'Correct your child': Newmarket mother gets anonymous letter saying kids are too loud in backyard
Nosy neighbours give Morgan DeCaires DeBoer an earful — not to her face, of course — about her four children seemingly being too loud when they play in the backyard.
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Morgan DeCairos DeBoer thinks children playing is one of the happiest sounds in the world.
Unfortunately for her, at least one of her neighbours doesn’t agree.
The Newmarket mother of four boys under the age of six, who lives in the Woodland Hills area, was speechless when she received a letter in the mail sent via Canada Post indicating her children were too loud when they were playing in their backyard.
The letter, with no return address and signed “your neighbours,” state several neighbours are frustrated with the noise that is interrupting TV viewing, reading and napping.
“We encourage you to correct your child when he screams by saying, ‘Please stop that yelling’ or something like that,” the letter said. “Perhaps if you supervised them while they were in the backyard it would help.”
It wasn’t long before DeCairos DeBoer took to social media to express her frustration and distaste for the anonymous letter. In a matter of minutes, her followers took her side, commenting on how important it is for children to play outside in a generation growing up in front of screens and, instead, allow them just to be kids.
“To have a neighbour comment, and cowardly hide, on my choice to allow my kids to play in a safe contained area, which is part of the space we pay for, and play how they want and independent from me confuses me,” she said. “Excuse me for allowing my children time to use their imaginations and problem solving skills and get some needed vitamin D.”
If given the chance, she would have pointed out to her neighbour that her children are only outside if the weather is nice and for an hour or two, after school and before dinner. As far as she is concerned, the neighbourhood dogs are more disruptive.
The suburban neighbourhood is surrounded by schools and appears to be mostly family homes. Despite a blustery Tuesday night, two children on the street were kicking around a soccer ball.
The Star couldn’t find any neighbours who had any complaints about the noise or knew who sent the anonymous letter.
“I live right next door and I don’t even notice,” said Tess Weiman, who calls DeCairos DeBoer’s family “great people.”
Weiman has lived in the neighbourhood since it was built and she said there used to be way more children in the area. She said there were more new home owners in the neighbourhood recently.
Arnick I’s backyard is directly behind the family’s. He characterized the noise as “just kids playing.”
Another neighbour said the kids were pretty loud on nice days, but she didn’t know who sent the letter.
While DeCairos DeBoer said she appreciates the suggestions laid out in the letter, she wonders if yelling at her children to quiet down would help anyone and the logistics of getting four young children to a public park that is not as close as one may think are a challenge.
“We have a great backyard, with ample grass and patio space for them to run, jump and play, and I can safely allow them to do so with my screen door open to keep an ear out for trouble while I mind the baby and do what needs doing,” she added. “As this was an anonymous letter, we chose to respond using social media, and use this opportunity to remind families of the importance of outdoor and independent play.”
Her children are: Phoenix, 6; Quinn, 4; Gabriel, 2; and Benjamin, less than a year old.
DeCairos DeBoer said the letter won’t hinder her children’s outside play time and encourages all parents to have their kids take a break from technology and enjoy the great outdoors.
Many of her followers have offered to bring their children over for a play date in the backyard, to lend her children drum sets or to throw a large party for the neighbourhood children in her backyard.
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