The More We Get Together: Planning & Playing in Playgroups
As a parent of an infant, your definition of a date (are you thinking swanky restaurant and then movie theatre?) may have changed. Today, your ideal date may involve a toothless, bald little one and a group of mamas and papas gathered around, “ooing and ahhing” at their child's every move.
Playgroups and other organized programs provide both you and your baby many benefits:
- The opportunity to connect with others as you all share successes and challenges.
- The ability to find out about the latest fads, resources, and other tools that may support you and your baby.
- It's fun!
As a new mom, you may not be sure how to find a group that will be right for you. Need help? Try:
- Looking at your local community organizations. Churches, libraries, and even recreation programs through your city may be a good resource for finding a playgroup or other program designed for your infant and you.
Still haven't found what you are looking for (yes, that is a song by the group U2); consider starting your own playgroup.
A playgroup may simply consist of 2-3 neighborhood friends. It doesn't have to be complex.
If you are starting from scratch, consider:
- Checking with the families that will be involved and confirming a regular date/time that works for all. Some folks like to meet weekly in the morning, some monthly in the evening. Make a schedule that works for you. However, keep it consistent for both you and your child.
- Communicate a plan. What is going to happen at this gathering? Will it be a simple social experience for both you and baby? Will there be an activity offered? Snack or other foods? If so, who will plan and implement it (Note: sharing responsibilities is always a good thing – after all, mamas are busy folks!)?
- Set the ground rules. Are siblings welcome to come along? What if a child has a cold? Should they be excluded on that day? Will the group meet in a central, community location (some cities offer up spaces at libraries or other city buildings for groups to meet free of charge)? Or will the group meet in someone's home? If so, sharing the responsibility by rotating from time to time may be a good idea.
- Have fun. A playgroup should be a fun, safe, and positive experience for both you and your child. If it is not, it's time to change plans and find another program that is.