Page 3 | Baby / toddler groups are hell ?

(118 Posts)
sausagedogg Wed 28-Apr-21 15:21:00

With lockdown easing I was looking forward to getting to a toddler group with my 2 year old . I must have had rose tinted glasses on as after attending this morning all I can think is that's 40 minutes of my life I won't get back. Reasons I found it dire :
- trying to keep a toddler fixed to their mat ( covid ) when all they want to do is roam the room.
- putting a mask on to roam the room to try being them back to their spot but then they can't hear you properly due to muffled mask sounds .
- no one really talking to anyone( even in between songs ) just singing along to the music like they were really enjoying it when I really didn't find it enjoyable .
- all the mums doing baby voices

Maybe I'm just not cut out for part time work. I have 3 days off with little one in the week and can't stand the thought of baby groups again. Back to the walks I go.

Anyone else find them hellish?

To top it off due to the timing of the class little one only had 5 minutes nap in the car

OP’s posts: |
Eviethyme Wed 28-Apr-21 16:31:20

See I love soft play but hate groups

sausagedogg Wed 28-Apr-21 16:33:07

@HarebrightCedarmoon that sounds lovely with the tea and biscuits

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amylou8 Wed 28-Apr-21 16:33:08

I went to a great one (baring in mind my youngest is 18 it was a while ago) in a leisure centre. Huge big sports hall, bouncy castle at the end, and various gym equipment, ride on toys etc. Two centre attendants as acting as bouncers, and lots of benches for the parents. The kids had a great time taring around and you only got involved if they were trying to injure themselves or someone else. I really used to look forward to it every week. What you have described sounds like hell.

Letsallscreamatthesistene Wed 28-Apr-21 16:33:55

Ihad my baby 13 months ago so baby/toddler groups just havent been an option. I used to be sad about it, like it was a bit of maternity leave id never get back. Now I think they look like hell. I dont intend on going to any! I also work part time, we go to parks, go swimming, go to the beach (live near the coast) in the time id go to those groups. He gets socialisation that you would usually get from those groups from nursery. I have no need for them and neither does my LO I dont think. YANBU for not going again!

OverTheRainbow88 Wed 28-Apr-21 16:37:29

The group we go to expects adults to wear makes and socially distance but say kids don’t have to (in England)

Feetupteashot Wed 28-Apr-21 16:41:25

They can be really good for tiring out a toddler if you're pregnant/ have baby. Church toddler groups round me just have loads of toys for them to play with and noone tries to convert you. Also a toddler gymnastics group was basically softplay with toddler circuits. Even if you don't meet anyone it gives you a little bit of time to feed / cuddle baby

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sausagedogg Wed 28-Apr-21 16:42:22

@OverTheRainbow88 I think it's hard to social distance though if your little one is mixing as they could be going to up someone else's drink. Toy etc or in my case trying to open a fire door so you then have to walk past the other mums so can't socially distance.

OP’s posts: |
sausagedogg Wed 28-Apr-21 16:42:55

@Feetupteashot they sounds a lot better than what I went to today

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3AndStopping Wed 28-Apr-21 16:48:31

I think you have to try a few out until you find one that works for you.

I went to the one run by my local health visitors and met some amazing (honest) women I’m still friends with 4 years & a few more babies later.

Others were a bit twee like you said...

You basically want to find one where the mums are cool & the babies can just roam. Oh & that fits in with nap time 😂

tinytoucan Wed 28-Apr-21 16:56:46

I took my DD to a music one today. It was the second session but we missed the first last week as we were self-isolating. When we arrived all the other mums seemed to know each other and their babies were younger, none of them moving around yet. DD has recently turned one and is cruising and crawling speedily so I spent the majority of the time trying to keep her on the mat. I feel a bit unsure whether to go back but I’ve paid for a term already.

