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Choosing a Play Group

Nov 9, 2007
Playgroups are an important part of social interaction for young children and their mothers. Playgroups prepare children for more formal daycare and school situations and provide moms valuable time with other adults. Choosing the right playgroup is essential to getting the most out of this experience.

Sources of playgroups might include church groups, neighborhood-based groups, library or city-sponsored groups or even internet-based groups. Regardless of who is sponsoring the group, there are several questions that can give you a good idea whether the group is right for you.

What is the age range of children in the group? Some groups have a set age limit and discourage bringing older siblings. Others have no restrictions. Be sure that whatever the structure that there are plenty of children at the same phase of development as your child. If your child is still crawling and all the other children are walking, he won't be able to participate in the same activities as the other children.

Are there dues or a membership fee? Some groups are completely free. Others charge a weekly or monthly fee to cover the cost of snacks and craft materials. If there is a fee, find out how the money is managed and by whom. Some groups have a board of directors or oversight group and some have one person who is considered the leader of the group.

What is the schedule and what activities are planned? Some groups are more free-form than others. Depending on your personality and your child's schedule you need to decide whether a group with regular weekly meetings is better for you or if a drop-in program with a flexible schedule will work better.

What are the policies, if any, regarding discipline? Every playgroup has its own dynamics, rules and customs. Asking about these things ahead of time can save embarrassment and prevent conflicts. Do members discipline each other's children? What is the policy on biting? Toy sharing? Hitting? You need to choose a group whose values match your own.

What are the hostess duties? Will you be expected to host play dates at your home on a regular basis? Be sure you're equipped to host a large number of children at your home. Inquire whether you can hold your regular play date at a park or other facility rather than at your home.

Finally, what are the moms in the group like? Are they of the same socio-economic group as you? Do they have similar backgrounds and interests? Believe it or not, these things become very important in the development of a playgroup. The more the moms have in common, the easier everyone will get along.
About the Author
Jonathon Hardcastle writes articles on many topics including Family , About our Society, and Relationships
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