Ask Amy: My Neighbor’s Daycare Kids Are Playing Outside Unsupervised


dear Amy: My family has lived in the same neighborhood for 25 years. We’ve never had a problem – until now.

Our neighbour, who has been here for four years, decided to open a daycare in her home. (She told us she used to sue former employers and friends.)

The problem is that she does not supervise the children when they are outside. They are on the street, in our front yard, in other neighbors’ front yards, in our driveways, etc. I can live with that.

What I can’t stand is that when they are in the garden they harass our two dogs. These kids are shooting Nerf bullets at them, ramming sticks through the fence, standing by the fence, screaming and taunting them putting their hands through the fence, etc.

I asked her to please watch them when they are in the garden, but she does not. We recently installed a windshield (for baseball diamonds) along the fence, but the kids still find ways to torment our dogs.

The dogs are 90% in the house, but when the kids are outside screaming, the dogs hear them and come out the hatch to investigate. I work remotely from home (luckily) so when I see the kids outside, I keep my dogs inside. He is very boring.

I have documented every time there is a problem and I have even recorded the children disturbing our dogs. We are currently installing a camera system. I’m afraid that a child will end up hurting himself. We are unable to move.

Any suggestions on how to handle this besides just covering our own liability?

Disturbs: A child will eventually get hurt.

What you are describing is an extremely dangerous environment for young children. I understand that you are mainly worried about children in the garden harassing your dogs.

But young children unsupervised also in your front yard? Not good. Young children unsupervised in your neighbours’ yards? Not good. Unsupervised children on the street? Extremely dangerous.

You should minimize the time your dogs spend outside when the kids are around. But every time you see these kids shooting projectiles at your dogs, you should personally come out, tell them to stop, and explain to them that they are hurting the dogs, even if they don’t want to.

Anytime you see children in your yard or on the street, you should call the daycare owner and tell her that children are on your property and you are concerned for their safety.

If you see young children unsupervised on the street, you should immediately do what you can to ensure their safety and consider calling the police.

And then you should also report this unsafe babysitting business to your local agency responsible for regulating and investigating babysitting businesses. In my state, it’s the Office of Child and Family Services.

You are obviously extremely intimidated by your neighbor (imagine how those children feel about her). I suggest you stiffen your spine and take all appropriate measures to force it to meet safety standards.

dear Amy: My niece has just had a little girl! I am a proud great-uncle.

But the first photo my brother posted was of his daughter breastfeeding the baby! This is the first time that i see this ! Is it commonplace now? Or has it already been?

My fiancé is as stunned as I am!

“Stunned in Denver!”

Stunned: Yes, breastfeeding is “commonplace” since babies need to feed themselves.

People are now sharing pictures of women breastfeeding their babies, so it’s become commonplace too. Some moms post “brelfies” (breastfeeding selfies) on social media.

The decision to share or keep breastfeeding private should be the prerogative of parents. Women breastfeeding babies should not be seen as embarrassing, shameful or bewildering. (Would you object to the photo if your niece was bottle-feeding her baby?)

As witnessing breastfeeding becomes culturally normalized, you might think of yourself as the vanguard of a trend: you saw a photo of a mother breastfeeding her child and you survived.

dear Amy: Please don’t use words like “doulas” in your column, as it forces me to take the time to look up the unknown word. I just can’t ignore it!

Dan: Thank you for looking up an unknown word. Think of me as your vocabulary doula, helping readers spark knowledge.

©2022 by Amy Dickinson. Distributed by content agency Tribune.


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