Blog of the Week – How to survive Playgroup

Blog_of_the_week_badgeOur Blog of the Week comes from the ever brilliant and extremely witty Eeh Bah Mum who shares her top tips on how to survive playgroups and toddler groups.

We’d love to know your playgroup/toddler group experiences too.

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How to survive playgroup

Image - NetmumsIf the idea of walking into a room full of angry babies, exhausted mums and germ ridden toys fills you with dread then know that you are not alone.

The whole idea terrified me and I’ve performed stand up comedy.

Playgroups can be noisy, intimidating places and as the responsible adult it is generally considered unacceptable to burst into tears and throw yourself on the floor screaming if you decide you don’t really like it.

But playgroups are worth the effort. In time you will learn to love them, so much so that by the time July comes round you’ll be horrified at the thought of going cold turkey over the summer holidays.

We do at least 3 playgroups a week – as we have recently moved I don’t even have friends to gossip with. I have been to groups in London and Yorkshire and there are essentially no differences between the two (Yorkshire playgroups feature more songs about farm animals and tractors).

If you do decide you hate playgroup it’s always worth trying another to see if it suits you better: I once went to a playgroup where I was the oldest mum there.

By 20 years.

I felt like Kate Garraway in that stupid ad. ( Don’t get me started on that.)

I go because my children love playgroups and I love my children.

I go because I see how much they learn being surrounded by other children.

I go because if I stayed at home with a 2 year old and a 1 year old every day I would look just like Granny Mummy Garraway by the end of the week.

Here are the 10 things you should know about playgroup.

1. There will be tea and coffee. playgroup tea

It will be awful.

It will also often be served in cups and saucers.  Like an evil round of Total Wipeout sleep deprived adults are challenged to carry scalding hot drinks through a room packed with toy cars and manic children.

If you want good coffee go to Caffe Nero. Entertain your own children.

 2. There will be toys.

Lots of them.

Take a moment to look around the room and marvel at all its hideous plastic glory. Thank the Lord that none of these toys are cluttering up your own home.

There will be one toy that will cause 98% of all trouble.

Every single child will want to play with this one toy. It will probably be a pram, a slide or a ride on car. This is the law of the playgroup: The more toys there are in a room the more children will be attracted to just one toy.

3. There will be germs.germs

Everywhere.

You will catch colds, coughs, sneezes, tummy bugs, slap cheek, foot and mouth and anything else that is going.

Sorry.

The other option is isolating your child from all contact with other children and letting them catch everything when they start school. The decision is yours.

4. There will be painting or crafts.

Just as Grandma’s house is the ideal place for small children to bake, playgroup is the perfect spot for painting and crafts. Remember to admire whatever crappy effort your child produces and try not to be caught stuffing it in the bin outside the church door.

5. There will be one child sitting quietly doing puzzles.playing at playgroup

This will not be your child.

I had hoped this role was allocated on some sort of rota and that one week it would be my daughter quietly amusing herself whilst others looked on in awe. I seem to have been left off the rota.

(If I had a child who sat quietly and entertained themselves I would not need playgroup I would be sitting at home watching This Morning, painting my toenails and writing a blog about  what a piece of piss small children are to look after. )

6. There will be one single male.

He will look totally out of his depth.

His partner will either be heavily pregnant or have recently given birth. Basically the situation at home is so terrifying he has decided playgroup is the better option.

Women go to playgroup because they want to get out of the house, men are sent to playgroup by women who want to get them out of the house.

7. There will be well meaning volunteers.

They will either be brilliant with small children or totally ineffectual. Who cares? They have volunteered to spend a morning picking wooden bricks up off the floor that your children have thrown.They are wonderful, misguided people.

8. There will be snack.

To work out what type of snack simply look inside the cavity of any toy where you will find a handy guide in the form of a half eaten snack from last week.

9. There will be singing.playgroup songs

It will be awful.

A platoon of Gareth Malone’s could not make a playgroup singing session sound good.

You will sing Sleeping Bunnies. Twice.  Despite the fact that it is a song with no discernible tune.

You will sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat and learn some dubious wildlife survival tips.

You will sing a sexist, outdated version of The Wheels On The Bus. (Altogether now:   The Mummy’s on the bus read Gra – Zi – Ah.)

10. There will be tidying up.

It will be wonderful.

If tidying up at home involved throwing everything in a plastic box and hiding it in a cupboard my life would be improved immeasurably.

So there you are playgroup for beginners.

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Do you have any toddler or playgroup tales to share?toddler awards

Check out our guide to surviving toddler groups on Netmums

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8 Responses to Blog of the Week – How to survive Playgroup

  1. SL says:

    Nothing about the cliques who close ranks and look on newbies as though they’ve been sent to spy on them? Shameful!

  2. Tracy says:

    This is one of the most true to form blogs iv ever read! I realised Church playgroups were much better than other ones, as you always get a couple of lovely older ladies who will make you Tea, (and lets face it when you have small children you would go to the opening of an envelope for a cuppa made by someone else.) these same ladies will knit you stuff when you havnt even asked for it, and the snack usually extends to parents and is better quality! Just my views on what we have in my area.

  3. Brilliant. Brings back nightmares! And yes, this Granny’s house is for baking cakes too.

  4. jo says:

    Love love love this! (Mum of 6 hardcore playgroup survivor)

  5. Hahahaha, the only way to get through these play groups and soft play cafes is to see the funny side of it all. Eeh Bah Mum summed it up brilliantly, although I did a double take when I thought no 8. said ‘There will be smack’, that would certainly be an interesting way to get through the day!

  6. Liz says:

    Very funny! I wish I had seen this before I went to one. I agree, churches have the best ones!!!
    And they love seeing you coming to services. It’s like you and your little one are their own special friends!

  7. loved this, I run some toddler groups and hopefully some of the above is absent from the groups…but some is very true..although we do make a lovely cuppa!

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