BrownEyedGirl80 Wed 28-Apr-21 16:58:14

They are awful.Its good to see the toddlers having fun but I found them awkward and twee tbh.

mamamalt Wed 28-Apr-21 17:00:40

I feel the same OP!! They're shit. The best baby groups I ever found were in Ireland as people have generally more kids and are a bit more relaxed about the whole thing. Let the kids get on with it and enjoy a coffee and good biscuits and v friendly mums there for a good chat!
Sometimes here people kind of, over parent, rather than sit back and let the kids play and engage with other adults. I mean that in a horrible way at all!
Also maybe there were no mums there you would have been friends with anyway, everybody is not for everybody so sure you'll find a couple of people you gel with naturally. 🤞

SleepingStandingUp Wed 28-Apr-21 17:01:46

trying to keep a toddler fixed to their mat ( covid ) when all they want to do is roam the room we started last week's. Kids are allowed to roam, we just wear masks of we have to go get them
putting a mask on to roam the room to try being them back to their spot but then they can't hear you properly due to muffled mask sounds how thick idle your mask that your child can't hear you through it?.
no one really talking to anyone( even in between songs ) just singing along to the music like they were really enjoying it when I really didn't find it enjoyable Def harder at the routine driven ones but it also takes time. Try bad make small talk before and after
-*all the mums doing baby voices* that's weird

Maybe I'm just not cut out for part time work.You don't need to go back because cc 6oi don't like groups. Either such it up and put up with it, find a more free flow play session or do something else

BrumBoo Wed 28-Apr-21 17:11:17

BrownEyedGirl80

They are awful.Its good to see the toddlers having fun but I found them awkward and twee tbh.

My local one is anything but twee. It's had its moments where it's less like a toddler playgroup and more like re-living Year 9 amongst the adults. Quite entertaining as long as you don't get too involved. On the flipside, I've never been so well fed as I have in my local playgroup, some of the mums bring in the most delicious curries or homemade bakes. Cake and low-key drama, it's quite fun for £1 a time grin.

SummerHouse Wed 28-Apr-21 17:12:56

sausagedogg

*@SummerHouse* thanks for the glimmer of hope ! It doesn't help that I have only lived in my local area 3 years and have an accent people ask me about. Often making me feel self conscious asking reasons why I moved here meanwhile they are all chatting as grown up together same school college etc

When someone new came into our group I would go over and make them as welcome as I could. I am not particularly kind, just know how it feels. So there are people like me just waiting to know you. And also people like you and me, who feel on the outside but are so, so worth getting to know as we are brilliant!!

AWellReadWoman Wed 28-Apr-21 18:04:06

I never even enjoyed them pre Covid and quite enjoyed the pressure being off to go to them! We did used to do Water Babies and Rhyme Time but they involved minimal awkward conversation and cliquey groups. Our local mother and baby group is run by an attachment parenting group and I was made to feel awful for not constantly having my baby strapped to me and for being unable to breastfeed so never went back.

LimeCoconut Wed 28-Apr-21 18:08:03

AWellReadWoman

I never even enjoyed them pre Covid and quite enjoyed the pressure being off to go to them! We did used to do Water Babies and Rhyme Time but they involved minimal awkward conversation and cliquey groups. Our local mother and baby group is run by an attachment parenting group and I was made to feel awful for not constantly having my baby strapped to me and for being unable to breastfeed so never went back.

Oh god. Anything that brands itself ‘attachment parenting’ is almost guaranteed to involve shaming and guilting parents who don’t do things their way.

