Toddler group etiquette(9 Posts)
Just started talking 14 month old DD to a local toddler group. Very nice, chatty people, DD loves it.
Am wondering though how closely I should be following her about? For the first part of the group, we're in a medium sized room with lots of little toys, toy kitchens and doll's houses etc. Adults sitting round in small groups chatting. DD mostly wants to be roaming about on her own - she will check in with me occasionally but has zero interest in staying and playing next to me for very long.
I do keep an eye on her and would notice and intervene if she grabbed a toy off someone or vice versa (have stepped in before). But should I be actively following her around instead? Would feel a bit neurotic and helicoptery, but at the same time have no wish to break some unwritten role of toddler group by being careless neglectful mother etc. if this is what's expected.
I tend to hover at a distance and chat with whichever mums are near dd. She wouldn't stay near me. You need to be 2-3 paces away imo, esp with my dd as she is a hair puller.
Yes, she does stay in one general area for a little while until she's exhausted all toy potential, so I usually stay in that area talking and keep an eye out for her zooming off. But I don't keep one step behind her following her from toy to toy, IYSWIM, and some (although definitely not all) of the mothers there do that.
When I took my then 20 month old ds to a playgroup near my cousin, I just let him use the toys and I sat and watched him/played with my then 3 month old dd.
He played happily on his own and alongside the other children and didn't get into any trouble; and I could see him wherever he was. If he snatched a toy or whatever, or if another child did that to him, then I'd get upland intervene but otherwise I used to just leave him to it. All the other parents at that group did the same; and it's the same story now at a new playgroup I take my dc to - the parents, for the most part, sit around the edge and just let their children play.
I also have a 14 month old and I think it depends a lot on the age range of the other children. We go to a group where mine is one of the youngest mobile ones and there are a lot of 2-4 yr olds zooming around on trikes and things, so I feel that I have to watch pretty closely as they are much bigger than him but not old enough to watch where they're going properly. If there were lots of smaller babies I would be equally careful as I would worry about him clambering on them. If the other children were a similar age and he was just pottering about doing his own thing then I would be happier watching from a distance.
I made the first time mother error of not knowing children can change and as such wasn't hovering over my 18 month old when he started being too boisterous with another child, I told him to stop the first time and apologised to the other mother but stupidly, probably because of my mild autism, didn't even think he would go on to do it again. The woman got in his face and told him he was a nasty little boy and that I was a bad mother for raising an 18 month old that was so nasty (he literally just that very moment realised he could get a reaction from the other little human the same size as him by flapping at it, Nd thought this was hilarious. Obviously it wasn't for the other kid because he started to cry that he got flapped at but my DS was 18 months old, he had no clue about empathy at that point, it was entirely my fault for not even thinking this could potentially happen and as such be right next to him to intervene). I would helicopter just in case of situations like this, but also because other children can suddenly snatch or whatever and make your kid cry. Or your kid could for the first time snatch a toy a make the other child cry and you'd get a verbal assault from the other mother (happened to another woman I know). Etc. but that's just me. Personally I never went back to any groups or soft play because I can't handle that kind of thing with other people, we just go to parks now.
I never hover. I would if I had a kicker /biter/snatcher but haven't so far. Would generally be up to about 8-10 feet away at this age. I would sit down and only move if she went too far or there was an incident.
I should also add that by the point we stopped taking him we'd been going a few weeks and got fed up on the free-for all nature of the groups, basically no one bothering to watch their kids, just mothers sitting in groups talking to each other having tea whilst their kids ran riot.My DS was bitten twice, punched, had his hair pulled and was shoved several times at these things by other children because the other parents weren't there to tell their kids it was wrong. I had to pull him away every time wondering where the heck the other parent was. I think that was why he acted out that time was because the whole environment was just too cramped and stressful. Since we started just taking him to big open spaces and parks to play with other kids it's never happened again. Maybe it was just the toddler groups in my area but I hated the fact no parent bothered to keep an eye on things.
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