I met some great friends through a local playgroup for stay-at-home moms when my kids were younger. I’m no longer in the group, but I still maintain relationships with many of those moms. If no local playgroups fit your needs, why not create your own? Before you start hosting play dates, take some time to plan the direction of the group so you recruit members that fit your needs.
Ages and Stages
While some playgroups are open to families with children of any age, others narrow in on a particular age group, such as toddlers or preschoolers. This give you a group of children who are similar in age and development so they play well together. The parents also have plenty to chat about at play dates since they’re likely experiencing similar things.
Do you live a holistic lifestyle? Do you value giving your kids lots of time outdoors in nature? Are you a working mom who wants a playgroup that meets in the evening or on weekends? Take your personal values and situation into account when you establish a purpose for your playgroup. If you broadcast that you’re creating a group of nature-loving parents of preschoolers, you can attract other parents who feel the same way. The moms who prefer to stay indoors and out of the dirt will likely keep looking.
Another consideration when establishing the structure of the playgroup is the leadership. Are you going to be the primary leader for the group? Do you want a co-leader? Or will all members have an equal part in running the playgroup and planning play dates? If you decide how to organize the group early on, you’re less likely to face chaos. Your group might also stick around longer when there is a clear leadership protocol.
Types of Meetings
The types of activities you plan to do also play a role in shaping the playgroup. Some groups focus on the children, with several play dates each week for kids. Others mix kids’ play dates with moms-only events. Take time to think through the types of activities you want to plan for the group.
Bring It Together
Once you sort out all the details of the group, you can put together a mission statement and description of the group. Use this information to share the group and recruit new members. Before long, you should have a group of parents and kids who enjoy similar activities and values. Who knows? You just may make some lifelong friends.