How to Find a Play Group

Play groups help develop the social, emotional, verbal and physical spheres of a child before they are school age. There are several factors for success in this venue; and since children's early values and behaviors are shaped by this, it is important to choose wisely.


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    Consider the temperament of the child. Their skills should be taken into account when choosing a play group because their level of involvement and enthusiasm depends on how well they fit themselves in.
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    Outline your purpose for enrolling your child in a play group. There are several groups to choose from; such as religious, language immersion, or athletics. Of course, there are unstructured play groups too.
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    Check the ratios. While some kids thrive in a hustle bustle environment, others prefer individualized attention.
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    Before signing your child up, have a trial run where they can familiarize themselves with it. Choose a day where your child is well rested and fed. Introduce them to their group and let them explore while you are sitting somewhere nearby. If all goes well, experiment by going to the store while leaving them there.
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    Take a look at the supervisor's persona. Does it mesh well with your child or is there an air of tension? Opposite personalities have the potential of either bringing out new traits and skills, or causing great strife. Especially look at how they respond when faced with a disciplinary issue.
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    Observe the other children. Your child will tend emulate what they are exposed to in play group, and bad company will greatly affect them in the long run. However, never judge based on appearances.
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    Group dynamics are important. Do they tend to gang up on certain kids, or is there a defined pecking order? If so, you may not want to expose your child to this bullying environment.
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    Finally, when you've picked a play group, confirm whether the child fits well in it as time goes on. Make sure that they are being well cared for.


  • Research different play groups and seek advice from other parents.
  • Check the credentials of the playgroup they are attending.
  • Keep in mind whether your child wants to go with one of their friends. However, don't send them like that unless they actually want to, every child is an individual.


  • Make sure the supervisors have had a background check, or get references from other parents. Your child's safety is vital.
  • If your child is telling you about someone being mean to them, LISTEN. It's not just normal play, nor should it be thought of as a rite of passage for school. It's bullying, and you should check into it.
  • Beware of forcing your child to go into a play group which they dislike. You may desire to have a bilingual tennis playing child, but this is the place where they play and learn. Instead, if you have to, try lessons instead.

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Categories: Parenting