Parents probably benefit from playgroups more than their children do. Parents of very young children often feel isolated, so they welcome a chance to meet with other adults, compare child-rearing stories and advice, and observe how other parents handle their children. Of course, children also benefit from a playgroup, and as they get older, they enjoy seeing their friends regularly and playing at each other’s homes.
Play, and a lot of it, is important in a child’s life. It’s one of the key ways children learn. An environment that fosters play, allowing a child’s interests and imagination to grow is ideal, and hard to find. This is why playgroups can be so beneficial. And while parents typically use the time to socialize with adults, they can learn a lot about child development, and their child, by observing the group at play.
If you’re interested in starting a playgroup, talk to other parents about the possibility. Although playgroups are most convenient when families live near each other, groups often form between people in different neighborhoods.
You can join or start a playgroup with your baby, knowing that you’ll be the one to get the benefit. You’ll be with your baby while you interact on a regular basis with other adults. You’ll enjoy talking, exchanging ideas, and commiserating, and you’ll probably find a lot of comfort in relating to the same questions about babies.
If you’re joining or starting a playgroup with your toddler, consider that playgroups often work best with three to five children of mixed ages. If all the children are twenty months, there will be a great many issues over sharing, but if some of the children are two and some are three, group get-togethers will be more harmonious. The youngest child will be happy playing alone next to the others, and the oldest ones will be more likely than the two-year-olds to share toys.