Play groups are very beneficial to toddlers and to stay-at-home moms. It is important for children to be around other young children and learn how to interact at an early age. They learn how to be polite, what is okay and what’s not (hitting is bad, hugs are nice, etc.), and how to share, among other things. Toddlers also learn many things from each other. Even at this young age there is a bit of peer pressure. My son always tried harder to walk or accomplish other feats when he was playing with children around his age that had already achieved these milestones.
Playgroups are just as good for the stay-at-home mom. It’s a great way to get out of the house and socialize with other adults. It’s helpful to talk about concerns and get advice from women who have children the same age. As your children play together you will probably create some really valuable friendships yourself.
When starting a play group think about moms that you already know who may be interested in coming. Chances are they will know other moms that also have children around the same age. Think about people from church, story time groups at the local library, or any other large groups of people that you already belong to. Just thinking of two or three people will give you a great start if they also bring along their friends. Start a Facebook group. Make sure privacy settings are fairly tight so information won’t be available to just anyone who may try to show up unwelcome.
Try to have your play group meet at different days and times of the week to accommodate children’s different nap schedules, moms’ different pre-scheduled activities, etc. Vary the types of activities your play group does. Take turns hosting at each other’s homes with everyone bringing some snacks (for the moms and the children), have the group meet at a park or the zoo, take the kids to paint pottery, visit the local children’s museum, etc. The possibilities are endless. Try to keep the costs of activities as low as possible so more moms and their tots will be able to get involved.
Have fun, enjoy the experience and make new friends! Take advantage of the many teachable moments that will occur thanks to play group. Watch your child grow and develop into a happy, social child that has lots of little friends and great experiences to draw from.