So you’ve had your baby and you’ve been nesting for a couple of weeks! Now what?
Are you ready to get out and about? I know some days it’s just hard to make it to the shower and get out of your PJs when you’re a new mum, but I think making the effort to join a Mother’s group is really worth it! Not only for you, but for your baby as well. After you’ve had time to recuperate following the birth, you’ll more than likely feel like getting out of the house and introducing your baby to life outside the home.
I know I was nervous first going along to Mother’s Group but I found the girls were a great support to me and realised all of us were having our own struggles. We moved away from our first family home when my first born, Jacob, was 6 months old but I’d developed a connection with my Playgroup, so I continued to attend even after we moved. Jacob is now 12 years old and I still see all the “girls” from my Mother’s group. We still enjoy a night out together and have gone on family weekend getaways. We reminisce about those “baby years” and we talk about the current parenting dilemmas that are facing us with our growing children. It’s really amazing that 12 years on, I still have that connection with the mums who knew me when I first ventured into the world of motherhood! The Playgroup girls were also a great support when I created Bubbaroo.
You may have been invited through your local Child Health Nurse to meet other parents from your area who have had babies at the same time and this will be the beginning of your Mother’s group (or parent’s group). What’s it going to be like? Will we get along? Will it be a nice thing to do for my baby? The answer is yes! Give it a go! What have you got to lose? I made some lasting friendships from my mother’s group and the kids – well they learned a lot while they played, shared a few germs to boost their immunity and generally had a fun time! This may not be the case for everyone but unless you give it a go, you’ll never know! There is no harm done by trying it out!
Mother’s group is a great way to:
- Meet other new mums with similarly aged babies
- Socialise your baby with new experiences and meeting new faces
- Learn and share information. You can ask the other mums about how they’re managing with a particular issue or experience. Remember to be honest, supportive and respectful of others opinions. Mother’s group shouldn’t be viewed as an opportunity to compete with other parents. If you don’t find the group very supportive or you don’t gel then you could try another group.
- The kids will make friends and this will bring opportunities to learn how to navigate their way around other kids. Kids learn by interacting with other kids. They might invent their own games together or just play side by side in the sand pit. It will be a learning curve for your baby and is a part of growing up!
- If you don’t join now then you may find it more difficult to join in at a later date. Saying that, our Playgroup had a number of parents join our Playgroup as we’re a very accepting and inclusive group of people.
Get in touch with your local Child Health Nurse to see what’s on offer in your area. Go to Department of Health in your State or Territory.
You may meet up with your Mother’s group at the local café or at each other’s homes. Sooner or later though you may find that the kids will need more space to move around and you may wish to progress to a bigger venue. This is a good time to start thinking about morphing your Mother’s group into a Playgroup by joining one in your local area.
Playgroups offer a fantastic venue for the kids to interact with other kids in a fun and safe environment, while giving you the opportunity to interact with other parents. At Playgroup mums or dads, caregivers or extended family can come together with their babies to learn together through play. It is also a great place to go as your children grow and especially if you have more than one child – you can all go to Playgroup together. Playgroup suggests that your child can benefit from playgroup in the following ways:
- Playgroups are safe and nurturing environment where children can play and learn
- Enhance healthy early brain development through play
- Opportunities for children to create, invent, reason and problem solve
- Opportunities to build attachment between adults and children as they play together and share time and experiences
- Learn social skills as they negotiate with peers, resolve conflict, take turns, share and make friends
- Build resilience to enable them to cope with new situations and manage stress and adapt to change
How can families benefit from playgroup?
- A space where families can create their own locally based friends and social networks
- A place where parents and caregivers can support each other through sharing ideas, parenting experiences, concerns and information
- Build family capacity through peer support
- A place where families can build long-term friendships as their children grow and transition to school
- An affordable and regular opportunity for families to enjoy a shared outing
While at Playgroup, children have the opportunity to learn through play and develop social, emotional, physical and cognitive skills in a safe and stimulating environment. Visit www.playgroupaustralia.org.au for more information on Playgroup in your State/Territory.
I hope your experience with Mother’s Group and Playgroup is a wonderful new network of support for you and your baby.