Kids Play Centres | I Am Not Your Babysitter!
I love kids play centres. Ball pits, slides, dress ups, ride on cars and plenty of other kids to play with. On rainy days you can guarantee this is where Charlie and I will be. There is only 1 thing that drives me mad about these places: mothers that use unwilling strangers as babysitters.
Taking a child to a kids play centre, dropping them into the play area and parking your self in the back corner of the cafe and burying your head in your laptop is not ok. I have become an unwilling babysitter on several occasions but recently I was forced to not only supervise a strangers child but discipline them. For me this crossed a line. The child in question was clearly too old for the environment and bored stiff. So he made his fun terrorizing smaller children. Other mothers stood guarding their own children and alternated between glaring at the offending child and searching the surrounds for the mother of this child.
Leaving a trail of crying kids behind him, this little terror made the mistake of hurting the small girl my son was playing with. I knelt down to his level and told him off. He screamed in my face and threw the block he was holding at me. Another mother stepped in and she got slapped by the child. We both stood in shock…. that was it! I told the kid we were going to find his mum…. As I stormed off, his mother finally glanced up from her computer. Unfazed she ignored my attempt at an explanation of his behavior and said nothing other than: ‘Lets go sweety…’ Shooting me a rather nasty look. Steam coming from my ears I went back to playing with my son, wishing I’d said something smart like ‘Hey lady, where’s my $20? I’ve just been babysitting your kid for the last hour?” I had been so gob-smaked by her lack of interest that I stood there mute… Several mum’s came over and congratulated me on trying to discipline the child, which made me feel slightly better. Apparently the mum had been there working on her computer for hours and the child had been removed by the staff at the centre twice for bad behaviour.
At first I had been so angry at the child, then I just felt sorry for him….. Once the adrenaline wore off I actually started feeling really bad. Had I crossed the line? Should I have ignored the child- just like his mother had? I know that if my child was hurting other children and I was unaware I would want another mother to step in, but I know other mum’s may disagree? So where to draw the line? Any suggestions mumma’s? Have you ever faced this akward situation when at a kids play centre? What do you think the etiquette should be for supervision and discipline at kids play centres?
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