How To Start A Playgroup
by Crystal Dupay
When I begin to feel
like Iím failing as a mom, they are always there to provide support and
reassurance. So how can you find these angels of mercy?
There are many benefits to joining a playgroup. Your children have the
opportunity to form friendships and play with someone other than a sibling.
It also gives us mothers a chance to get out of the house and actually speak
to an adult other than the mail carrier. Adult conversation is so important
to maintaining sanity when you are home with small children 24 hours a day.
Within a playgroup you can find other mothers with whom to talk about things
that others just don t understand. Sleeping problems, potty training, and
sibling rivalry are just a few of the topics that I have discussed with my
SAHM friends and have gained valuable insight. When I begin to feel like I m
failing as a mom, they are always there to provide support and reassurance.
So how can you find these angels of mercy?
Look for an already established club.
Check bulletin boards in your pediatricians office for information about
local playgroups, hang out at the park and ask around about a group, check
with local churches to see if they have a program for Moms and kids.
Check with the manager of local children s clothing stores or enroll your
child in a group such as Gymboree or Kindermusik
If there is not a group in progress in
your area, check with your SAHM friends to see if they are interested in
getting together on a regular basis. If you don t know any other SAHM s
strike up a conversation with mom s that you see at the mall, park, or
Drs. office. Chances are, if they are there during office hours, they aren
t working during the day and would probably love the opportunity to meet
other SAHM s.
Once you have found interested moms and kids then you must decide as a
group how to organize your club. Some groups are very informal and some are
quite structured. The larger the group, the more organization is needed to
make things run smoothly. Here are some ideas for small groups with 10 moms
Decide on a location for the group to
meet. Informal groups usually meet in the homes of the members. Of course
you would limit the number of children in each playgroup to no more than
4-6 in a home setting. More than that can bring more chaos than fun and
the last thing a SAHM needs is more housework after her house has been
turned upside down by a large group of children.
Decide on a day and time to meet.
Meeting on a regular schedule will allow everyone to plan around the
playgroup and therefore you will have greater participation.
Before you begin holding playgroups,
you will want the mothers to meet and discuss parenting philosophies.
Fewer problems will arise if everyone knows what is expected of their
children in terms of behavior.
Discuss what refreshments the host mom
will be expected to provide and what the other mothers should bring for
Larger groups of mothers, more than 10,
can plan a wider variety of activities. Some groups have officers,
committees, and dues in order to provide these activities to the club.
Below are some suggestions for groups of more than 10 moms:
Meet with the mothers to decide on
officers. If your club will charge dues, a treasurer will need to be
selected and the group should vote on how the money is to be spent. The
amount charged for dues will be directly related to how many activities
are planned. One of the officers should be chosen to plan activities.
In a large group, the members will need
to be divided into smaller playgroups if plans are to hold them in
individual homes. The suggestions given above for smaller playgroups
should be followed for these smaller subgroups. If the entire group
intends to meet for play, a large gym or hall will need to be secured in
order to accommodate everyone. Dues should be used to cover such expenses.
Visiting a children s museum, taking a
tour of a farm or factory, or visiting a children's playplace such as
Discovery Zone are just some of the things the entire group can do
together. Having the typical holiday parties, providing crafts for the
kids to do, and playing such children s games as "Duck, Duck, Goose" and
"Musical Chairs" are things that can be done when the group meets in a gym
or other large area.
Some groups enjoy getting the mothers
together without the children occasionally just to give them a break and
enjoy some uninterrupted adult conversation. Meeting at a restaurant or
seeing a movie together are a couple of ideas. Some groups plan weekend
retreats for moms only.
Community service projects are
something that a large group can carry out quite nicely. Including the
children in these acts of service are a great way to show them how good it
feels to help others. The possibilities in this area are endless but a
couple of examples would be providing a battered women's shelter with the
clothing your children have outgrown, volunteering to serve at a soup
kitchen, or visiting with the elderly.
Joining a playgroup can help you and your children get the most out of
these "at-home" years. It has definitely made a difference in mine.