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Our Messy Play Group

(18 Posts)
Bathsheba Wed 07-Oct-09 17:10:05

DD2 and I go to a local messy Play group on a wednesday morning....its generally populated by playgroup Mums and the younger siblings of playgroup children so I know everyone and everyone knows each other...

Heck in other times it would be called clique-y...

Anyway....the group leader (lovely older lady who gives up a huge amount of her time to run this, the 2s group and the Brownies in this church) has frequently stated that this is an activity for parents to do WITH their children...parents are to supervise their children and do the activities together.

Now, I know everyone but a few of the Mums are a very friendly with each other and now just drop their children off, say to their friends (or all of us actually) "can you keep an eye on child, I'm just nipping out"...and then go to the shops, or doctors appointments etc....while the rest of us do the messy play activities with our own children AND their children, clean them up, stem the tears, etc etc etc...

One Mum is particularly bad for this - she spent 90 mins a few weeks ago going to a supermarket out of town for Hannah Montana party stuff while her DD was left with everyone at Messy Play. One other Mum rarely comes herself but has an arrangement where her friend brings her daughter along with her own..

When I went in this morning I passed another Mum getting into her car and heading off while her daughter was lef tin Messy Play...

ITS NOT A DROP OFF AND GO ACTIVITY. And, although it doesn't directly affect me (I'm never asled solely to look after anyone else's children, but I'm part of the collective looking after) it does mean that we have a lot less adults than we should have for clearing up, supervising etc etc etc...

I think the lady who runs it does her best, but these friends all seem to think thats fine and have that arrangement within themselves to drop and go so the lady who runs it is outnumbered by it all.

Its a group for children from 2.5 to 4.5 ish (basically 2.5 to preschool) and it can be very full of tired, tantrumming toddlers getting a bit rough close to lunchtime (my DD was the only child not in tears at one point a few weeks ago)..

AIBU by being narked by this....(and its HONESTLY not because I'm not in this group of friends and I can't get anyone to look after my DD while I go off and do errands - this is an activity that my DD and I do together...)

claricebeansmum Wed 07-Oct-09 17:12:48


I think that what has to be pointed out to these parents is should something happen - and it need not be fire or stampede of paedophiles - but something like child feeling unwell the parent needs to be there. This is not day care.

If anyone leaves they need to tell the play leader exactly which adult is in loco parentis.

franklymydear Wed 07-Oct-09 17:14:43


if friend 1 leaves child with friend 2 then yabu

if friend 1 just leaves child and expects someone to look after than yanbu

but in the end who cares - it's short-term you'll be out of there in a year or so

Lulumama Wed 07-Oct-09 17:14:48

could the play leader and group get in trouble / shut down for this?

YANBU, it is really mean to use it as a creche/babysitting , it puts a lot of pressure on the other parens and play leader

what would happen if one unattended child got hurt whilst their parent was absent?

KembleTwins Wed 07-Oct-09 17:16:56

YANBU. I run a playgroup with a couple of other mums, and we always do a craft activity. Hell, I get annoyed with mums who let their toddlers come to the craft tables whilst they sit and chat at the other end of the hall, expecting me (and the other organisers) to supervise their kids (as well as our own) as they spread glue and glitter everywhere. I would be spitting feathers (literally, sometimes - we have some in our collage box) if anyone made even occasional attempts to bugger off and do something else. This morning, one of the organising mums popped next door to the coffee shop to get us all drinks, and her DS spent the whole time saying "where's mummy?" and clinging to my leg. I didn't mind that - no one else was there, and there was no glitter involved, but if it had been half an hour later, I would have been WELL annoyed.

BertieBotts Wed 07-Oct-09 17:20:52

Hmm I think it should be between the parents to sort out, could they get round it by having a limit, e.g. only 2 children to each adult? Then there is no problem if individual parents sort things out between themselves occasionally but it wouldn't happen all the time.

I don't know if there is any leglisation on it but that would help if the organisers don't want to be too unpopular.

fumanchu Wed 07-Oct-09 17:21:46

The lady who runs the group needs to stop this - who knows who is there in case of a fire, who knows who collects whose child -its a minefield of possible disasters!

