Hosting playgroup 101

January 27, 2016

If you're considering joining a playgroup, you should go for it. Being apart of one can help your child grow intellectually, emotionally and socially. Not only will your child benefit, but it will allow you as a parent to meet others who share similar interests as you.

Look at the following reasons why you and you child should join a playgroup, what to expect when you're a part of one and what activities to plan the next time you're in charge of hosting a get together:

Reasons to join a playgroup
Your goal upon joining a playgroup may include meeting new people, especially if you have recently moved to a new neighborhood.  Another reason you may want to join is to find a connection with other parents in your similar position as well as receive or share advice with one another about relatable subjects and to gain support, Alpha Mom states. To recruit members or to find a group to join, consider looking at places in your town like your local church, school, library or even on the playground, Parenting magazine mentions. If you don't find one you're interested in that already exists, consider forming your own and reaching out to parents in the community.

Becoming involved in a playgroup is beneficial for you and most importantly for your child. When your little one is interacting with other children and constantly spending time with the same kids, he or she may start to develop friendships, create bonds and build social skills. Your kid may learn to share, play nicely and have fun during activities with you and the other parents as well.

To choose the playgroup that's right for you and your child, you should find other mothers or fathers who have similar values or share common interests with you. It's important that you get along with other parents in the group because you're going to be spending a lot of time with them, Bay Area Parent Magazine notes. Each parent in the group has a responsibility to chip in and come up with ways to make the play dates special, educational and fun for the children. 

Engage in fun activities during playgroup.Engage in fun activities during playgroup.

Success from all parties
Being a part of a group requires duties and responsibilities from all parties involved. To keep things running smoothly have the mothers or fathers rotate weekly to host the get together either at their homes or at an outdoor vicinity like a play ground, Bay Area Parent Magazine recommends. For a successful play date, plan ahead and be consistent. Meet at the same time every week or few weeks.

Parenting magazine recommends keeping the sessions under an hour for toddlers so they don't get too overwhelmed or tired. Have everyone's contact information to send emails or calls with reminds or information about the upcoming meetings. Make it a rule to inform the member hosting only if you cannot attend. 

Have everyone chip in or bring snacks and healthy juice drinks, like good2grow. Also create a schedule for play time, by breaking each hour up so the kids are occupied. Try new activities every week so the kids have something different to look forward to every time, Alpha Mom insists.

If it's your turn to host the next playgroup get together, consider the following activities:

"Have the parents of children in your playgroup bring snacks from home."

Snack time:
If you're hosting and decide to serve food, avoid giving the kids any foods that are considered choking hazards like grapes, popcorn of chunks of cheese or meats. Provide snacks like pretzels or cutup bananas and nutritious juices. Also keep in mind kids can get messy when eating so avoid colored foods or drinks that may spill and stain easily, Bay Area Parent Magazine says. Have the parents of children in your playgroup bring their own snacks from home so that every kid can be happy and satisfied and to lessen the stress of food allergies which is common for young children, What to Expect recommends. 

Music:
Music is always a fun and great option for kids to let loose, dance and sing along.

Arts and Crafts:
Bring out your child's creative side and sit down for some arts and crafts. Color, paint or make friendship bracelets. 

Blocks:
Playing with building blocks is a great activity for children to play with together. They can share and build castles or building, using their creation together.

Story time:
To calm everyone down at the end of the time spent together, you or another parent in the group can volunteer to read the children a story. The kids can sit around in a circle, practice their listening skills and ask questions at the end.

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