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other people's dc wanting my attention!!

(12 Posts)
pollima Sat 10-Nov-12 11:42:35

I'm ezpecting dc in just overr a month and ds has just turned 2. He is not really that in to playing with other kids - sometimes plays along side them but mainly does his own thing.

ds is starting to talk and at toddler groups likes to do things with me - e.g play with those sort of toys that open doors, count things, build brick towers.

Problem is we keep attracting other people's children. I don't mind obviously if it's a toy for sharing, but usually it isn't. My ds maybe because of the new baby coming just seems to want a bit more mummy attention at moment, and so pushes the other kids away, when they start knocking down his tower wanting to press buttons on the toy etc.

Then I end up telling off my son (emabarrassed that he's pushed the other child) and restraining him and helping the other child have a turn. It's just so stressful.

I am thinking though I should just maybe try and turn away the other child somehow. It's not like there's a shortage of toys. The other child's parent is often watching but does nothing to remove their dc from a situation where they are obviously not wanting and upsetting my ds!

I know the answer is perhaps to go to less toddler groups and play at home which we have started to do more, but just wondered if others have this problem and whether they just accept that they are often a sort of unpaid TA to other people's kids? I didn't use to mind this but it's just the fact my ds gets so upset at having his with mummy activity interupted now.

pollima Sat 10-Nov-12 11:44:17

Also I meant to say that sometimes after my ds gets upset we just end up abandoning the toy and invariably the other dc is no longer interested - they only want to play with the toy because someone else has it.

WillowB Sat 10-Nov-12 12:03:10

That's the nature of small children unfortunately. Can you not engage both your DS and the other child with the toy. What a great opportunity to teach him about sharing and taking turns. He's going to need these skills when DC2 comes along, not to mention at school/nursery.
Failing that maybe you need to give toddler groups a miss as its unfair to expect other children not to be curious and inquisitive.

colditz Sat 10-Nov-12 12:06:39

Think about what your asking for here. You want someone to recognise that their pfb isn't wanted - at a toddler group, which are supposed to be for socialising toddlers with other toddlers.

Stay at home.

SavoyCabbage Sat 10-Nov-12 12:10:03

You should avoid toddler groups as they are awash with children wanting to play with the toys.

You could investigate Tumble Tots as an option. It tends to be just you and your own child doing each activity together, at least until they get into the older groups. It used to remind me of the agility tests at Crufts!

QTPie Sat 10-Nov-12 14:18:59

Have to agree (and don't mean this is a funny/nasty way), but play/toddler groups are completely about socialising toddlers. The other parents will pretty much leave their DCs to it (to a certain extent, but should step in if their are serious problems) because many parents believe that toddlers should be forging their own friendships and relationships. That is not a "cop out", but it is a fine balance (parents don't want to interfere too much - especially at 2+). If a parent always steps in, then a toddler struggles to make their own decisions or stand up for themselves.

Sorry, I think that I have not put that well! I definitely don't mean that toddler groups should be a free-for-all where parents let their children run wild. I think that parents should supervise and step in where appropriate (but, where possible, let children begin to sort out their own problems) - if that makes sense.

"Mummy activity" really is for home - the whole point of toddler groups is learning to socialise, play together, share, communicate with peers etc.

R2PeePoo Sat 10-Nov-12 14:37:13

I'm afraid I agree with the others.

In the gentlest possible way I'd like to suggest that perhaps you and DS are not quite ready for toddler groups, which are there for parents and children to socialise. When I take DS to toddler groups I let him go and play by himself, under my beady eye. Then I would chat to other parents etc. I don't usually get on the floor with him or interfere too much, unless he is being violent. If you are sitting on the floor playing then you are going to become a target for other toddlers and you can view it as a learning opportunity (after all you are going to have two to entertain very soon) for him and you or leave the groups for a bit.

DS plays with me at home, toddler groups are a chance for him to interact with other children who are not as nice and forgiving as Mummy, useful skills for nursery, school and life in general.

