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Baby Playgroups

A playgroup is a session where mums, dads or any other caregivers get together with their respective children in a relaxed environment.

A playgroup may be run by parents or caregivers, or it might be part of a set-up in a pre-school, daycare or any other child-care establishment with a range of activities set up to meet the kids’ varying needs.

Playgroups can be held anywhere that is safe for children and where groups of people can meet – community centres, health clinics, women’s centres, preschools and kindergartens or even in someone’s house.

Activities at playgroups would typically include:

  • Music and singing
  • Imaginative play
  • Outdoor and free play
  • Art and craft activities
  • Outings

It’s not just the little ones who look forward to playgroup sessions. In a playgroup, parents and caregivers too get to interact with one another while the little ones play and have fun.

Could my child be too young?

All children from 0-5 years, including babies, love new experiences and benefit from developing sensory, social and communication skills through activities at playgroups. The array of playgroup choices can be overwhelming though, especially in professionally-run establishments. There may be music, art, gymnastics, swimming and more, all for little ones who can barely stand on their own two feet yet! So, should you enroll your baby in one? By all means, do… but do it for the right reasons. For instance, enrolling your child in a playgroup merely because your neighbour’s kid is in one, is not the best reason.

What’s in it for junior?

Spending time out of the house now and then will give your little one the chance for meaningful interaction with baby peers. If junior is an only child, this could be a chance to play regularly with other children! A baby attending a playgroup is more likely to parallel play at first (side by side), a stepping stone to more socially complex play, or your little one might simply be entertained by watching other babies’ antics and anatomy! Yes, who knew that examining another’s ears (or belly button!) could be so fascinating?

If the group meets at another child’s home, the little one will also get to try out different toys. These regular meet-and-play get-togethers can also expose little ones to all kinds of new activities such as art, music, dancing and more.

The benefits of a playgroup for kids:

  • Helps develop and increase social skills
  • Exposure to sharing, co-operation and simple routines
  • Interaction with other adults and children in a safe environment
  • Experience and experiment with new activities
  • Enjoy learning more about their little world

What playgroups could mean for you

Parents definitely benefit from playgroups – a time to talk, make friends and share experiences, while the little ones learn through their play experiences. Committing to a class or playgroup gets you out and about regularly, gives you a chance to play and learn with your baby in different ways than you do at home, and gives you the chance to connect with other moms (and dads) who speak your language and can relate to whatever you’re talking about. That means you can discuss current events and the contents of your baby’s diapers without feeling like a crazed being. Long-lasting, meaningful friendships have been known to develop in baby playgroups.

Remember, organized activities and classes are by no means necessary – you won’t be stunting your baby’s intellectual or physical growth by opting out, but they can be a lot of fun. You are actually at an advantage here, because if you feel the need for some like-minded friends (read: women with babies), your ticket is sitting right in your stroller: your baby!

Are you yearning for some interaction in the form of full sentences as well as baby babble?

Go for it, then. Enrol your little one in a playgroup!

Benefits of playgroups to parents include:

  • The opportunity to mingle with other parents
  • The chance to unwind and talk in a friendly environment
  • Get to share experiences and ideas
  • Get to learn new tips and parenting skills
  • Nurture a spirit of cooperation
  • The gaining of lasting friendships

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