Many moms with small children try to find a playgroup to get involved with. A playgroup typically meets once a week, or once every other week, and all the kids get together and play. The idea is to teach kids how to play well with others, and to give the moms a bit of a reprieve. Playgroups have a lot of positive things, but there are also some pitfalls of playgroups. The following are a few of the most common playgroup pitfalls:
Too many kids: Playgroups often have too many children in them. This can be overwhelming for the kids that attend the playgroup, and can lead to more problems then fun. Often, when the group gets large, kids will tend to group off, much like the cliques you see in high schools, etc. This can lead to bullying, and other negative behaviors, as the group mentality starts to set in. The point of a playgroup is to socialize children, but you do not want that done the wrong way.
Kids of different ages: One of the problems with some playgroups is that the kids that show up vary so much in age that no one really has a good selection of kids their age to play with. A playgroup could range from babies to school age kids. This means you might show up with your four year old, and have the next oldest kid there be eighteen months. This is not going to be much fun for your child.
Turns into mom’s social hour: In many instances when the moms bring their kids to play group, they just let them go to the playground, or into a toy room, and they sit on a park bench, or front room and talk. This means that playgroup is about the moms. In and of itself this is not a bad thing, as moms need a chance to have adult conversation and get out. However, because it is at playgroup, it means that no one is watching the kids, at least not as well as they should be watching, which means that there is a higher chance for kids being mean and bullying because moms simply are not paying as close attention to their child’s behavior as they should.
Passing germs and illness around: When you get together with kids from outside of your family, you can’t control whether or not they come to play group ill. Some times moms bring kids to activities when their kids are sick, and this can mean little Janie coughs on a toy then hands it to your child, getting them sick.
While playgroups have good things to offer, you should select your playgroup carefully to ensure that the kids get along well together, that your child is not a bully or the one being picked on, and that all the moms watch their kids and have fun together.