What does Play and Chat really mean? My experience of Parent and toddler group

I have been taking my baby, Oliver who is 8 months old to a parent and toddler group for the past few weeks. The class is called ‘Play and Chat’ and as you may have read in a past post that i had taken my other boy there 4 years ago and absolutely loved it.

The first time i went back with Oliver was 3 weeks ago, the class runs for 1 hour and 45 minutes on a Tuesday morning, it used to cost £1.50 but now as the centre has become a children’s centre run by surestart the session is free. They do singing, crafts, serve up tea and coffee for the adults and fruit and toast for the little ones, there are plenty of toys for all ages and tricycles for the children to play with.

Well this week wasn’t a very good experience for me and Oliver it actually left me fuming. I had put Oliver down onto the baby play mat for him to play with another little boy of a similar age to him. They were enjoying playing with the little activity table together, pushing buttons, flipping doors, clicking wheels and spinning wheels and every now and then they would look at each other, giggle, touch each others hands nicely and then carry on with their playing. As it was a table they had to stand up and lean against it to play, Oliver has only just turned 8 months old, yesterday actually, and he hasn’t quite got his balance but he really enjoys standing up. A toddler came on over to the table and pushed my baby onto the floor so he could play, now i know it isn’t the little boys fault but his carer was nowhere to be seen, i didn’t say anything but just moved Oliver on to another toy, this time the boy then came over and snatched the toy right out of his hands. I told the boy that he mustn’t do that as he is only a baby, i let the boy play with the toy and moved Oliver back to the activity table where the boy followed and proceeded to push Oliver’s little hands away from the table. I wasn’t happy as this little boy was being disrupted and i didn’t know who his parent/carer was to tell them what he was doing. By this time they had called all the children over to the big tables to give them a juice and some toast and so the adults could have a cup of tea, so i took this time to take Oliver over to Tricycles and Ride ons were as i knew it would be quiet so he could get a go without lots of children running around him, I found a little ride-on and out him on it, he loved it, he held onto the wheel and kicked out his legs taking in the delight of being pushed around. I pushed him and down the room and round and round and all the time he was squealing with delight. Until… The same boy who had snatched his toy and pushed him away earlier came over and pushed him so hard he fell off of the ride-on and onto the ground, i was holding onto Oliver with one hand so the fall wasn’t too much of a bad one for him to hurt himself but with my other hand i was shielding him from the big boy. Why should i have to do this? Where the hell was his mum? I told the boy that he mustn’t push him as he was only a baby and that he can not control his balance, the boy just looked at me and pushed Oliver again, Now i was getting mad, i probably had steam coming from my ears, I took the boy’s hand away from the ride-on and said sternly ‘NO’, in reply he told me ‘Dont you tell me No’ so i said ‘I will tel you No if you are hurting my baby’ he then said ‘I don’t want him on there, I want him on the floor’, I started scanning the room looking for an adult who was looking over in our direction but not one adult was. I am a nice person but when someone deliberately wants to hurt a young child especially my baby i am not a very nice, all i wanted to do was push the boy back, how bad is that!

I know that the session is called ‘Play and Chat’ but that doesn’t mean leave your children to run riot and hurt other children while you as an adult just sits around chatting away to others oblivious to what your child is doing. It makes me so mad, I take my children and i play with them, i want them to learn how to get involve with other children learn how to share and play nicely, get involved with other children’s games, learn how to interact the right way, what i don’t want is for them to learn how to snatch, how to push to get their own way.

Should i be looking for someone new to take my baby? or should i carry on attending the session but tell someone about what is happening. The session is very busy and i do believe this is because it is now free.

Does anyone have any advice on what i should do?

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11 thoughts on “What does Play and Chat really mean? My experience of Parent and toddler group

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    1. Oh Hun I nearly lost it, by the time I got to the school that afternoon to pick up the boys I was fuming. To be honest I think there are quite a few children at the session that do not play nicely and the mums are chatting to one another, I think they already know what their child is like but choose to ignore them x

  2. Very similar experience for me too once, at an apparently Christian toddler group when my eldest son was just six months old. The mother was nowhere to be seen and the child ran riot. Definitely let the organisers know what happened (in a calm manner!) and make sure you stay close to your baby all the time when he is playing there. Best of luck! X

  3. My blood is boiling! Some parents just treat those places as creches where they can relax and not have to watch their child. The same thing happened to me, my son was bitten on his wrist by another child (I had heard his mother earlier saying that this child’s nursery had told her they couldn’t cope with him and she couldn’t understand what they meant!), he was really upset and there were teeth marks there for days. I was fuming. Anyway, the lady had gone by the time I realised what had happened so I informed the surestart centre and play leader. I filled in some paperwork so they had a record and the play leader said she would have a word with the mother involved. Apparently she (the mother) was mortified.Thing is, we all know deep down what our children are like so in your case the mother must know her child is capable of hurting a baby and should keep a close eye on him.

    If I was you I would have a word with the play leader as they are trained (and paid!) to deal with this sort of thing. I think you were very patient under the circumstances!

    1. Thank you, I think I will have a quiet word next week. I don’t want to stop taking him as I feel it Is important he learns to play with other children but I feel I may have to if it carries on.
      Your poor boy, what a terrible thing to happen and your right as a mum we all know what our children are capable of.

  4. OMG a little f**ker,some mammies just use play groups as a drop creche, the dutch children are the same here and their parents NEVER tell them to stop, make my blood boil too hun.

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