Should Under 3’s Be Banned From Infant School Nativity Plays?

Boy has just turned 6 and has a (very small) speaking part in the school Christmas Play. So proud of his rehearsals have I been and so eager has he been for me to go that I have booked that afternoon off work to attend. However, as it stands, only one of us will be able to see it.

The school has banned under 3’s from attending. Whirlwind is under 3 (and appropriately named believe me). They have also stopped running a crèche. This leaves our options thus:

1)      I go and my wife stays home with Whirlwind

2)      Wife goes and I stay home with Whirlwind

3)      We find a babysitter

4)      We participate in a baby sitter swap scheme being unofficially organised by the parents group

Option 3 is harder than you would think. None of our parents live in the same town as us and our friends all have school age children who they would either be watching in their own plays or collecting at that time. Option 4 may yet work only you a) need to be CRB checked (I am but my wife isn’t and she’d be doing the reciprocal baby sitting) and b) the times of the other class’s play clashes with Whirlwind’s regular play group.

To be honest it’s all become a bit of a pain in the arse.

One part of me is really annoyed. Banning under 3’s would be fine if you still ran the crèche. Getting rid of both at the same time puts many parents who’s older child is performing in a difficult dilemma and directly discriminates against parents with toddlers. Whirlwind certainly wouldn’t be banned from similar events elsewhere. Certainly not at, say, the local church’s carol concert (I am atheist, my wife is Christian, neither of us bang on about it).

The school have done this to give each child the best possible chance to perform without interruption. Now I know that Boy would much rather do his play to ALL of us than have perfect silence when he did. On the other hand he only has 2 lines. If both of them were obscured (or he was put off) by someone else’s toddler I would spend the entire remainder of the play staring at said toddler and their parents hoping my eyes would turn in to giant lasers and temporarily burn out their tongues. So I can see where they’re coming from.

Ultimately, though, I feel the decision has not been fully thought through by the school. It is not in the most salubrious of areas. There will be parents who cannot afford a private baby sitter. There will be single parents. The choices for them will be much harder than our dilemma. Hopefully they can get a partner in the baby sitter swap.

Am I only annoyed because I feel that it’s us who are being singled out? Is the school right to provide a perfectly silent environment for what is, after all, a play? Or is it better to have the whole family present and make it the family’s responsibility to look after their under 3 and to take them out of the performance is they become upset or badly behaved?

I’d love it if you could tell me what you think in the comments thing down there because I have absolutely no idea if my slightly miffed feeling is justified or selfishness.


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  1. #1 by AlwaysARedhead on December 5, 2012 - 3:17 pm

    I think it is a silly rule. If any child watching the play, is saying crying, acting out, well then a parent, I would assume, would take the child out of the auditorium to calm down. I always brought all of my kids to Christmas plays no matter what age they were, and so did a lot of other parents and there never was a problem.

  2. #2 by slightlysuburbandad on December 5, 2012 - 3:21 pm

    This is what we’ve done before. She went to the nativity last year and when she got restless I took her out. I guess someone complained about toddlers in general. Thanks for the comment

  3. #3 by Lakota [Faith hope and Charity Shopping] on December 5, 2012 - 3:23 pm

    This is daft. A huge proportion of parents with primary age kids also have under 3s. I always took my youngest, plus a large supply of raisins and favourite soft toy. If he’d wailed, I’d have taken him outside.

  4. #5 by JallieDaddy on December 5, 2012 - 7:12 pm

    That’s really strange! Our 2 (2 years, 8 months) went to the local school’s nativity today & loved it, sitting through it all quietly.

    • #6 by slightlysuburbandad on December 5, 2012 - 7:17 pm

      Excellent! Mine might – but I said above I’d take her out if she didn’t.

  5. #7 by Kim on December 5, 2012 - 9:01 pm

    So sad the school has made such a silly decision as already said the under 3’s love it and so what if 1 or 2 are a little noisy all adds the spirit of things .. it is meant to be christmas after all.
    The only option i can thing is 1 parent goes and records it … if the school allows :-/

    • #8 by slightlysuburbandad on December 5, 2012 - 9:15 pm

      They do allow it and we do record it. Looks like most people do agree with me so far. Thanks for commenting.

  6. #9 by JallieDaddy on December 6, 2012 - 12:06 pm

    I found out this morning that the Nativity mine watched was (I think) only for up to 3-year-olds, & that there were several other ones for older kids: they’re tiered by age. Maybe that’s a way around it? I guess the performers were from those who have started Nursery earlier than ours, we aren’t planning for them to start ’til their 3rd birthday in March.

    It’s really unfair to exclude under 3s, so they’ve got to find a solution, in my opinion 🙂

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