Tuesday 26 April 2016

I hate playgroup

I hate playgroup. It's not always been the case, but three kids in and I'm now happy to admit it. Because the thing is.. the playgroup is only as good as the people who go there.

So, what am I saying... I don't like the people at the playgroup at the moment?  Maybe? However,  I have identified that I feel like this almost exclusively at this time of year.

We live in a busy area, there are a lot of playgroups but whether they are great or not they always fill up really quickly.  This means that you get different people at the playgroups every week.  Sometimes your friends will get in and sometimes there will be people you don't know... and sometimes people you'd rather not go to a play group with.  The people who sit or stand talking, ignoring their kids.

I get it. It's as much a break for mum as it is for the child but it's not about abandoning your terrible two, three or four year old to the vortex of the  room and ignoring them at every opportunity.

I've seen kids crying with no mum coming to the rescue until a volunteer or another caring parent has basically sorted it out.  I've seen kids being pushed away by their mums  or childminders whilst they are on the phone or chatting. But the worst are the one's who let their kids do anything they want.

This might be why it happens worst at this time of year.  One half of the kids in the playgroup are going to school next year and their mum has just had the confirmation through that their child is going to the cool school down the road. These kids are bigger and maybe mum and them have this strange artificial sense of independence and superiority that means they are let loose to the detriment of the other kids and parents present.

One little girl needed help at the craft table... her carer or mother was no where to be seen.  After helping Jane I offered her some help with the glue.  She was giving it a good go but making a terrible mess that was accidentally destroying several other kids makes. And I helped clear up the very sticky mess. The mess wasn't the only thing that was sticky... this kid then stuck to me.

I'm happy to help out but I tend to use playgroups as another play opportunity with my kid.  Yes, I can grab a cuppa, catch up, but I'm also playing shops, helping Jane dress up or reading a book.  After a while I was doing this with Jane and this other little girl. And then it got worse.  The little girl started to demand all my attention.  Maybe that's why mummy needed to disappear (seriously where was she) whilst the little girl now decided that I wasn't allowed to play with my own daughter to the point of trying to remove Jane's dressing up clothes.   Quite rightly, Jane went nuts. "She's not being very nice of me," she cried.  

Jane  and I are fairly used to standing up for ourselves. Jane has two older autistic brothers at home who are both full on during their play and fairly selfish with toys. I'm used to a fair amount of attention.  Perhaps I should have stood up for Jane earlier?  I'm happy to help other kids but it's really not my place to be their mum when their own parental interest has waned.

I'd just about calmed Jane down for snack time and sat her next to a little boy whose mother was stood behind him chatting to another mum. It was a busy so I grabbed my tea and stood watching around the other side of the table.  Jane was calmly eating her biscuit when the little boy turned and pushed her so hard it tipped her off her chair. It was enough for several mums to go 'ooooh' when she fell but little boy's mum barely blinked.

I came round the table to pick up Jane who was actually crying at this ladies feet and got there only just before another mum who had been watching and askes if she was ok (Thank you). I grabbed Jane's biscuit and took her to the side to calm down.  The little boys mum.... ruffled his hair and patted him on the head without breaking eye contact with her friend.

What did I miss?

Has there been a new study that says if your kid is a bully in playgroups they grow up to be highly successful? That saying to your kid, "pushing people isn't very nice" could damage their potential?

I actually knew this mum from when I used to go to playgroups with my autistic kids (that didn't happen for long).  I couldn't help wondering if she was in some way punishing my little girl for bringing my boys along previously?  Surely not?

We didn't stay for much longer.. and as I left I was disappointed.  Everyone has good and bad days, mums and kids included. Being a mum is hard and I see a lot of people moaning about how hard it can be.  I know it's hard being a mum, but being a kid is harder.  Yes they need help with clearing up, learning new skills and sharing, but they also need help with learning what's right from wrong and good behaviour.  It wouldn't have been ok for Jane to push someone, so why is it ok for someone to push Jane?

And it's not my job to tell other mum's how to do their job.. but if the playgroup is teaching Jane that snatching is ok and pushing is ok.. then it's not ok for us.  She gets pushed enough at home by kids who can't know better.  We can happily play somewhere else. Woe betide the little boy when the girls start getting bigger, he might learn his lesson the hard way. I wonder if his mum will have any interest by then?  

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  1. Wow it sounds ghastly! I never really went to playgroups as I was working so the kids were in nursery - I always felt bad, but am now thinking we were the lucky ones. The parents and kids sound pretty awful in your post, I know all kids have their moments, but for parents to just ignore that behaviour is terrible x

  2. You're absolutely right! I must admit that I'm sometimes guilty of not having quite enough hands and eyes to manage both of my tots if we all go to playgroup, and I will sometimes have to let my eldest "practice her independence" while I chase the little one around trying to keep him out of trouble. I'm definitely not one for standing about with a cuppa and ignoring them though as I agree that it's just not fair on the other children or parents. You did so well to bite your tongue when Jane was pushed. It breaks my heart when my little ones are on the receiving end of a shove or otherwise not so pleasant behaviour!
    Thanks for sharing with #passthesauce x

    1. Every kid pushes at some point and I feel terrible when my little one does it but accept that it's part of learning and so teach her about what she should do or not do. I've got three kids so I'm not daft and understand that despite having eyes in the back of our heads, mums can't be everywhere or even just on two places at once. Honestly the more I think about it the more I'm worried that it is some sort of back back for my autistic boys... And that really would be disturbing

  3. Poor Jane. I have to admit that I do love to catch up with other mums at playgroup and let Sophie play independently but it depends on the playgroup and how happy she is to play while I chat. I'm always watching her even if I'm not directly interacting with her though. I'm quite shocked that the other mum just ignored her son pushing Jane off the chair - what message does that send out to children? No wonder you don't like playgroup. Thank you for linking up to #ftmob

  4. If this little boy's mum doesn't address his behaviour, one day he will pick on the wrong kid who will hit him. Sadly, it's probably the kid sticking up for himself who will end up punished!
    Thanks for linking up to #BloggerClubUK :)

  5. Sounds awful! I rarely go to them anymore, but the last time I did, it was a group I'd never been to before & it was frankly weird. Absolutely none of the mothers or children were interacting with each other. They were all playing in individual areas with their own kids, not talking. My sociable eldest toddler immediately started trying to talk to and play with all of the children. Even my shy littlest one tried to show some other children books and play tea parties. They were both playing nicely, only picking up toys no one was using, etc. But every child ignored my kids' attempts to play with and talk to them, and the parents just kept glaring at them, like it was my children who were odd for trying to actually play with children in a playgroup. So strange. If they'd just been doing it to us, I would have thought they didn't like new people, but as they were all ignoring each other too, I think they were just a bit weird! #ftmob

  6. I can so related to some of this as I've been to some truly awful playgroups where I've nearly come out in tears. I've been very lucky though to find two absolutely amazing ones. You are right it can totally depend on the people there. I'm a childminder and it makes me so sad when I find out that other childminders are giving the good ones a bad name by treating children like that. I can assure you that we are not all like that!! Thanks for linking up to #ToddlerApprovedTuesday


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