll need to call their parents and see if they know where they are and if you will allow them to play.

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