STARTING A PLAYGROUP
You don’t need to be paying exorbitant fees for child classes when you can be getting the same out of your own, self-created and free playgroup. Most people find themselves joining classes with their kids in order to meet people in similar situations and find the support that they need to be a parent.
If you are not willing to pay the high fees of kid’s classes or if you are reluctant to join an established group, then consider starting your own playgroup. There are parents everywhere that are eager for the same support you are.
WHY START A PLAYGROUP?
- Get the support you need.
- Provide valuable learning opportunities for your child.
- Avoid the high cost of other groups.
- Provide an opportunity for sharing babysitting
- You will make some great friends!
HOW DO YOU START A PLAYGROUP?
Most new parents are in the same situation you are. If you need to recruit people then simply try your local parks, libraries and other child centered places. Paste flyers in your local laundry, apartment co-op or even take out an ad.
When starting your group, remember to take into consideration what age range of children would be more appropriate. A house that is child proof enough for an infant is not likely to be child proof for a more mobile and adventurous toddler and trying to include two-year-olds with five-year-olds is not going to work either, as they have nothing in common. As the playgroup is support for you as well as an opportune play date for your child, remember to stipulate the ages in your invitation.
Decide on a time and a place. Unless you know the people in your group well, it may well be wise to make the initial play meeting in a local park and not in your home until such time as the appropriate boundaries of the group are set. Agree on a time that it most convenient for everyone. This is another plus for organizing a group of similar age children, as they are likely to be on similar schedules.
At your first meeting establish the rules of the group regarding illnesses, discipline, and what is expected of the members of the group. Will you take turns in hosting, making a roster, providing snacks, or making the phone calls when things change? Do you need to report in when you won’t make it to the group on a particular day? Setting these boundaries at the very beginning will make things a lot easier in the long run.
If you leave it until you have really gotten to know each other then it can be awkward to bring some issues up. Knowing the rules, to begin with, helps things sail a lot more smoothly overall and everyone can leave knowing exactly what is expected of them.
Once you have your group set up you will find an invaluable source of people who will be facing similar issues that you face every day. You may be able to exchange babysitting with each other and eliminate that cost also. Your children will begin learning how to socialize with others and have a great time!