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Over scheduled children and extra curricular activities

(51 Posts)
FatOwl Tue 17-Sep-13 10:21:12

Putting on my flame proof pants here.

I run Rainbows.

there are two other units within reasonable distance and I know the other leaders quite well.

I am just getting ready for the term and have had in the last few days no less than 10 emails from either parents in my own unit or parents from the other two nearby ones, wanting to swap groups/come late or leave early every week/even asking me to adjust the time of my colony to accommodate swimming/dancing/horseriding/gymnastics etc etc

I know it's obviously up to parents how many extra stuff their DCs do etc, but AIBU to ask why is it us that why is it always us that has to accommodate? I bet they are not asking dancing if they can arrive 45 mins late every week.

I know we don't have to accommodate (we all have a waiting list and could easily fill the places), and I'm so tempted to email back and say "sorry you have to choose, your DC can't do everything"

angelos02 Tue 17-Sep-13 10:22:57

Surely the class runs at a certain time & that is the end of it. If someone can't make that time, tough tits.

Bonsoir Tue 17-Sep-13 10:25:36

Presumably they ask you rather than other activities because they perceive some flexibility in your system that there isn't elsewhere. Scheduling activities is hard work for parents too and I know which activities are entirely non-negotiable and which ones have a little leeway.

SuperiorCat Tue 17-Sep-13 10:27:06

YANBU - I guess that it is the start of the year so lots of DCs will be moving about within lesson groups hence they now cannot fit in with your timings.

It is not up to you to change, they have to decide which one they want to do.

Bonsoir Tue 17-Sep-13 10:27:25

And it is fine to say no! I don't expect activities to accommodate me - I just hope they might.

Tommy Tue 17-Sep-13 10:28:05

YANBU - this is when it runs, if they don't want to come then, they obviously are not that bothered whether they go to Rainbows or not. We have to make choices and children may as well start realising that sooner rather than later!

SuperiorCat Tue 17-Sep-13 10:28:15

Thinking about this again, they are being very rude.

And as you are volunteers they are doubly taking the piss.

hippo123 Tue 17-Sep-13 10:28:50

Why should there be leeway In brownies / rainbows/ cubs etc? I would send them that email op.

TeeBee Tue 17-Sep-13 10:29:33

'Over scheduled children' is your assumption. YABU for that. But otherwise, you volunteer your time, they either turn up at the time you have set or miss out, that's their choice. Turning up late disrupts everyone as you need to explain everything again, so I would say a no to that.

IneedAyoniNickname Tue 17-Sep-13 10:29:45

When I was young, my ballet and swimming lessons were both on a Friday. As I worked up the ballet grades, the class got later until eventually I was running out from ballet getting in the car in my ballet gear and going swimming.

Then I went up another grade, and the classes clashed. It never occurred to either me or my mum to ask either class time to change, I was given the choice about which class I stopped taking.

ErrolTheDragon Tue 17-Sep-13 10:30:10

>ask why is it us that why is it always us that has to accommodate?

Probably because they know that they wouldn't stand a chance of the other profit-making activities trying to accommodate them. And frankly, you don't have to, and shouldn't. Its not fair on the kids who do a sensible amount of activities to be mucked around to accommodate kids who are doing other things. I think your proposed email is quite correct. They can't do everything - they need time at home being kids, getting bored, having to use their imaginations and <whispers> doing stuff with their parents not just chauffeured to them.

If you and the other leaders know there's kids who would like to swap groups with each other, fine - but anything that disrupts the rest of the kids is taking the piss.

WilsonFrickett Tue 17-Sep-13 10:31:23

I think swapping groups is fine, if you are able to do it without too much fuss. But changing times/arriving late/early - do people really do this shock. How rude! You have to just say no OP. That's ridiculous.

