AIBU to get really ratty with these parents.(40 Posts)
I help run a holiday playscheme. We work damn hard despite being "only" volunteers. Thanks to the efforts of the girls who sort the fundraising forms out we've managed to keep our costs to £10 for a week of playscheme [That's 3 hours per day Mon-Thu then a full day Fri as we go for a trip]. Everything is covered all week including a snack and drink daily, entry for the trip etc.
For trips we ask the parents to send the children with a sandwich/roll/wrap/sausage roll type item. The main part of their lunch basically, and a bottle of water. We then provide everything else - a juice, some fruit, etc. We always give a specific list of what will be provided so that they know that their child is absolutely not going to go hungry. We ask them not to include chocolate, fizzy juice etc. We've explained time and time again that we do lunches this way because it makes everything equal, some of our parents are from a very deprived area and money is super tight. The whole point of the playscheme is that from the second the kids come in the door the kids are equal - being poor or rich doesn't make a difference to what you get.
Last year we resorted to saying that if people wanted to give chocolate/haribo/whatever then they needed to provide enough for all of the children. We didn't actually want donations, but it meant the kids were the same.
Today we go off, have a merry time and then we get to lunchtime. We discover that five, of forty, children have parents who have completely ignored the rules. There's fizzy juice in one, chocolate in three, a lunch that would feed about eight people in the other. There's also so much food that instead of finishing their lunch and only having their water bottle to carry this afternoon they end up still humphing their bag around (they are asked to bring a plastic bag that can just be put into a bag of bags after lunch) which means adults minding six bags at the park and a whole day of "Barnaby don't forget your bag?" and "Whose bag is this? Mary is this your bag? No, what about you Joseph is it yours?"
Why do people not listen? We speak to the kids, they help plan the lunch, they choose their fruit etc. We work everything round so that allergies are catered for. Yet they don't bloody listen.
AIBU to get really ratty and search bags before we go on the bus next week?
Nope definitely nbu, Im not sure what the solution is but very unfair of these parents to ignore the rules!
YANBU, maybe say that anything extra will be thrown away?
One of the other volunteers suggested giving the kids a clear sandwich bag on the Thursday to bring their sandwich and water in the next day. Then we could bring bags for the rest. She was joking, but I'm sorely tempted.
I also got to be the bad guy telling a child that she had to wait with her Dad for her brother to run up with her inhaler and if they were too long the bus would have to go without her, and no, Dad, she can't just "borrow someone else's if she gets wheezy".
It's the first year I've ever thought "Why the fuck do I do this?" I'm not even supposed to be there this summer as I had a baby in May and my DS isn't even booked in as he's on holiday with PIL!
Check their bags. Any 'contraband' gets binned before lunch and leftovers get binned afterwards. Tell parents this is what you will be doing. If the piss takers continue, you'll be wasting food but it might make them think twice
Check bags and confiscate contraband before the outing. Return offending items at the end of the day.
Let me guess. It's the more affluent families breaching the rules too.
I have a solution! (This is a very exciting moment for me.... I never have a practical solution!)
Tell the parents they have to give all food to the volunteers. The sandwich /sausage roll/wrap will get a sticker put on it with their child's name and will get given to them at lunchtime.
Everything else will get put in the communal bag and will be distributed equally when there is enough for everyone.
And no bags for the kids at all!
Death that is a brilliant idea!
Death That's a pretty good idea actually. I don't like the idea of landing the adults with more stuff to carry, but it might work.
I miss the days when there was enough funding around to take them to the cafe for lunch.
I don't expect people to bow down in gratitude, but they could at least just listen. It's amazing what people expect for £10 a week. I shall chill for a while and then have the fun of opening the comments and suggestions box - I anticipate at least five or six people suggesting we operate a 8am-6pm session rather than a half day :D
The less well off families firstly couldn't afford the additional food and would jump at chance to send basic all the same lunch.
Secondly they are probably more grateful for the cheap childcare and activities you are putting on.
I salute your principle... but... there will still be the kids who have the "right" trainers and the "designer" bags and whatever. "Equal" lunches will not make them all "equal" in reality, in the same way that all kids in a class know who the "clever ones" are even if the sets are called Red/Blue/Green rather than Top/Middle/Bottom.
To be honest, I'd just tell them to send their kids with a lunch, let them send whatever they want, and give yourselves one less thing to sweat. If you're a playscheme and parents are sending their own food then I don't think you have to worry too much about "healthy eating" awards etc, so give yourself the easier option of not having to police it?
I want to just fall at your feet in gratitude and amazement and wonder that there are lovely people like you providing such a wonderful service so cheaply. These parents don't know they're born
It's just so frustrating. We plan the lunches with the kids. Some of them went to the shops yesterday to buy the stuff we needed (the others were helping plan/print the Eye Spy sheets). they are heavily involved and know why we don't bring Snickers bars etc. They chose what we were going to have.
They all, to a child, love the equalness. They've all got tshirts they designed in the week etc. It's so good to see. There is such a divide in our area, between schools and areas, and yet the kids all mix and mingle happily. Then the parents bloody ruin it.
I should have known it was going to be one of those weeks when I got a complaint about the price increase (from £7.50pw to £10pw with a half hour increase on time) on Monday while I was in Tesco.
If you're a playscheme and parents are sending their own food then I don't think you have to worry too much about "healthy eating" awards etc, so give yourself the easier option of not having to police it?
It's not about healthy eating. It's about the fact some of the parents wouldn't send the children if they had to provide a full packed lunch because they couldn't afford the outlay. It's the same with the fact that I know we'd still be full if we charged £30/£50 a week - we would lose some of the children whose parents simply can't afford it so we won't do it.
It doesn't make them equal at school, or in clothes or whatever else, but it does give them equal access to us and what we provide.
My goodness I don't have small children, I have the hibernating until lunchtime ones but I join pps in saluting you for your efforts.
£10 really isn't very much when you consider the cost of childcare and the Parents should appreciate you.
I nominate you for Mn award of the week
Who seconds me?
Bitoufofpractise Someone did it for me when I was a kid and had nothing. That's why I do it. Just paying back what I got.
Well that's just great and as a parent in the same universe as you I thank you
I like Death's idea, too.
At my DD's school, they are really strict about everything being in disposible containers and bags so that any leftovers are binned instead of being carted around
and lost afterwards.
Portia I second you, it's a wonderful thing you are doing. I think the clear bags are a good idea and would not be too time consuming.
I think Death has nailed it: anything over and above the specified items becomes communal! I'm sure the kids would help with combining it all then distributing it all again. That way those with extra get something extra and the rest do too.
You deserve a medal
And I think Deathstare's idea is fabulous.
Just wanted to post my admiration for you too Lala
I see this sometimes at my children's school. Parents and teachers running around to provide great experiences for the kids, always trying to keep costs down, and the whinge brigade (who do nothing, ever) come out in force.
We all know who they are and give them a wide berth, whilst being eternally grateful to the organisers, like yourself .
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