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JOINING A PLAYGROUP

Regardless of the age and developmental stage of your child, joining an area playgroup can prove a rewarding action for both of you. Perhaps you are the parent of a very young son or daughter merely making those first tentative efforts toward socializing, and you are looking for a way in which you can introduce your child to potential friends. This process is not like simply choosing a boarding kennel, and can be particularly important to those parents whose child will soon begin daycare, preschool, or regular school for the first time. If a child, up until this point, has primarily known the company of immediate family members, you may understandably want to help him or her branch out somewhat in terms of social interactions.

While you may have at first considered the benefits of a playgroup to apply exclusively to your child, you will probably reap some direct benefits yourself, in addition to witnessing your child delighted and at play. Oftentimes, parents enjoy these groups as much as their young charges do. Parents whose primary employment is the at-home care-taking of young children often luxuriate in the chance to interact with other adults while still keeping a careful eye on their children. Parents who work outside the home often have little time to socialize between home and workplace; a playgroup can be every bit as rewarding to them.

Playgroups for Special Needs Children

There are now many pre-established playgroups in various areas, and there are also many ways to locate information about them. As with nearly any field you are investigating, you will probably find the most information concerning formal playgroups online. When you encounter playgroups that are structured enough to have titles, websites, published contact information for organizing members,etc., you are probably looking at a playgroup based on either a certain developmental stage or a special need. For instance, there are now many playgroups established for young children who have a type of physical or developmental handicap.

If your child is considered special needs, you might find that the benefit to you as a parent of these playgroups is strong. Some parents see no particular need to encourage their child to socialize within a group of other children sharing his or her disability but do, themselves, benefit from the opportunity to meet with other parents working through familiar challenges. Some parents choose these focused playgroups for the purpose of building up children's confidence.

If your child feels somewhat self-conscious about a certain injury, physical condition, or other need, you might decide that a way to help him or her ease into the process of interacting assertively with others is to provide an atmosphere where the child does not feel at all out of place. Parents can have very different perspectives on this particular matter. Know that if you think such a measure would be helpful given the unique personality, requirements, and wants of your child, you will probably be able to find a playgroup that fits the bill.

Starting a Playgroup

If the idea of joining a playgroup appeals to you but you have simply thus far not found an appropriate one within you area, you can always consider starting your very own group. Quite often, parents discover that playgroups form organically based on routine activities. For instance, if you regularly go to the park with your child at two o'clock in the afternoon, you might just as regularly meet and talk with other parents of children around your child's age. If you find that other parents' arrival and departure times vary more than yours, consider suggesting scheduled meet-up times to them.

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