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Leaving 3 and 5 year olds without parent

(54 Posts)
AnnieMouse22 Mon 26-Jun-17 13:45:42

Ok! So posting here for traffic!

I went to a forest day event locally on the weekend. I have 2 DDs - age 3 and 5. My new(ish) friends also each have 2 children aged 3 and 5, and they came along! So in total, 3 Girls and 3 boys between 3 and 5.

Now, there were lots of different things going on at this event, held in a national trust type place! My dd's and their friends wanted to do bark rubbing and colouring, which apparently should take around 45 minutes in a sheltered, wooded area, open to the rest of the event with no fence around.

My friend said she'd asked the lady running the bark thing (who we'd never met before and knew nothing about) and that it was fine for us to leave all the kids and come back in 45 minutes. There were about 20 kids total doing this bark thing, and all their parents stayed.

Anyway, my friends said they would go and get a coffee in the coffee shop (far ish away, definitely not in view) and come back and get kids later.

I felt really uncomfortable leaving the kids with someone I didn't know, and lots of other parents and children I didn't know, in a big place where they easily (and knowing their personalities, probably would have) run off and mingled with all the other people and activities at the park.

Friends tried to persuade me to go with them, but I stayed with kids. Good job to, as although I said nothing to friends, all the children (including mine!) wreaked havoc as soon as my friends left! And the leader basically left kids to it and was nowhere to be seen. My friends were even late back to collect kids - so don't know where they'd have gone if I hadn't been there.

Anyway, I know I am an overly anxious parent at times, so maybe I am being unreasonable, but is it normal to leave such small kids in such a place? Are these new(ish) friends ok to hang about with? (I really really like one of them a lot and thought we might become good friends in time! but am confused about this!?) Really not sure what to make of it!?

Thanks for advice!!!!

(ps. It might b me being too anxious a mum! I'm prepared to hear that!!)

Barbie222 Mon 26-Jun-17 13:47:16

No, it isn't normal. Distance yourself from her and her parenting!

Barbie222 Mon 26-Jun-17 13:49:05

Just reread - more than one of them doing this? Good grief. The forest is no playground and a good forest school setup respects that.

DearMrDilkington Mon 26-Jun-17 13:51:32

That's so irresponsible.

Well done to you for standing your ground though, you made the right choice.

IHaveACrapCat Mon 26-Jun-17 13:51:41

shock no way I'd leave mine in those circumstances!

Funnyface1 Mon 26-Jun-17 13:56:57

That's absolutely ridiculous, really irresponsible. You did the right thing by not being pressured into leaving.

AnnieMouse22 Mon 26-Jun-17 13:57:57

Thanks all! I always doubt my own parenting and think others do it better, so I thought maybe it was me being too protective. Glad to hear my gut feeling was right, and I might try to trust myself a bit more and think a bit more about how much to hang around with these new friends.

PrettyGoodLife Mon 26-Jun-17 14:12:29

I'm with you on this too.

brasty Mon 26-Jun-17 14:14:37

If it is true that the lady running the activity said it was fine to leave the kids, she is acting illegally. The activity will not be insured for that with only one adult present, and no registration taken. Personally I would suspect your friend lied about that. These types of activities are supposed to be done with parents present.

BigDamnHero Mon 26-Jun-17 14:16:21

I have two DSs. One is five and the other three so exactly the age-range you're talking about and there's no way I'd have left them. They do both have autism so sometimes I do seem to be more of a 'helicopter parent' than other parents but I'd rather that than something happen and I don't think I'd leave NT kids of the same age, either.

MrsPorth Mon 26-Jun-17 14:17:08

You were right to be concerned but I wouldn't distance yourself from them over this if you genuinely enjoy their company and all the kids get on.

MrsOverTheRoad Mon 26-Jun-17 14:17:21

The workshop leader should NOT have allowed that. YANBU.

unfortunateevents Mon 26-Jun-17 14:17:28

I too am surprised that it was acceptable to leave children unattended by a parent at this activity. Were all the other children unattended too? Or just your friends? If just your friends, I suspect she may not have been truthful in telling you what the leader said.

SooticaTheWitchesCat Mon 26-Jun-17 14:17:54

No way would I have left them at that age shock

juneau Mon 26-Jun-17 14:18:51

It's not normal at all to leave 3 and 5-year-olds with a load of total strangers in an open-plan setting in the woods! Jeez - if you'd gone with them anyone at all could've just wandered over and taken one of the DC and no one else would've known it wasn't a parent doing so. I would run a mile from people like this tbh. I'm not a helicopter parent, but I'd never leave my DC - who are older than yours - unaccompanied in such a setting. My DC would actually become quite panicked too if I just buggered off and left them for 45 mins with total strangers.

SolomanDaisy Mon 26-Jun-17 14:19:24

Where I live (not UK), it would be normal to leave five year-olds at that sort of event, but not three year-olds. No way!

MiddlingMum Mon 26-Jun-17 14:19:31

One adult to 20 young children would be breaking the law in a lot of childcare circumstances. Are you sure the leader was complying with rules?

RedSkyAtNight Mon 26-Jun-17 14:19:37

We have similar free play activities set up around here and it's fine to leave children who are 8 or over but parents have to stay wichildren under 8. Did the lady she asked understand how old the children were?

TheOtherOnes Mon 26-Jun-17 14:19:40

Wowsers, YANBU. Just because it's for small kids doesn't mean you can leave them there unattended!

Your friends are reckless. As there's a couple of them I wonder if there's an element of group mentality/going with the crowd and doing things you wouldn't consider by yourself. Good for you in not being swept along in their madness.

stoplickingthetelly Mon 26-Jun-17 14:20:11

I'm with you OP. Wouldn't have left mine either.

AnnieMouse22 Mon 26-Jun-17 14:21:40

Thanks all. Yes, all the other parents stayed and were helping their children and having fun with their children! It was just my 2 friends that left. It had crossed my mind that friend had lied to me about leader saying it was ok, but I don't know! and if she did, I'm confused as to why she'd lie! .. mmmm

Whatwankeryisthis Mon 26-Jun-17 14:21:46

I'm about as relaxed lazy a parent as you can get and think you absolutely did the correct thing.

accidentalgrownup Mon 26-Jun-17 14:23:50

Nope wouldnt have left mine, one of you could easily have gone to get takeaway coffee if it was that important but I'd certainly stay close by so DC could see me / I could see them.

Although I'm not sure you have to decide not to be friends with these people, I don't always agree with my friends parenting & im sure they sometimes don't agree with mine!

AnnieMouse22 Mon 26-Jun-17 14:24:23

Juneau - yup that was my feelings at the time!

lifetothefull Mon 26-Jun-17 14:26:47

Well done for sticking up for what you believe and not bowing to peer pressure.
Did they bring you a take away coffee?

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