3 Reasons to Join a Baby Play Group

3 Reasons to Join a Baby Play GroupWhen you need baby-friendly stimulation outside your own home, a baby play group can be beneficial for both moms and babies. While your baby may not be interacting with others at first, being in a new environment and observing other babies and mothers can be a great learning experience. Here are our top three reasons to join a baby play group:

Reason #1: Social Interaction

Children usually don’t play together in the traditional sense until well into their 2s or 3s. Up until that point they usually participate in parallel play, which is playing by themselves in the same room as other babies and toddlers. But for swiping a toy or two from a neighboring baby, your baby is probably content exploring alone. However, at a baby play group your child has the opportunity to observe other little ones around his size, which is a wonderful learning tool. He may watch another baby play and even learn how to use a toy or get motivated to develop fine and gross motor skills by watching other babies. When conflict does arise over toys, hair pulling or whatever else your baby may decide to try, it’s an early opportunity to explain sharing and playing gently. Although your baby won’t understand the concept for some time, it’s good to start talking about it early.

Socialization is a critical part of schooling. Participating in a baby play group during your child’s early years can help prepare him for preschool. Shy and sensitive children may not enjoy too much stimulation so find a baby play group that jives with your baby’s personality.

Moms also benefit from social interaction. A baby play group is a fantastic way to make new friends. These friendships may last throughout your baby’s childhood and beyond. Plus, while the babies are happily playing, moms can discuss topics outside of parenting for some much-need adult conversation.

Reason #2: New Environment

Getting out of your home play space can be refreshing for you and your baby. Whether your baby play group meets at a central location or rotates homes, you will both benefit from being in a new environment and playing with new toys. In fact, play groups are a terrific way to try out new toys to see what interests your baby without buying up the toy store.

Be sure you select a baby play group that makes sense for you geographically and logistically. Going to a baby play group during your baby’s regular nap time could be a disaster. Also, driving long distances to play may not be wise. Plus, making friendships closer to home means you can get together more often and you may have more opportunity for interaction throughout the years if your kids go to the same schools and do the same local activities.

Reason #3: Advice and Support

Moms are super networkers and baby play groups offer the ultimate opportunity to get the scoop on a variety of parenting topics. From sleep troubles to breastfeeding triumphs, moms can support each other and provide advice based on their experiences in motherhood. Or, sometimes a mom just needs someone else to commiserate with when things get tough. Veteran moms and first time moms alike are great for information and ideas to improve your parenting.

Sources: BabyCenter, Parenting, More4Kids and The Baby Corner