Starting Your Own Playgroup
With parents often being priced out of preschools and enrichment classes for their young children, a playgroup provides a great way for younger children to practice their socialization skills, explore new environments and learn to interact in a group.
A well run playgroup facilitates learning through play, encourages budding friendships and fosters emotional, physical and social development. Kids learn to interact with others, practice their language skills, motor skills and learn to function in new and challenging environments.
So if starting a playgroup is something that interests you, here are some basic guidelines for starting and maintain a well run playgroup.
First define the parameters of your playgroup. You’ll need to determine what ages you’d like to welcome, how often you’d like to meet, where you’d be meeting and how long your playgroup will last. You may also want to include any basic rules or guidelines that you feel would help govern your playgroup. A list of house rules, expected behavior, safety guidelines for the location and approved snacks are great things to define up front.
Next you’ll want to set a date and time for an informational meeting. Create some flyers that advertise your playgroup and the date, time and location of your informational meeting. Posting flyers at your local library, pediatrician’s office and other places that kids visit is a great way to connect with other moms and kids of similar ages as yours. Include pull of strips with your contact information for people to take.
Third you’ll want to prepare to host your informational meeting. Offer light snacks and refreshments and make it a social gathering for parents of children of similar ages. Provide sign-up sheets that attendees can leave their contact information and the names and ages of their children. Although you may want to host the first playgroup meeting, you may also want to provide a calendar for parents to sign up to host a playgroup or commit to bringing snacks.
Follow up via email with those who attended and finalize the details of your first playgroup. Layout your playgroup schedule and encourage others to sign up to host or bring snack on available days.
When the time comes to host your first playgroup, be sure to prepare your space in advance. Decide which areas of your location will be open to the group and childproof the space as needed. You’ll want to put away any toys that your child may have trouble sharing and create a welcoming and friendly environment for your little guests.
Many successful playgroups work off a theme and each meeting revolves around a preselected theme. On the farm, music and movement, colors and in the kitchen are all great themes for young kids. Be sure to leave out toys, games, books and activities that go along with your theme for kids to play with.
Setting aside different stations can be a great way to host playgroup. Having books in one area, blocks in another and a craft project in another provides an opportunity for kids to actively participate in playgroup together. Great stations are made up of activities that have many parts that kids can play with together. For example, there are enough blocks for everyone to use so it can avoid kids fighting over one prized possession.
You may also want to consider having a monthly outing for playgroup where everyone attends the local park, library or museum together. This is a great way to secure group rates at local attractions.
After your playgroup meeting, follow up with those on your contact list and let them know how fun your playgroup was and when your next group will be. Invite them to join the fun!
With a little planning and preparation starting and maintaining a playgroup for your young child can be a cinch. Affordable and fun, playgroups provide a great way for kids and moms to connect.
Michelle is an active member of the nanny community. She is the founder and president of Boston Area Nannies, Inc., a local non profit educational organization and has served on the International Nanny Association Board of Directors for the past five years. During that time she has also served as the associations 1st Vice President. Michelle is also a proud member of Christian Nannies.
She is called on by the media as a nanny and parenting expert, and has been affectionately dubbed America's Nanny. Michelle has appeared on television and has been featured in print.
To learn more about Michelle and to get your parenting tip of the day, please visit www.michellelarowe.com.
Books by Michelle LaRowe
A Mom's Ultimate Book of Lists: 100+ Lists to Save You Time, Money and Sanity - Grocery lists. Checklists. To-do lists. Lots of people love--and live by--lists. And parents are no exception. Today's families are busier than ever, and moms don't have the time or energy to search and scramble for the parenting information they are desperately seeking. This handy, practical reference guide will save time, money, and sanity for today's busy women.To learn more, visit www.michellelarowe.com.
Working Mom's 411 is your one-stop resource guide for navigating through the often choppy waters of managing kids, career and home. With extensive experience as a credentialed nanny, household manager and as a working mom herself, Michelle is sure to make you laugh out loud as she shares her expert take on the common dilemmas that working mothers face.
Nanny to the Rescue - America's nanny offers a large dose of healthy parenting advice with secrets for raising happy, secure, and well-balanced babies and toddlers.
Nanny To the Rescue Again - Faced with multiple choices regarding school, friends, and activities coupled with the ever-widening influence of the outside world, parents of 6-12 year olds need help. America's nanny is back to offer a large dose of healthy parenting advice with secrets for raising happy, secure, and well-balanced children.
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