Nursery rhyme of doom.

I’ve taken my kids to various baby and/or toddler groups over the years, one particular Chatter and Rhyme group has been an on/off constant in my children’s lives. The group consists on singing a range of nursery rhymes and songs while doing all the motions, followed by bubbles and fabric for bouncing the children in. The bubbles are usually the most popular and Monkey became very accustomed to the routine of the group, even getting the equipment out as soon as the current activity was over.

The only problem I had with this group was when it came to everyone having to participate in the singing and motions. It seems that many parents are shy. Sometimes only the group leader could be heard signing and seen clapping along. You’d think parents of small children would be used to signing to their kids, although maybe not so much in public. Other times though you could barely hear the kids for the adults voices singing away (once they became acclimatised to being silly in front of strangers). Having been a participant of these groups for years I was familiar with the routine and the songs, I knew all the words and all the actions. I wasn’t shy about my singing (which is terrible btw) and I’m not lacking in self-confidence about waving my arms before a bunch of babies/toddlers. And yet there are many days when I struggle to participate in the singing/arm waving fun.

Why? Because PDA.

It’s not too bad when there are lots of people all singing and dancing and no one is paying any attention to me, most of the attention is on the kids anyway. But when the room is quiet and someone (usually a new leader) says ‘come on, join in’, well, that’s when my movements start to slow down, that’s when my voice becomes quiet, that’s when I stop participating.

Baby/toddler groups can get so stressful sometimes.

It’s not something I can help, when I’m told what to do my body either avoids it or does the opposite. But then I was thinking about this, whenever anyone told Monkey to join in or asked him a question most of the time he wouldn’t answer. Polar Bear isn’t keen on joining in either. I’ve noticed the same with TV programmes. A character will say ‘say it with me…’ and there will be a pause which will be met with silence or the opposite of what is expected. In reality how many kids actually respond to those programmes anyway? I’ve seen kids stand in front of the TV in silence while the character blares out ‘say yes!’ and I’ve seen kids joining in enthusiastically, jumping up and down and repeating the words and/or actions. I’ve heard Monkey singing along to various theme tunes and will copy the sign language from Mr Tumble, but then he isn’t patronisingly asking him to ‘sign drink’. Yes he says ‘can you sign drink?’ but he doesn’t say ‘now you sign drink’. There’s a big difference between asking if someone can do something and telling someone to do something, it’s called having a choice.

I’ve noticed a lot of the ‘now you say it’ type programmes are American; just something I’ve picked up on. At the Chatter and Rhyme group Monkey will sing along and do the actions to most songs, expect when he’s told to, then he sits there quietly or tries to run off. Can’t say I blame him though.

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