Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Playgroup - Is it Right for You?

Playgroup Picture FAIL - Halloween 2012

We are part of a play group. I've shared about it here and here - not to mention the many other times when detailing our lives.

It has been one of the best choices I've made as a parent. You have to have the right mix of people for you - that is for sure. Our group discovered early on how easily compatible we all were. We are all different and come from a variety of backgrounds, but we all have the same basic principles around the important topics of parenting: safety, nutrition, cleanliness, health, fun and play. These shared principles are important - never once have I felt my child to be unsafe, felt judged by another parent and/or felt myself comparing my child to another in an unhealthy way or experienced anything other than positive support from this group. I'm sure that is the reason we've stayed together for as long as we have - it will be almost two years now!

We have a new friend in the group, whose daughter isn't yet one. Janelle now has her second who is four months and two Mamas have babes on the way. We even have a Dad now. All these changes along the way have just made our group better and better!

Our conversations now bounce around from:
  • How did you wean from the pacifier?
  • What were the best gifts for a one-year-old?
  • What are your favorite snacks for car rides?
  • Do you allow snacks on car rides?
  • When are you transitioning out of the crib?
  • Are you having mealtime struggles?
  • Do you give a warning for a time-out?
  • How did you balance going from one to two?
Play groups help parents: build confidence, get creative ideas and solutions, get support, share in laughs, see their children being loved by other parents, witness how others parent their children, etc.

Play groups help children: learn social skills, learn to share, use up tons of energy for great afternoon naps, play with new toys, build immunities (sharing germs), develop their first friendships, help transitions to daycare, etc.

The other thing I like about playgroup, is it helps with me being a working parent. Even though I'm often the only one with a blackberry in her lap because our playgroups are on work days, it somehow helps with the Mama Guilt I do experience. It also helps me to benefit personally from Elyse's social interactions. At daycare, she learns a ton through playing and interacting with other children. But, I don't get to see much of it myself. I can watch Elyse at playgroups and see where she might be struggling (sharing) and what she likes to do with others (mother). It has really helped me to learn more about these issues, so we can work on them at home away from other children.

Interested in starting a playgroup? Go to a local parenting class - whatever is in your area. Locally, we have infant singalongs at the libraries, StrollerStrides, BabyGym and now a great new place called Piper's Playground. Next, you cannot be shy. You have to TALK to other Moms and Dads. Introduce yourself. Make one friend who is open to the idea of a playgroup. Then, you can invite others. It is how I did it and I'm so glad I took that chance. Thank you, SAM, for being the first Mama to agree to this!

We host once a week. We take turns hosting at each other's houses or sometimes at other destinations when it is warm. We provide snacks for the adults and kids. That is it! Here are some pictures from some recent fun.

The TV accidentally got left on and we wondered why the kiddos were so quiet in the other room.
Playgroup Superbowl party! Elyse with Luke's West Virginia Crocs on chillin' in Nate's Cars chair/bed. 
Today, we celebrated Janelle's return with Gabby and Ava! The kiddos were loving Sweet Charley B's cupcakes!  

Elyse and Gabby really missed each other. Here they are hugging goodbye.

Have a great day!

1 comment:

dkcook7 said...

I am happy that you brought up the idea of continuing playgroup outside of the library too. Watching our little ones get excited to see their friends is such a joy. And I feel lucky to be part of such a great group of parents.


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