There are a ton of resources in your community on how to spend time with your toddler. Your local library probably has story time days as well as contact information for special events in your local parks, at children’s museums, and even information on playgroups. Playgroups always sound like a fantastic idea because your child will get to make friends and you’ll get to connect with other moms in your area, but how do you go about selecting a playgroup and what should they offer?

Selecting a Quality Group
The whole idea behind playgroups is for kids to get together and get some social interaction with their peers. If the group you find doesn’t offer quality interaction, then keep researching until you find the right fit. Kids shouldn’t just be sitting around while their moms have coffee. The activities need to be structured and there needs to be some planning done or else you might as well just take your child to the park for an hour or two and hope they meet other children.

A quality playgroup should have some ground rules or at least an itinerary that all the moms are aware of. It should also have a few policies and protocols for certain situations or emergencies. A few popular policies and protocols are:
•    Requiring first aid or CPR training
•    Rules about being late or early
•    Rules about how long the playtimes last
Some groups are more laid back than other and perhaps playing in the park is a part of some of the play dates. Again, social interaction is the purpose of the play dates and as long as the children are under supervision and have time to talk and play with each other, then any activity is fine.

What Are Your Responsibilities?

As a parent, you obviously have a few responsibilities during these playtimes. For example, if you sign up for a group, you’re responsible for being on time and attending regularly. Also, you may have a responsibility to plan the activities every so often. Depending on how many children are in your group, you may have to teach or plan the activity once a month or once every two to three months.

Also, you may be required to take a first aid or CPR class or even undergo a background check depending on the group you choose. If the group is through an organization, background checks are more likely. If a mom in your neighborhood put the group together, it’s less likely that these types of thorough checks with be conducted.

What To Expect. "Playgroups for toddlers 101." What To Expect. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2014.