QTPie Sat 10-Nov-12 15:38:03

There you go R2PeePoo said what I was trying to say, but a lot better wink

GrimAndHumourless Sat 10-Nov-12 16:14:40

yes, what the others said

keep exclusive mummy-child playtime for home

CatL Sat 10-Nov-12 17:15:36

Pollima - I've had similar experiences, and my DD (now 2.10 and still not great with other chidlren) sounds similar. She would never let me be one of the parents who " leave their Dcs to it", or not for long anyway - she wants one to one adult attention. This is causing problems at playgroup which she has just started at the moment!

I sort of agree with the others that it is going to happen and unless the other child pushes / snatches etc, it's a good idea to encourage playing together and sharing in theory. but in practice, my DD would usually end up walking away to play with something else because she wasn't comfortable with the other child or they weren;t playing in the way she wanted, and then I'd feel a bit bad for her that effectively that toy had been taken away from her, I think it is probably an unavoidable part of these groups.

However, I completely agree with Pollima that if you are one of the parents that does get involved in the playing at these things (and it really isn;t by choice in my case most of the time!) you do end up feeling like you are unpaid child care for other people's kids, as some of them are so obviously really wanting adult attention, but not getting it. the incident that sticks in my mind was in a soft play sesison. there were some toys there, including a few books, and my DD asked for a story. i sat down on the mat reading to her, and another girl actualy came up and sat on my lap to listen to the story! Now, if I looked over and saw DD climbing on to someone I didn't know's lap, I'd be mortified and certainly go and move her on, but no-one did, so either her parent / guardian thought that was fine, or (more likely) they didn't look what she was doing for the entire length of the story. After the story, Dd and I moved on to playing with other things, but she kept bringing me other books and asking me to read them to her, and getting upset when i said we weren't doing that now. It does say something to me that she didn't ask her own parent to read to her! My DH is very hands on with DD when he takes her to these places (he enjoys it more than I do), so he gets it a lot, and I think as a man he feels even more uncomfortable about children he doesn't know trying to hold his hand etc, and how their parents might react.

So I think what I am saying in a long winded way, is that I understand exactly what you mean, and although I do think you need to live with it and try to help DS deal with it, I do also think there are a lot of paretns who could do with supervising their DCs / giving them a bit more attention in these places! i don't think you should give up and 'stay at home!

QTPie Sat 10-Nov-12 17:59:39

As I said back a few posts - it is a "fine balancing act".

I adore the toddler age because they are so sociable and open and nice with adults that they don't know - wish that most adults were just as friendly! But I share your "child protection" concerns: both as a parent (who worries about the safety of her own child) and as a person who has attended a child protection course (where the over-whelming advice is "if in doubt, stay away" for children - to avoid incrimintaing yourself in even the most innocent circumstances...).

Soft Play is a whole nother ball game! I have always stuck like glue to DS during soft play. Until a few weekends ago: we were staying with friends and he went round with a 4.5 year old. Soft play was very busy, the spaces to squeeze through were narrow (even for a 5'3", size 10, sporty woman!) and I couldn't keep up. If he was alone, it would have been "either you stick with me or we leave". Since he was with an older girl, I did allow him more freedom. DH and I split up and watched/supervised from different areas of the softplay to ensure that everything was ok.

I do two things when interacting with other toddlers/babies in a playgroup situation:
- firstly, I think "if this other toddler was my child, how would I like them treated?". Would I welcome a child/parent that was open and shared or would I want my child to be excluded?
- secondly, I think "what example am I setting my child?".

I don't think that you can force a child to be sociable, but I don't think that you want to discourage other kids from attempting to be sociable with yours either.


TheEnthusiasticTroll Sat 10-Nov-12 18:16:19

I think you do need to be a little firmer with the other children and ensure that they wait their turn allow ds to understand that he can finish with his toy but must the pass it on. Ensure you go get another toy to entice your ds and then hand over toy to other child and be kind and polite but don't over engage if that's what you want to do. Nothing wrong with encouraging other children to socialise appropriately too, if done sensitively and kindly.

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