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General News · 7th February 2010
I’d like to start by stating that I like children. I love them. I have them.

What I’m asking of all the other parents in our community is that you recognize when to include them, and when not to include them in our community events, gatherings or meetings.

If it isn’t obvious to people already, I’m going to state what seems like the most obvious thing to me. Which is, that there are many situations where children should not be attending or present at some of the community events, gatherings or meetings.

I could go into how some of the children need to be better handled by their parents at these events, but that is a parenting issue, which is certainly not going to change anytime soon.

So, rather.. please.. when there is an event that requires the concentration of the adults to be speaking with one another without the distraction of children running around, making noises of various types .. please do not bring your children… when there is a meeting of adults discussing issues of importance .. please do not bring your children…. When there is a performance or presentation done in an intimate space where the noises of screaming, running and unsettled children will not give respect to those adults presenting.. please do not bring your children.

There is a time and place for children, and many times, that time is not properly recognized and dealt with by the other parents in our community.

I write this with love and respect to all the other parents in our community. Its just a simple matter of respect for a given space and time.

1887 Australian women's right to vote
Comment by Krista on 16th February 2010
yes inclusivity
Comment by romina on 10th February 2010
I couldn't agree more Shoshona. I am also a non-parent who can be disturbed with the noises of children running around, but what I find far more disturbing is the thought of these parents being unable to participate at community gatherings or meetings. These parents are extremely valuable members of our community, and I support any effort made that can insure they can be present and at the same time child looked after. I personally would put a twoonie in at any meeting to help cover joint childcare on site.
Community and inclusivity
Comment by Shoshana on 10th February 2010
I´m one of those people easily distracted by the noises of children, and yet I can´t support the notion that parents should just ´stay home` until their children are old enough to guarantee no distractions.

In principle, I like Dova´s approach - I think it´s important to make a distinction in the advertising and let folks know what the expectations are. AND, I think it´s important to keep community events truly accessible to our community.

In other communities I have been part of, one of the ways we have addressed this is by ensuring that when we organize an event at which children would be a distraction, we also organize on-site child care. In a community as small as Cortes, where money is an issue for many . . . expecting every parent to pay for a `sitter´for every event they go to effectively means making many of our parents in the community outcasts for a significant time period. I also understand from my parent-friends that there just aren´t enough sitters to go around should everyone need them on the same evening.

Coordinating on-site care for children . . . even for a minimal fee would significantly enhance the experience of those attending and help keep events accessible to our whole community.

agree dova
Comment by shane on 8th February 2010
Dova, that sounds like it was a very effective solution to the problem. Hopefully something similar can be applied at other events as well.
I love kids but......
Comment by Dova on 8th February 2010
I agree with mama about the when and where kids should be included. For many years I worked with this community to produce theatre. Anyone who has been involved in the mounting of a theatre production knows how much hard work and time it takes to get ready to show the public our efforts.
When I first began theatre work here I noticed how distracting children could be to my performers, and how some parents felt it acceptable for their kids to be disruptive, running playing crying having hissy fits when asked to be quiet, whole nine yards. And some parents were insulted when asked to quiet their child and caused further disruption when asked to leave. What happened to my play while all this was going on? I'll tell you, actors lost their places, cues got dropped or missed altogether and the audience was watching the fuss not the play. So all those weeks of hard work shot because some parent brought their fussy baby to an adult play.
We made some rules, created a rating system and put it clearly written on our posters and advertisements. Then who ever was taking tickets was there to remind anyone who brought a child that they would be asked to leave if the child became a problem. It worked, perfectly and continuously throughout the rest of my time bringing theatre to Cortes.
Perhaps as a community we should think about applying a rating system to all events then parents have a heads up and will know what to expect if they choose to bring the baby and what will happen if baby gets fussy.
Child tending
Comment by Thomas on 7th February 2010
I totally agree with Shane.
Comment by shane on 7th February 2010
Robert, perhaps there is something to say about accepting the imperfections of others. There are many people in the community all of whom have various needs. As a community we need to find ways to be inclusive of everyone and their needs.

Finding a way for children to continue to have a space at community events is going to have a positive effect on those kids, the parents and the whole community. Including parents and children at events can and should be done in a way that allows others to also enjoy the event.

I can imagine an event at the hall where parents with kids are encouraged to sit together in the back so as to minimize disruptions. As always children that become disruptive should be taken to another room or outside so others can continue to enjoy the event.

child tending
Comment by shane on 7th February 2010
Certainly children can be very distracting at many different types of events and there is good reason to ask that they be left behind.

Another option is to ask that when children become unruly the attending parents excuse themselves to the hallway or the great outdoors so others can still hear what is happening. Those who are easily distracted by quiet child/parent discussions are welcome to sit near the speaker or sound systems.

One of the great things about Cortes, for parents and for the kids, is that they are allowed and in some cases even encouraged at many community events.

In some places the presence of kids in restaurants, theaters, community meetings, and grocery stores is frowned up. Parents with young kids should certainly spend time attending these events and childcare is not always an option.

Children need to learn how to become adults and behave appropriately. They do this through observation and participating in the adult world. When children are excluded from these events they grow up without the full range of experiences that are required to become a well rounded individual.