Portofino Tue 17-Sep-13 10:32:23

I have to leave work unacceptably early to take DD to Brownies once a week. Maybe I should ask Brown Owl if she could it back an hour? wink

Tough titty imho, and very rude to even ask.

harryhausen Tue 17-Sep-13 10:35:47


You are volunteers. Great volunteers in my experience of Guiding. Just because you don't turn a profit a minority parents seem to see you as some kind of 'filler' activity or perhaps a bit of child care. Totally not on.

Put your foot down. It runs when it runs. It's up to them to either work into their timetable or drop it.

ErrolTheDragon Tue 17-Sep-13 10:38:19

>'Over scheduled children' is your assumption. YABU for that

trying to do more than one thing on the same evening is over-scheduled, even if its the only things they do that week.

harryhausen Tue 17-Sep-13 10:40:18

I agree with Errol. 'Over-scheduled' seems merely factually correct in this case. The OP didn't seem to be making a moral judgement on it!

WhatchaMaCalllit Tue 17-Sep-13 10:46:18

I think a reply email (as polite as can be) saying to these parents something along these lines and apologies if I've misinterpreted some aspect of the Rainbows sessions:

Hi X,
I would like to remind you that Rainbows runs a volunteer session each <enter the day of the week here> from <time a> to <time b>. Unfortunately it is not possible to accommodate everyone at these times and we understand this. However we do have a waiting list of people wanting to attend at those times.
Regular attendance is essential and any Rainbow attendee/student/child missing sessions continuously will lose their place. There will be no refund for sessions missed.
Your child's session will now be on
Mon/Tues/Wed/Whatever From 5pm-6pm (or whatever time you've mentioned above).

Kindest regards,

Fat Owl

harryhausen Tue 17-Sep-13 10:48:24

Seems fair to me. If you have a really long waiting list, it seems unfair to enroll girls who never show up.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 17-Sep-13 10:49:03

YANBU to refuse to change your timings. You have a life too I expect.

YABVVVU to think that Rainbows is going to be more important to anyone than music or dancing or drama lessons. Or to even put Rainbows in the same category as music, dance or drama.

These people clearly want to continue doing rainbows if they can. Facilitate them, or don't facilitate them. Just don't expect them to choose you over something proper.

harryhausen Tue 17-Sep-13 10:55:18

Russian aren't you a charmer.

The OP isn't expecting them to do anything except join Rainbows (if they want - which lots of girl clearly do and are waiting to do!) and come along regularly, not ask to leave early all the time, do a different session some weeks etc. Its just rude IMO.

2madboys Tue 17-Sep-13 10:56:37

shock Wow, Russians. I really hope if your DC go to Rainbows, or anything similar, Scouts, for example, that the leaders don't hear you talking like that. The leaders give up huge amounts of time (including weekends and holidays) to run sessions, camps, preparation, planning, meetings, etc. I have two boys so have no experience of Guiding (apart from my own), but definitely consider the massive opportunities and experiences they've had through Scouting to be 'Proper'.

harryhausen Tue 17-Sep-13 10:57:03

Just to point out, I took offence to Russians 'something proper' comment. Rainbows, brownies and guides is hugely 'proper' in my eyes when done well.

Iamnotminterested Tue 17-Sep-13 10:57:27

Russians, you're bang out of order with your post on so many levels, I'd run for the hills if I were you.

whois Tue 17-Sep-13 10:58:00

These people clearly want to continue doing rainbows if they can. Facilitate them, or don't facilitate them. Just don't expect them to choose you over something proper

Wow. How rude! Arguably small children get more useful life skills out of rainbows than dance.

JammieCodger Tue 17-Sep-13 10:58:05

Or to even put Rainbows in the same category as music, dance or drama.


It's Rainbows. Its for seven year olds and younger and is exactly the same as music, dance or drama should be at that age. Something social and fun.

YANBU, OP. If classes overlap then it is for the parent to make a choice, not for you to fiddle about to accomodate them. I'd recommend something just along the lines of what WhatchaMaCalllit suggests.

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