Thursday 20 May 2010

Parent and Toddler Groups - Why do you go?

This post is inspired by a joke I made at a Parenting class "aren't playgroups for mums to drink coffee and gossip". So why do mums, dads and grandparents go to playgroups and parent/toddler groups?

1) Adult Socialising

Groups are a chance for stay at home parents to get to have adult interaction in daylight hours. A time to gossip and compare notes with other grown ups over a cup of coffee or tea. This may lead to new friendships as time goes on. 

For some people this maybe the only time they get out of the house during the week. As such they are vital for the mental well being of parents.

2) Children's Socialising

A chance for children to learn about playing with other children from outside their family and normal social circle. Gives them a chance to mix with a wider group of children.

They can also build on skills that they are learning elsewhere such as sharing which is more important in a large group.

3) New Experiences for Children

Often at groups there are toys and activities on offer that aren't available to them elsewhere. Either because there are a finite number of toys you can keep at home or due to economies of scale different crafts are available each week. A boon for mums that can't cope with messy craft at home.

At some groups they are visited by other bodies such as Toy Libraries or Children's Centres who bring in special games and activities on an occasional basis.

4) Fun together

Away from the pressures of home and distractions of housework, TV, phone calls etc. playgroups are a chance for adults and children to have fun together. Whether this is trying a new toy, getting messy on the craft table or as part of the sing-a-long it can be so much more relaxing away from home.

Not so good

In some groups there are still very few dad's and granddads so men can feel like odd ones out. This is changing as there are more SAHD's and hopefully more will come and join in the fun the mums have been having for years. 


  1. I met a lot of nice people at them, some became very good friends, I'm all for them! tag for you at mine

  2. Your reasons for Toddler Groups are bang on the money for me since moving to a new part of the UK. Sometimes our Friday group is the only time Little One and I see other people. Its been our way to make friends, have fun and enjoy some different arts and crafts. I would have been lost without our little group. However, when I lived in Kent in our pre-Singapore days, I very very rarely attended such groups as I already had lots of friends, kids went to nursery on my working days and I wanted the time off to do things with my kids as I choose rather than to a Group agenda. Isn't it funny how things change over time?

    MD x

  3. I agree with all of the above - gossip, coffee, company.

    Our Mummy & Baby Group is particularly useful because we are all english speakers... strangers in a strange land... it's lovely to just interact with other mums without worrying about speaking a foreign language and making yourself understood. We can just gossip and chit chat in a relaxed way. We also share information - I bring my copy of Helsinki Times (eng lang paper) and others bring along leaflets of children's events in english or otherwise.

    If one of us has been "home" to the US or UK, then we often share treats, too ;D. Last month Deborah brought us some calamine lotion - as lots of the kids had chickenpox and you can't get it here !!

  4. Finnglish mummy I hadn't thought about the ex pat groups they must in a way be even more useful to mums than the UK ones!

    Modern Dilemma I'm going to have to find a new one when I move up north to an area of the country where its only the older generations of my family..

    Geekymummy I will get round to doing your meme!!


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