Kids love to play with other kids, and moms are always up for talking to and getting to know other moms better, especially when they do not have a lot of interaction with other adults during the day. Thus, the birth of playgroups. Playgroups offer a chance for kids to socialize and learn proper social behavior, and they are a chance for moms to talk with other moms. Despite all of the good, there are some pitfalls of playgroups:
Social problems: One of the biggest pitfalls of playgroup is that kids can simply be mean. If your child is shy, or has trouble in a group, especially one with domineering children, a playgroup may not be the best option for getting your child interacting with others. The trend in larger groups of kids is for the aggressive kids to gang up and sort of pick on, exclude, or ignore the kids who are more introverted. This can be a step backwards for a parent who is trying to get their little one to interact better with other children. So, if you want to take your little one to a playgroup, evaluate the kids that will be part of their group, and make sure that they will be well included.
Sharing, fighting, biting, etc.: Another playgroup pitfall is that kids the age of most playgroups are not very good at sharing. This means that unless you meet on neutral ground for a playgroup (such as a park), there can be some real fights about toys, and possessiveness over items. The problems with this in playgroups is that if it is at someone’s house, the trouble with sharing can often escalate to hitting, kicking, biting, hair pulling, etc. and in many instances the mom of the child hitting, kicking, etc. will not notice because they are at their house, so they are not watching their child as closely.
Spreading sickness: If a playgroup’s members are not courteous of the others in the group, they may bring their child to the playgroup with an illness. In many instances sickness is spread because a parent chooses not to keep their child at home when they are still contagious. The reasons are many, sometimes it is because they do not want to miss the social interaction they get, other times it is because it allows them a break from their child. Whatever the reason, when moms bring their kids to playgroup sick, the sickness spreads to other kids through sharing drinks, toys, snacks, etc.
Mommy gossip: One of the pitfalls many moms notice at playgroup is that they go expecting to socialize, and instead end up in awkward conversations with people they hardly know sharing intimate details of their life. Many moms attend a playgroup hoping it will allow them to learn more from other moms about how to better raise kids the age of their kid. When instead they hear what kind of birth control everyone is on, which children were “accidents” and other embarrassing details, it can be a bit uncomfortable. Playgroups are a great platform for gossip and the sharing of intimate tidbits, so if you don’t want to hear it, don’t go, or try to tactfully change the subject.