Re: off limits to kids?
From: Casey Morrigan (
Date: Mon, 2 Oct 2006 14:38:40 -0700 (PDT)
In Two Acre Wood (Sebastopol, California), we have a policy that children
under 13 are not allowed to play unsupervised by an adult in the Common
House.  We didn't always have a policy, but instituted one after children
did play there unsupervised with some unpleasant aftereffects (but no
injuries). We don't have other off limits policies.  We do have some
workshop equipment in an open carport that is accessible to all, and a
treadmill in the laundry room of the common house. The treadmill needs a
code or key (can't remember) to operate and the children don't have it. We
also allow children to participate in our general membership meetings only
if they have an adult mentor/buddy who has briefed them on how things work.

More importantly, we have discovered over the years that we can try things
out, such as policies, and change them if they aren't working. Also, many
conversations we have had about possible future scenarios have turned out to
be fruitless worry.  I don't mean that it is meaningless to discuss
children's safety and how to maintain expensive equipment. But we so often
were posing the wrong question!  So much of what happens after move-in can
be dealt with then, and doesn't need to be arranged beforehand. Sometimes
you can make an agreement to discuss something by a certain time - right
before all the workshop equipment is moved in, for example. You really need
lots of energy just to get through construction itself.  Also, as the
children got older, their needs for supervision changed, so that concerns we
had before move in were different after we actually got here.  I also got to
know my neighbors and realized that some could accurately predict what their
children would do in a risky situation - for example, that their children
really did know how to identify poisonous mushrooms and would stay away from

It is hard to realize that community property belongs to all, and that all
have a say in how it is used. I do find it challenging, being very risk
averse myself. It is so different from living on a large property all on
your own. Good luck. Let us know what your community ended up deciding.

Casey M.
Two Acre Wood
Sebastopol, California

-----Original Message-----
From: Becky M. Pulito [mailto:Becky [at]] 
Sent: Sunday, October 01, 2006 8:24 PM
To: cohousing-l [at]
Subject: [C-L]_ off limits to kids?

I am having a difficult time finding info in the archives regarding areas
off-limits to children.


In our community, we are laying down groundwork for living post-move-in
(we're pre-construction right now, getting through the red tape).  We have
come to a hurdle  


Some members feel children should not be allowed in certain areas without a
parent.  Some members feel children should be allowed to use certain
facilities when their parents agree they are ready, and that a child's
readiness should not be dictated by the group or a policy stating an age
minimum (like no one under 14 uses the exercise room, for example).


For my group, the main areas to consider are the workshop, the exercise room
and the pool area, all of which can be hazardous for anyone who is not


What about your group?  Do you have "policy" on which, if any, areas are off
limits to children without supervision?  Any insight would be appreciated.


Thank you,

~Becky, Camelot Cohousing in Massachussetts

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