5 Simple Steps to Starting a Playgroup
The concept behind ChiquitaMoms.com is to introduce you, parents, to the many ways our community can support your endeavor to raise healthy and happy children. But beyond the web-o-sphere where we are limited to online conversations, I’ve found that the best way to engage with other parents is through the engagement of a playgroup.
Recently I was contacted by a reporter with our local paper. She wanted to write up a story about the South Charlotte Playgroup which I started back in 2008. The group has grown in membership to include over 800 women and serves as a community resource for moms that need to get out of the house.
Her questions for the article probed me to think about what made my group a success. It’s really pretty simple. I needed friends, I nurtured the group, and I made an effort to talk to everyone.
If you are the type of person that would rather start your own group instead of joining someone else’s (I promise, it’s a lot of work but equally fulfilling), here are a few simple steps to get a group of your own started:
1: Pick your platform. Meetup.com is a really easy and inexpensive way to start a playgroup with those you don’t know. But you could also just start a group on Facebook.com. Really, it comes down to deciding if you want to get together with moms you may not know yet (Meetup connects you with other meetup members looking to participate in groups) or do you already have a good network of mom-friends and you simply need a way to organize playdates? That’s where Facebook is fantastic.
2: Set up events. People get excited when they see there is ongoing engagement in a community. Put more than one event on your calendar. Load it up. Members will see that this will be a group that will be interacting frequently and will provide consistent opportunities to get for parents to get out of the house and children socialized.
3: Listen to your members. Are you scheduling events during naptime? Are events close to people’s homes? Age appropriate? I’ve found that the best way to keep members happy in a playgroup is to encourage everyone to come up with events to host. When everyone is involved in the planning, everyone can go to events that suit them.
4. Be present at events. Not only should you attend as many events as possible while you are getting your group started, but it’s also important to connect with the other members in attendance. Get to know everyone, make introductions. Seek out those that don’t already know people and make them feel included. If there’s a “most important” step, it would be this one.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Encourage your members to help plan events. Ask for family-friendly businesses to offer space for you to get together or give you a freebie for you planning an event at their facility. And always ask for a group discount!
Whether you are new to city, new to parenthood, or just need a new scene for you and your child(ren), consider starting a playgroup! And if you have any questions about ANYTHING relating to playgroups, just ask me. If it pertains to playgroups, I’ve been there done that!