A playgroup can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your child. Sometimes they happen on their own, a few neighborhood moms getting together inviting their friends and sometimes you might need to go out and search for one. If you have been unsuccessful in finding a playgroup for you and your child you may have thought about starting your own.
There are many organizations that can help you start a playgroup, but if one of those organized groups doesn't fit your style and you are looking for something a little more casual starting one from scratch is easier than it sounds.
One of the first things you should think about when you are starting your playgroup is what exactly are you wanting out of your playgroup. Here are a few questions you might want to ask yourself before you start:
Are you wanting to start a group just for more socialization for yourself and child?
How many times a week or month would you like to meet with your group?
How far are you willing to travel to meet with your members?
How close in age would you like the children to be?
What days of the week would work best for you?
Who do you want to join in your group? all moms? moms and dads? working moms? stay at home moms? Natural parenting moms? moms who speak a foreign language? running moms?
Naming your group:
Many groups decide on a final name once they have a few members and vote on a name. Picking a name is usually fun, but if you're stumped here's a few ideas to get you started:
Moms and Tots of (insert your town)
(insert your town) Cuties
Moms Time Out
Where to Find Members:
Once you have figured out basically what will work for you it is time to find other parents who will be interested in joining your group.
You can start finding new members by first making up some flyers with the basic information about your group.
A sample flyer might say something like this:
Moms and Tots of Green County
Local playgroup invites Moms of Toddlers born in 2003-2004 to join us for fun and friendship.
We will meet weekly on Tuesday mornings at the park, homes, indoor play places, and occassional family days and Moms Night Out.
Please call Lisa at (714) 555-1234 for more information.
Keep the flyers with you while you are out in the neighborhood, grocery store, library, park, etc. When you see a mother with a child you can easily let her know about your group by handing out a flyer.
"Hi, I'm Lisa. I just thought I'd give you a flyer about a new playgroup I'm starting. If you are interested my number is on there, just give me a call or pass it along if you know anyone who might be."
It's probably best to hand them out at the time you will be available to meet, that if you run into a mom at the park or mall she's most likely available at that time of day.
Ask your friends and neighbors, even though they might not have kids themselves they may know somebody who does.
Finding members online is also an excellent option.
Create an online area for your group with Yahoo Groups. Your best bet will be to keep it listed, but private so only once you approve members they can view the messages.
Submit your group information to Childavenue.com where your group will be available by search and many groups have had success in finding new members.
* When meeting new people for the first time, always select a public area where you feel safe.
Most small groups do not charge dues, but you may find it neccessary. Remember playgroups are not meant to be profitable, but you might want to ask for a small donation to cover costs of mailing out a calendar of events, craft supplies, or web hosting fees if you have your own domain for your group.
So you've found a few interested moms and now you have your first meeting set up, what do you do now? Meeting new moms and friends might almost feel like dating, the excitement of meeting somebody new and having new friends to do things with you and your child. Try to be open-minded to some of their ideas, make them feel welcome, and let them know of some of your plans. Hopefully it will be a hit and you'll soon be on your journey to some life long friends. If it doesn't go as planned don't get discouraged, just like dating, moms don't always click.
For more tips and ideas about playgroups please visit our message boards