I’ve been quite lucky in that in all of the groups I’ve attended to none have been cliquey, or judgey. But I can see how much damage it could do to a parent’s confidence if they struck up the courage to go to one and was faced with a militant attachment parent.

cadburyegg Wed 28-Apr-21 20:06:19

Pre covid I used to run a toddler group with 2 friends but we haven’t been able to reopen. It’s a lot of work to run a toddler group IME, usually we were busy making tea/snack/setting up the toys and crafts, whilst looking after our own toddlers, and yes we also had to keep an eye on the time. so we tried to talk to as many new people as possible but a lot of the time we were lucky to have a 2 minute chat with our own friends. As for them being cliquey, all that is is people chatting to their friends they’ve met through similar groups. When I first started going to the groups here I had a baby and a 3 year old and didn’t know anyone and was the one not always included in conversations in established friendship groups. but over time, my eldest started preschool then school, i got to know more people through the groups and then started running the toddler group and I became one of the familiar faces. That’s just how it works, but you have to put the effort in, it is what you make of it. A good way of making new friends at the groups is offering to help tidy or wash up at the end!

There will be a group that works for you, even if you have to wait until after covid. Try other groups if you feel like it or try nurseries if you’re worried about socialisation, but don’t be that person in 3 years time complaining at the school gates that you don’t know anyone there either because I’ve seen that too.

Lelophants Wed 28-Apr-21 20:10:46

BuyYourOwnBBQGlenda

I would like a baby/toddler group on a Saturday for working mums who don't generally like baby groups. Where we can berries others with similar age kids for walks/trips out etc but not actually talk about babies the whole time. I know it's what brings us there but we are whole people with hobbies, and careers and other interests and I can only take so much blathering about brands of nappies or who hit which milestone when!

Trust me, Stay at home mums needs this just as if not more. A lot of us really struggle and go to groups to find someone to talk to about literally anything.

Lelophants Wed 28-Apr-21 20:11:17

Also hate the groups. Can't just relax with covid.

WingingItEveryDay7 Wed 28-Apr-21 20:21:38

I tried baby/toddler groups pre covid and found that I spent the whole time watching out for the bigger kids running a muck and barging little ones over that I never spoke to anyone as there was literally no time. My son enjoyed one group so I took him to that one but either met another friend or took my sister so I wasn't alone.... Kind of defeated the object of going from my perspective but it was every other week and a 3 quid so didn't mind so much. Tried others and didn't bother again, it's such a work up when they're little and have a routine x

Pumpkin314 Wed 28-Apr-21 20:26:37

Are there any forest schools near you? I take my 3 year old to a forest school stay and play - no masks because it's outdoors, kids can roam and choose what to do (tree swing, mud kitchen, toys, dens, collecting things in little wheelbarrows etc), if they're in the mood there's a story and crafts by the campfire, and finishes off with toasting marshmallows. And I've found because everyone has to follow their child around a bit even if others already know each other they don't stay in a gang the whole time so you get a chance to chat and get to know people when their child is occupied in the same area as yours!

PerspicaciousGreen Wed 28-Apr-21 20:38:47

I've been to a few drop in ones pre-pandemic when I desperately needed some new walls around me while I did the same old baby shit. Our second child was born a few weeks before the first lockdown and it's been wonderful not feeling at all like I ought to be getting out and about for "her benefit"! My son always hated all kinds of groups and would cling grimly to me for the entire time. He mellowed a little bit on library storytime after six months and quite enjoyed clapping along etc but still spent the entire time on my lap. However, some kind of sociable switch has flipped in him and he now strikes up conversations with randomers all the time!

I have made three fab parent friends locally, all of whom I made by observing how good and my-type-of-parent they were with their children when out at the park and jumping them just as they were leaving to give them my phone number. Alas two have moved away, but one is still here and still lovely! If you give them your number, the ball's in their court so if they think you're a nutter they can just never text and you can all pretend it never happened...

Letsallscreamatthesistene Wed 28-Apr-21 21:01:10

but don’t be that person in 3 years time complaining at the school gates that you don’t know anyone there either because I’ve seen that too

Why is not knowing anyone at the school gates a problem?

SatsumaFan Wed 28-Apr-21 21:58:39

Love your post @cadburyegg - couldn't agree more. You get out what you put in, and lots of the cheap and cheerful community or Church groups are a lifeline to sahms/people on low incomes.

It's like everything in life really, there is a group there out there that would suit you, you just have to make an effort and keep looking.

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