RE: Children: Letting them work it out or micromanaging
From: Prescott Nichols (
Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2005 12:08:33 -0800 (PST)

I would echo Robert from Eno Commons's comments. There's hope! Get everyone
onboard with a few sensible guidelines and it really should simplify your
life as parent. 

Things to keep in mind:

1) Cohousing is not an instant salve for children with special needs. It has
potential to be the best, most nurturing environment that a parent could
wish for, but some children have needs that require more supervision, more
buy-in from neighbors. A child care committee is a good venue for these

2) Adults without children have needs too. Make-or-break issues, like
sanitation at common meals, need to be discussed and respected. 

3) It sounds like the children in your community are still getting to know
each other. As the years go by, many of them will form bonds with one
another comparable to siblings. The older kids will automatically look after
the little ones. (Not that that is a substitute for toddler supervision!) As
a parent of an 8th grader, I appreciate the value of these deeper
relationships more than ever.


Prescott Nichols
Muir Commons
Davis, CA

-----Original Message-----
From: Shelly [mailto:shelldemeo [at]] 
Sent: Tuesday, December 13, 2005 6:17 AM
To: Cohousing-L
Subject: [C-L]_ Children: Letting them work it out or micromanaging


Here at Rocky Hill Cohousing, 24 of the 28 households have moved in.  Along
with those houses came many active children.....heavy on the boy side and no
playscape in sight as of yet.  Common house under construction..  

It seems that many issues have been popping up from incidents with children
that vary from day to day.  One day, one child feels excluded....another day
someone got hit with a lightsaber too hard, one...a snowball, etc.  

The ages of  the kids paying ranges from around 5 to 11 and the attitudes
about how much supervision the children need outside vary from "let them
work it out" to "somebody needs to be supervising at all times."

As one who has a ten-year-old boy who runs out to play and a one-year-old
daughter who needs my attention inside the home, I really don't have the
energy or desire to pack her into a backpack carrier in a snowsuit and stand
outside on the path monitoring the children every moment.

How have other communities handled this?  The child care committee wants to
have monthly parenting meetings where we discuss how each child is feeling
and what issues have happened etc. While that sounds like a good idea, I
guess, I feel a little exhausted just thinking about yet another meeting.  I
thought this was going to SIMPLIFY my life!

Shelly DeMeo
Rocky Hill Cohousing
Northampton, MA  

Ne thing I am enjoying about cohousing is that there always seems to be
somebody outside wanting to play and my boy runs out to join the action.
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