6 Whatsapp Etiquette Rules Mums Should Follow in Group Chats
Mums these days need to be in the loop. They love to stay connected with other mums and thanks to WhatsApp, they can. But mums you need to be careful about how you communicate with other mums on group chats. Here are basic etiquette rules that you must follow.
Gone are the days where mothers' only platform for socialisation with other mums was the HDB void decks or run-ins at school functions.
That's what our mums did. They would catch up with each other while waiting for our school buses to bring us back home. Or at the school canteen on a meet-the-teacher day.
But thanks to new technologies (and busier lifestyles), all that has changed. Mums these days are almost in constant conversation with other mums. Most of the mums I know are in at least one WhatsApp group chat- be it with their kids' classmates’ mums, or other mothers from their child's enrichment centre.
Being part of a WhatsApp group chat of mothers of a class of children has become a common practice, whether it's been set up by a form teacher or school administrative support staff or by mothers.
Ideally, the group chats are meant to share important information regarding the child’s day in school; receiving updates and reminders about school events; as well as sharing parenting advice. Most of the time, these group chats can be a great resource and an enjoyable place to be in.
And then there are those unfortunate times where someone in the group may say something inappropriate, annoy others or embarrass themselves. This may lead to anything from mild rebukes to a no holds barred virtual slanging match, which filters into people’s real-life relationships.
Don’t let this happen to you.
It doesn’t matter if you're a new mum or a seasoned member of your kid’s class WhatApp group chat, here are some etiquette rules for you to take note of. Follow these and we can assure you that your virtual world will be a happy one.
Etiquette #1: Avoid issues of race, religion and language
In Singapore, there are many church kindergartens. When a group of enthusiastic mothers from such kindies get together in a WhatsApp group chat, they may text words like "Thank God", "Amen", "Praise the Lord" or "I will pray for you".
Do realise that while you may be coming from a good place, some mothers might see it as you being pushy with your religion. It's best to avoid sensitive topics like religion, race and politics on the group chats so that the level of awkwardness is minimalised.
Etiquette #2: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Every group chat has its own dynamic, unique culture and group behaviour. Do make sure that, after you have been added into the group, you familiarise yourself with its culture and whenever possible, participate in it.
For example, the group chat I have with my son’s nursery classmates’ mums, has a practice of sharing pictures and videos of their kids' birthday celebrations in school. We felt that it allows other mums to catch a glimpse of their children at school, celebrating their friends' birthdays. However, some groups don’t allow photos of kids to be posted, citing issues of privacy.
Just be alert and well-informed about the rules of your different group chats because they may vary.
Etiquette #3: If not everyone is invited, don’t talk about the event
Ah, this is a sticky one.
There will come a time when you're throwing a party for your kid, and not all classmates will be invited. Make sure that you set up a separate group chat for the occasion. After all, you don’t want to risk offending someone by making them feel left out.
Be even more careful when sharing pictures or videos of these exclusive parties or even playdates. Your careless mistake may result in a chat member leaving the group in a huff.
Etiquette #4: Don’t criticise anyone’s child
This is a rule you should follow in any situation, and it should be no different in the cyber world.
Leave the negative comments to personal chats. For instance, if a kid cried incessantly in class or was reprimanded by a teacher, it would be more appropriate to privately message the mother of the child rather than to discuss it in the group.
Etiquette #5: It is not a place to air personal crises
Boundaries are important for healthy relationships, but when it comes to our social media lives, we rarely think about creating clear-cut lines that should not be crossed.
You may have some friends on the group chat, but not all members will be interested in hearing about your personal crises. Don't share about your argument with your husband that morning, or ask them if you should get hydrangeas or peonies to decorate your dining room.
Keep it strictly about the kids.
Etiquette #6: Courtesy is the best policy
Let's go back to basics.
Be courteous. Text "Thank you" when someone shares a resource (like a link to a video of a song that the kids have been learning in school).
Be helpful. If someone in the group chat requests for a copy of the school circular that she accidentally misplaced, take a picture of yours and send over.
Be cordial. Do not exit the group chat abruptly without sharing your reason. Remember, you can choose to mute the notifications from the chat group if it's disturbing you.
Be respectful. Make an effort to get the names of both mother and child right.
Dear Mums, you don’t need to love or enjoy every other mother on the WhatsApp group chat- you just need to be kind to one another.
Stick to the rules and you may even find deep friendships with some of them. These friendships will be an invaluable source of support on this sojourn of mothering pre-schoolers.
Do you have a WhatsApp story to share? We would love to know. Do share in our comments section below.