5 Simple Steps to Enjoying Baby and Toddler Groups
Published on 09/12/2017 by Kirsty
With over ninety different baby and toddler groups across the city, it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed when trying to decide which ones to go to. Regina Alonzi and Katie Drake offer some advice before you take the plunge.
1) Do your Research
Every group offers something different - some solely have wooden and sensory toys; others are specifically for dads or male carers; some have a wide variety of snacks, others don’t…in fact there can even be long waiting lists to join! Do your research before! Use recommendations from other parents or guardians, official guides like Edinburgh for Under Fives, Hoop, and social media to help you make the right decision for what is best for you, and your child(ren).
2) Be Friendly/Chat to Everyone
Don’t be shy! Talk to as many people as possible at any groups you go to, and make new friends. Remember the other people you meet there are likely to have something in common with you – they may live in the same area, or have similar aged children perhaps. Whatever it is could in fact help build the foundation of a friendship that lasts well beyond toddler group.
3) Go More Than Once
In order to be fully appreciated the same baby and toddler group should be attended more than once, as there will always be something new to discover or make - Wooden Toys Playground for example, has a dedicated crafts theme every week, and children can physically take home something if they choose to participate. Consistency is also super important for children, and for their carers as it can help build and forge relationships with peers.
4) Get Involved
If you can, why not get involved? Most baby and toddler groups don’t get official funding and run thanks to voluntary and participant support, so simple things like tidying up toys at the end of the session, or arduous tasks like baking, can really make a difference. Speak to the organisers to find out what help is needed, and do try and get more involved, everything else permitting. It really does give you a warm and fuzzy feeling inside going above and beyond simply attending a group, to actually helping with it!
5) Spread The Word!
Don’t forget to tell others about your experience, both good or bad! This is particularly important given how much guidance carers and parents get from their peers. Most groups rely on word of mouth for their attendance, so your part in this is vital, and could actually make a difference between whether your favourite group remains open or not!
Regina and Katie run The Wooden Toys Playground in Comely Bank every Thursday morning. At The Wooden Toys Playground you will find a variety of wooden and natural toys spread out across two halls, ample snacks for all ages (real teas and coffee for grown ups), crafts and singing. It is suitable for 0-3.5 year olds, and operates on a weekly drop-in basis.