We know playgroups are a fun part of childhood, but besides being an easy way to tire out the kids, what else do these play dates do for them (and us!)?
Playgroups allow children to develop their social skills in a supportive and safe setting. Whether they are learning to share toys, taking turns, or resolving conflicts, our littles are learning to interact with others every time they play with peers.
Alright, so we know these kids are growing every minute of every day, but did you know that each time they play with friends, they are growing their gross motor and fine motor skills too? By alternating indoor and outdoor activities, play dates offer opportunities for running, climbing, jumping, and dancing alongside building, crafting, sorting, and creating, all of which improve strength and coordination.
Speaking of all those motor skill developments, playgroups do wonders for language development. Through play and social interactions, our children are exposed to new vocabulary, participate in conversations, are motivated to use words, and have the chance to practice verbal routines- all things they might not experience as much during their normal activities.
Playgroups also give our kids an important way to develop emotional confidence, manage stress, and adapt to change. Things don’t always go our way and we can’t control others’ actions, but given positive interactions with adults and peers in a safe environment, children are able to gain self-esteem and regulate emotions.
But what about us?? Moms can get as much out of playgroups as their kids do.
When we watch our little ones play with others, we get to see them in a new way. Playgroups allow us to see our child be brave, kind, confident, creative, cautious, helpful… playing with other people in different environments brings us insight to the people our children are becoming.
Sometimes being a mom can feel a little like being in ‘Groundhog Day’. We do the same things the same way at the same times every day to avoid meltdowns and bring routine to our lives. By going to new places and having activities outside of our norm, we get varied opportunities for interactions with our little ones. We get the chance to play and laugh with our kids as they explore and have new experiences, bringing joy into our day-to-day.
Of course, one of the biggest advantages of playgroups is the connections we make to other moms going through the same stages of parenthood. Your kid is teething? Mine too. Your child refuses to potty train? Here’s what worked for me. Struggling with separation anxiety? I’ve got a great book for you. Whatever it may be, having other moms to talk to about our struggles and triumphs brings immeasurable comfort and support- something we can all use a good dose of.
So the next time you think you are just taking your kid to play at playgroup, know that you are doing so much more for them and yourself. Make sure you give your GCSML playgroup a little extra love this week and hit a playdate whenever you are able. If you aren’t in a playgroup yet, let email email@example.com so we can match you to the perfect group!
We also have a new Saturday Playgroup open to all ages: GCS Saturday Shenanigans. Click here to join and receive invites and information for where we are playing next!
Special thanks to Playgroups Chair, Sarah Barton, for sharing this post. Click here to email her with questions regarding playgroups, or to volunteer!