Bathsheba Wed 07-Oct-09 17:24:43

well, one Mum does genuinely arrange pre-group that her friend will pick her child up and take her, so I guess thats probably okay (although we do spend a while saying "Where's Tallulah's Mummy...oh, Brunhilde is looking after her today as Cassandra isn't here...", and Brunhilde knows Tallulah well enough that she tends to mop up the tears, but we are all on the lookout for Tallulah (generally because Brunhilde's time is taken up looking after her own daughter and taking ehr to the loo/cleaning her up/stopping her frequent tantrums)

However the rest of them do tend to just announce when they are there "Oh I'm just nipping out" to the entire room and then run....Hannah-Montana-Woman was gone from 9:45 (group starts at 9:30) to 11:15 (group finishes at 11:15) the other week...just to get Hannah Montana party stuff...

bronze Wed 07-Oct-09 17:24:49

Bertie and that would penalise those with more children (would have me)

Agree with frankly, if theres a private arrangement thats fine theres no different to someone having more of their own children. Just dropping off into the chaos isn't on

Bathsheba Wed 07-Oct-09 17:30:41

There are a few Mums with 2 children - generally the "named child" that goes to messy play, and a younger sibling...thats caused some problems in itself when the named child has gone to preschool and the younger sibling can't carry on coming as they aren't 2.5 yet (thats happened to a coupld of my friends whose 2 year olds are allowed to join the group in their own right after Christmas)

IneedacleanerIamalazyslattern Wed 07-Oct-09 17:33:47

YANBU this used to happen at my old group as well really grated when you end up trying to run about after someone elses child and your own.
You know I never even thought to ask you what groups there are around here hmm I have been randomly searching for something to take DS to occasionally.
Think there is one on the end of my road on a Wednesday morning but not sure what type of group it is so have never been brave enough to go blush

pigletmania Wed 07-Oct-09 17:40:44

YANBU, this is downright rude angry if these mums want the free time to do stuff, why dont they pay for their dcs to go to preschool then! Its just not fair on the other mums left there to collectively look after other peoples kids who have scarpered. If a friend had asked me to once or twice to do it but a regular thing no no no!!!

pigletmania Wed 07-Oct-09 17:45:41

As pointed out its also a saftety thing too, if they somebody to look after their child put them into preschool or nursery

katiestar Wed 07-Oct-09 17:46:22

What i would suggest is a sign in sheet with Child's name and responsible adult.That named adult must then be there whilst teh child is and accepts responsibility for said child.

IneedacleanerIamalazyslattern Wed 07-Oct-09 17:47:07

Oh and the thing that bugged me most about my old group was that is was the woman running it that used to say leave them here and go it'll be fine then barely look twice at the child while mum was away ...unless it was a tiny baby that is.

GoldenSnitch Wed 07-Oct-09 17:50:14


A few weeks ago a friend of mine had a c-section with her DC2 and was unable to take DC1 to playgroup (not messy play but there is usually some sort of sticking/painting). While she was out of action, 1 of the other of us would pick up her DC1 and take her to the group with our own child - all the while knowing that there would be 1 or 2 more of our friends there to help out in the case of loo runs etc - and it was still a nightmare keeping an eye on her!

I'm sure there must be some OFSTED rule that says this isn't allowed or perhaps some insurance stipulation. The organiser could possibly get into a lot of trouble!

Bathsheba Wed 07-Oct-09 18:24:37

Thanks everyone - I doubt very much there is anything I can actually do about it as it seems to be the accepted thing among these Mums and they seem oblivious to the woman who regularly drops and runs...

However its good to know IANBU in being narked by it..

Ineedacleaner - there is a Toddler group at the end of your road, but I've never been to it (I go to the new church just further along opposite the hospital)...Email me if you want to know about messy play etc - candy at bidoo dot com

Bigpants1 Wed 07-Oct-09 21:41:26

hi, just to add my two-penneth worth-there are strict guidelines re adult to dc ratio-the younger the dc the greater the number of adults required,in any venue for dc. This applies whether the group is voluntary or private or state run. So, YANBU to be narked, and in anycase, the group should not be seen as a babysitting service.
There will be a policy for the venue the grp is held in, and insurance details to comply with as well.
Perhaps a way to stop this, is for the organiser to explain the above, or hand-out a letter, saying that the grp could be stopped, if it was found to be breaking guidelines. Good Luck!

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