While playgroups offer many positive things for kids, there are some real drawbacks to being part of a playgroup as well, especially if it is not a well-managed playgroup. The following is a look at a few of the pitfalls of playgroup:
Overwhelms kids: When children are young, if they are not naturally social, it is best to introduce them to socializing little by little. Starting them off with one playmate while they learn to adapt to the concepts of sharing, turn taking, etc. A playgroup can often be overwhelming to the less social, more introverted children because it means several children, all vying for the spotlight, certain toys, etc. This can lead to the child becoming increasingly shy in social settings because they are overwhelmed. It can also lead to non-aggressive children becoming little pushovers who allow themselves to be bullied, and do what the other kids say simply because they do not know what else to do. So, if your child is struggling socially, a playgroup is likely too overwhelming.
Mommy talk: When moms get together with their kids, the talking that goes on can sometimes get deeply personal and involved. This means you may hear the details of how their little angel was conceived, what form of contraceptive they use (or don’t), and many other details about their lives that you may not have wanted to know. Moms talk, and girl talk gets going. In addition, while the moms are gabbing, often the children are left to run a little wild, and your kid may end up with a bump or bruise because the “bully” at playgroup’s mom is too busy talking to pay attention to her kid hitting your kid. So, recognize that there is less supervision, and often lots of personal conversation.
Playgroups can be fun or risky!
Competing for toys and attention: Because kids that go to playgroup are usually four and under, they are not always very good at sharing. Sharing is a learned behavior that most kids do not really master well for years. Kindergarten age tends to be when things get better. So, playgroups are usually with small children who either do not grasp the concept of sharing and turn taking, or are still too selfish to care. This often leads to hitting, biting, kicking, hair pulling, and any number of other violent behaviors. As children compete for toys, attention, etc. the less aggressive children often get run over. This means that because of the group setting, there is a good chance your child will either be a bully, or the kid getting bullied, neither of which is a happy situation for mom.
If one is sick, they all get sick: Kids spread germs because they frequently share cups, toys, and so on, and everything gets put in their mouth. Most kids are not great hand washers, and most kids have no real concept of germs. This means playgroups are a breeding ground for bacteria, and a great place for germs and illness to spread. Even the most vigilant parent can’t keep another parent from bringing their child sick to playgroup.