Tell me how your playgroup is run - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 01-30-2003, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all

I've been taking my 19 month old to a mixed age playgroup at the Y and it's our first experience with a big group. I'm kinda wondering if they're all like this.

First, do the parents play with their kids at the playgroup or do the kids just run around by themselves? Here, I'm the only parent playing with my kid (he pretty much insists) and I feel like I have to intervene with the bigger kids when they are trampling on the little kids. Even the other little kids run off and spend almost the whole time playing by themselves, which is so foreign given my ds's nature.

Second, would you expect a 5 year old to apologize for running over a little one? [can you tell that happened twice to my ds today by the same kid] Would you expect the parent to intervene?

I like to get Finn out of the house and all, but my mama bear instincts are flashing yellow warning lights. Am I just out of line? Has this been your experience?


Angie, Mama to Finn (6/01) and Theo (4/05)
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#2 of 7 Old 01-30-2003, 11:28 PM
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I go to 3 different playgroups during the week.

2 of the groups are only small, and the other is huge.

1 of the groups only has 5 young mum's who go, they have a carer inside and we do crafts out on the deck. So you have the choice of weather you let your child play inside or come out with you. they provide morning tea, and drinks

the 2nd group is again for young mum's and has about 8-9 young mums and dads who go there. This one doesn't have a carer, and the kids play outside, and you bring your own morning tea.

The last group i go to is once again for Young Mum's and has quite a lot who go. They provide morning tea and salad, buns and meat for rolls for lunchtime. They have a carer downstairs who looks after the children who want to go and play down there. Otherwise the rest just stay upstairs with the mums, and play while we do crafts. The babies in this group are 14mths and up.

"Second, would you expect a 5 year old to apologize for running over a little one? [can you tell that happened twice to my ds today by the same kid] Would you expect the parent to intervene?"

I have had a go at a young mum who has 3 kids under the age of 5 who have pushed bubby over and stuff and hit him lots. I do expect a 5 year old to apologise or else the mother to.
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#3 of 7 Old 01-31-2003, 12:48 AM
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our playgroup is just 5 moms who were in childbirth class together - our original set is 3 (almost 4) now. we used to meet at each other's houses, but now that there are 10 kids, we meet at a public place (park, indoor play area, etc). we don't have any rules per se, but we no longer have playgroup at each other's houses b/c some of us notice that one or two of the other moms have/take no control over their kids. very frustrating. they just chat and chat and don't notice/care/pay attention to what the kids are doing.

that said, i defintely go to playgroup/have play dates b/c I like to interact w/other moms, BUT not at the expense of our kids. if the kids (theirs or mine) want to read or play w/me, I comply OR sometimes will play/read for a few minutes and then explain that i want time to talk w/the other mommies. If i notice (and I'm usually the only one that does) that one is being hurtful, i usually intervene and/or bring it to the offender's parent's attention if necessary. (very annoying to have to do so imho!)

same thing goes for when my kids are at a public play area. i stand back whenever possible and allow my kids to play on their own, i don't intervene unless necessary or requested to do so by my kids, i let them play. (I do like a break now and then!) But it chaps my ass when parents aren't paying attention and their kids are running amuck and/or hurting other kids (there's always at least one - trust me!) I mean it is NOT a 2 yo's responsibility to act like a well-mannered human being. it is his/her parent's responsibility to be paying attention and intervene when necessary.

that said, i do think that a 5 yo should be aware of littler ones and if not, should have a parent making them aware - same for any age child. if my 2 yo bumps into someone accidentally OR hits someone on purpose, i know about it and help her to act appropriately and/or fix the situation.

WOHM married to SAHD, living the dream w/our: 3 girls (14,12,10) and 3 boys (7,5,3) and tie-breaker due Jan 2014

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#4 of 7 Old 01-31-2003, 12:54 AM
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I have one playgroup that I've been going to since Parker (15 months) was just 5 months old. In that group, we all started out sitting on the floor with our little ones just gabbing and it was a potluck lunch. Since then it has progressed to lots of the kids playing with each other, but also us playing with them, though not necessarily with our own child, rather the child closest to us . It has been really a nice group. Of course, all these children are the same general age.

The second group I go to has several ages and we all talk about a topic while the children play. They are definitely supervised, though, and when a child wants Mom to play with them, that happens, but it isn't as much the rule as it is in my first playgroup.

If I had a 5-year old, first of all, I'd be paying attention to what they were doing, and if they ran over a toddler once, I'd expect them to apologize, and if they did it twice we'd both apologize to the toddler and mom and make sure it didn't happen again, even if it meant leaving or staying in another area. I'm so sorry that happened to you; that definitely wasn't nice .
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#5 of 7 Old 01-31-2003, 04:32 AM
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I also go to several play groups a week. They are all "open gym" formats with large equipment, cars & balls at one & the others in a smaller space have cars separate from slide, basketball hoop, kitchen, house & workshop play areas. I don't have to stay as close to dd as I did when she was smaller, but I still try to stay close by & always keep an eye on her. Most parents at these groups do the same thing, although there are always those that sit on benches on the side & don't even "spot" for their own kids when they're on the trampoline. That really gets me ! One of these days there will be a bad accident & they'll make it a rule or take away the trampoline. Sometimes some of the bigger kids get a little carried away, but there is usually someone close by to comfort the little one & say something to the offender.
I would try to find another group to go to if this is an on-going problem at the Y...or, if not, is there someone running the group that you could speak to about your concerns? Maybe they could intervene with the parents on your behalf.
I don't think you're out of line at all. Good luck!

Helen wash.gif Homeschooling Mama to Nicola photosmile2.gif 07/00 , Daniel kewl.gif 05/03 & cat.gifX2...and hug.gif with Barry caffix.gif since 08/87
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#6 of 7 Old 01-31-2003, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all your feedback and reassurance. I'm still feeling some of that mama bear energy. Finn woke up saying "Henry (the kid who ran him over) green ball hit head floor boom" (if you understand toddler speak). Not traumatized but still thinking about it.

I'm not sure what we'll do. It only lasts for a few more weeks and it's great to get out of the house especially to a big gym like that and he loves to watch the big kids which is why I wanted a mixed age group though I can see it also has its downsides.

Sadly, the kid who ran him over is from the only family that I know there and I've always considered her an AP mentor, so that makes it even more tricky. I did talk to the kid about what happened but was surprised that I had to make the initiative.

Hopefully our Nature by Nature group will take off as I really like the vibe there.

Thanks again

Angie, Mama to Finn (6/01) and Theo (4/05)
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#7 of 7 Old 02-02-2003, 11:06 AM
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I would hang in there for a few more visits and see if things calm down. I have found that our first time in a new environment is chaotic for both of us, I'm not sure how things are going to go, DS isn't sure what to do, and I'm not always on top of how to handle things. Now that you know what the energy level is and a little bit about how the other kids play, you'll probably know when to step in and when the kids can handle themselves. Our playgroup is mixed ages, and the moms with children under 2 generally have to stick a little closer, the older children tend to get lost in play and forget about the little ones.
Good luck!
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