Parents of young children typically have relied on nearby extended relatives and family friends to provide the support and help they have needed. However, most of today’s parents often live far from family and friends, so support must come from another quarter. Consequently, both moms and dads have quietly mobilized with military precision to start their own neighborhood playgroups. This trend is re-inventing the old-style neighborhood that grandma remembers and giving playgroups a unique opportunity to minister to these parents and children in various ways.
Playgroups fill an emotional void for women in the mothering phase of their lives and for fathers who stay home to raise their children. Playgroups offer members a chance to connect with other parents, seek advice, and share experiences. Both mothers and fathers develop friendships in their playgroups by sharing interests and hobbies with each other. Indeed, playgroups provide a sense of belonging to stay-at-home parents, who generally would be home alone with their children most of the day.
"I belonged to a playgroup from the time my daughters were infants until they started kindergarten," says Julie Heying, mother of a 13-year-old daughter and 12-year-old twins in California. "Today, some of my cherished friendships are with women that I met while in playgroup. I would not have survived the preschool years without this group of women."
In addition to emotional support, many playgroups extend practical assistance to their members. Many playgroups institute "in-a-pinch" emergency services and babysitting co-ops. Having friends to count on in emergencies is important to any family, but especially to those without extended relatives nearby.
Plus, playgroups provide parents and children a chance to get out of the house and socialize with peers. Weekly playgroups provide an enjoyable diversion where the children play with friends while their parents talk or where all members share a structured activity. Children learn valuable skills, such as how to share, follow directions and stay focused on a task. All of these are important benefits that should not be overlooked.
Search your community for a playgroup for you and your child today!
About The Author: Name: Carren W. Joye Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.onlineplaygroup.com/ Carren W. Joye is the author of A Stay-at-Home Mom's Complete Guide to Playgroups (ISBN 0-595- 14684-8; $13.95) and founder of OnlinePlaygroup.com. A homeschooling mom of four children, she has founded five successful playgroups and helped start countless other playgroups around the world.