how to handle being the adult in charge of a large group of children - Mothering Forums
The Childhood Years > how to handle being the adult in charge of a large group of children
slinden's Avatar slinden 12:32 PM 09-06-2012

OK, super clunky title. Sorry I couldn't think of a more succinct way to put it.


Here's the deal-- I just started a new job as a library director where I'll be leading a reading time for preschool aged kids. My son is 3.5 so my mom (who watches him when I am at work) brought him in to sit with us.


DS was so happy to see me and wanted to sit with me... in the middle of the story, while all the other kids had to stay seated. I kept telling him he needed to go sit down, but he obviously didn't understand why mom didn't want to cuddle with him like normal.


He left halfway through and told my mom that he wanted to go home... so they sat outside of the storytime room and played and read together. Afterwards I could tell he couldn't quite make sense of what had happened and was trying to deal with it on his own.


I guess my question is, did I handle this OK? It made me feel bad (having to push him away and tell him to sit down several times), so I am guessing maybe not. Is there a good way to handle this situation and if so how??

pbjmama's Avatar pbjmama 01:49 PM 09-06-2012

I think he is too young to understand. Is it possible that he not attend?

slinden's Avatar slinden 05:06 PM 09-06-2012

yeah, it is possible. it was totally voluntary on my part for him to be there, i just thought it would be neat to have him there. :(

katelove's Avatar katelove 05:24 PM 09-06-2012
Could he not sit on your lap? I can see that he shouldn't be allowed to roam around while the other kids have to sit but perhaps you could introduce him as your son and let him sit with you if he will stay there.
slinden's Avatar slinden 05:27 PM 09-06-2012

well, he wanted to, and i am obviously ok with that :) but i didn't want it to seem like favoritism or something since all the other kids were there. plus it seemed like the other adult helpers were being pretty stern about the kids staying in their seats, so i guess i didn't want him to seem favored in that way.

katelove's Avatar katelove 05:37 PM 09-06-2012
I think as long as he was just getting up to sit with you and not wandering around it would be fine. Maybe he could sit right at the front so it's not too disruptive for him to get to you or sit on your lap from the beginning of the session.
The4OfUs's Avatar The4OfUs 05:39 PM 09-06-2012

I dunno, I think if it's a paying job and you're the director and responsible for the group of children that come to story time, that's not the time to be mom.  I'd probably not have him come since he's not understanding that this is "work mommy" and not "mommy mommy"....unless you maybe role play at home and practice some with him not coming to sit with you during a story.  I'm sure he gets PLENTY of story time with you on his own at home, and when you're at your job doing story time for other kids, you should be focusing on them.  

slinden's Avatar slinden 05:40 PM 09-06-2012

Thanks for the ideas, katelove. he was sitting right at the front, but you know, i might just let him sit on my lap if he wants to, i mean what is the problem about doing that, really? i think i just let myself be peer pressured inadvertantly. although, i talked with my husband and if DS wants to go back another time, i think DH will take off a bit of work (he works nearby) to drop in and let DS sit on his lap while we read. i think that sounds like a sweet potential resolution, don't you think? :)

AngieB's Avatar AngieB 08:41 PM 09-06-2012
I also work at a library and have a weekly preschool Storytime that I lead. There were times when I had to bring my dd to the storytimes and I had the same problem. One of my solutions was to set a small chair next to mine and dd would sit in that chair when she wanted to be by me. It did sometimes cause a problem because other children also wanted to sit in the chair. I mostly just tried to find daycare for dd and not have her at Storytime. I didn't feel like I could fully focus on my job if I was dealing with dd and I wasn't being the best mom because I was having to put my Job above dd's needs. If your ds isn't content sitting with grandma or dad I would say don't bring him. It is much harder to focus on the other children if you are worrying about your own child's needs and I think letting your ds sit on your lap is unfair to the other kids attending Storytime.
zebra15's Avatar zebra15 11:07 PM 09-06-2012

While I don't think any child should be on your lap I've never been to a story time where the kids stay seated or there isn't some type of organized chaos going on.  Preschool aged kids are energetic by nature and most story times around here are becoming more 'interactive'.  By interactive I mean, fingerplays, songs, etc.

caseykn's Avatar caseykn 11:25 AM 09-13-2012

I love library story times because the library employees are always so engaged with the kids and provide lots of movement and activity and interactions with the story, address the kids by name, invite them to participate, etc, especially for pre-school aged kids. I think that having your own child being clingy and sitting on your lap would detract from the other kids and families' experiences. I totally understand your dilemma, though. I run a summer camp and the weeks that my daughter attends camp are challenging for me to maintain my role as director and to be approachable for all the kids and staff and to have my daughter always running up to me, wanting to hold my hand and sit on my lap, even when she should be doing an activity with her counselor.


I do a lot of talking with my daughter, who's a little older, about appropriate behavior when she's at work with me and that we have some rules that we both need to follow that are different than at home. At work, no staff member is allowed to have kids sit on their laps, for example. I second the idea of doing some role plays at home to mimic library storytime when you're working.


Also, when someone brings him for storytime are you able to see him for a few minutes before it starts to get a little snuggle time in? I can see where it would be really hard for him to contain himself if the first time he sees you all day is when you're unapproachable.