9 reasons to try out your local baby & toddler group

Meet other parents and carers, develop your child’s social skills and 7 more reasons to give your local toddler group a go!
1. Getting out of the house
Being at home on your own with a baby or toddler all day can be isolating. Getting out of the house is vital if you are feeling isolated and “stuck at home”. And, if you are no longer going out to work just the weekly routine of “going to toddlers” can do you good.
2. Chance for your child to develop social skills. Making friends, learning to share and play with other children are essential social skills. Toddler groups are a great way to introduce your child to new friends.
3. Meet other parents and carers. Even if you are lucky enough to have friends and family around you, they may not understand how you feel, the issues you face or share your endless enthusiasm for discussing potty training. Other mums and dads will understand and be supportive. Plus the parent “grapevine” can be an invaluable way of finding out what is happening locally.
4. It’s cheap! Almost every aspect of having a child costs money. At least going to a toddler group is something you can do which is cheap or even free.
5. Change of scene for your child.
Children need variety and stimulation and can get grizzly when stuck indoors all day.  A change of scene can work wonders – for both of you.
6. Somewhere to go on a cold, wet day. In mid-winter the local park can lack appeal. A toddler group is somewhere to play that is warm and dry. Plus there is usually more space to run around indoors than at home.
7. Help prepare your child for preschool or reception. Eventually your child will move on to pre-school or infants. Learning to mix with other children and adults, to be in a different environment, to use different cups, toys, toilets etc. will help prepare for the transition. Your child will become familiar with songs, rhymes and activities they’ll come across at school. And of course they will have the chance to make friends who’ll start school with them.
8. Wide range of different toys.
No one has the money or space to keep up with their toddler’s voracious appetite for new toys.  Toddler groups are a good way for your child to try a wide range of different toys including those which are larger & more expensive than you could have at home. Also, you’ll be surprised what will catch your child’s interest; they will pick up toys and activities you’d never have chosen for them or even realised they were ready for.
9. Babies are welcome too!
Just because your local group is called a toddler group, don’t wait till your little one is walking before you go. Most groups welcome parents with babies. Plus some very popular groups have waiting lists so it’s worth finding out about your local groups early.

“Well, that’s all very well but it’s just not my thing.”
What if the idea of a toddler group just doesn’t appeal? Give it a go for a few weeks, you have nothing to lose and you could be pleasantly surprised.  You may feel uncomfortable chatting to strangers but children make a great talking point! If you feel like you don’t fit in, try other toddler groups in the area. Each group has its own style; some are livelier, some are smaller and friendlier. It may take a few attempts to find one to suit you and your child but it will be worth it!

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