Friday, April 10, 2015

How to: Run a Play Group

Running anything is a difficult thing. When you run a play group you have it twice as hard because you are dealing not only with kids but also with moms. You have to try and make everyone happy while trying not to stress yourself out or spend too much in the process. It took me a long time to find a balance with that. Here are a few pointers for running a play group. This is just my opinion and what I have learned!

  • First things first who do you want to join?- If you have an age group preference or a specific interest for the group you should make that clear from the beginning. For me I was ok with all ages and wanted the group to be open to the whole family of my members.

  • Finding Members- When looking into adding members to your group there are few things you can do. You can first add close friends that fit the bill, next you can make a public group on FB or a group on and have people apply to join. Lastly, you can join other groups and befriend members. If they seem interested in being in a group with you, you can extend an invitation. (I encountered some hostility when I did this due to my openness about what I was doing, it can be seen in a negative light. Some might accuse you of "stealing" members. So be aware of this possibility) I think its just one of the things that happens when you join any group if you are already a leader of one. I still encourage joining other groups because you can take a break from being in charge now and then. Its also a good way to experience lots of different activities.

  • Planning events- What kind of events do you want to host? There are craft, park, pot luck, outdoor, and themed events you can do. If you want a few examples of things I have done you can look back through my blog posts and see a few I have hosted.

  • Keep yourself open- Be open to new members, and allowing others to take over now and then. I don't just mean delegation. Be open to letting other members host and generate ideas for the group.

  • Budget wisely- I have ALWAYS suffered with my inability to budget well for my play date activities. I always spent too much and did too much. That is who I am. I have cut down on spending a lot more over the last year or two but that is also due to my child growing older and being in school full time. There is just not enough time to have special events any more. The best way to budget is to plan one or two big ticket events and also use parks wisely. Make friends with the Dollar store for small supplies ;)

  • Finally, something that is bound to occur is dealing with members leaving or being disgruntled.- Now and then you might add someone to your group and they are not meant to be. They might have different views than you or simply dislike things you choose to do. No matter the issue, be aware that people will leave. Don't feel ill will or take it to heart. Sometimes members will have a problem with each other or with you and there is nothing you can do about it. I have had difficulties with things like this in the past. I took it hard and felt responsible, but that isn't the way you should be. Accepting that a group might have drama is key to accepting the responsibility of leading a group. You must deal with confrontation on occasion and keep your cool.

If you are reading this I hope these pointers have been helpful and I also hope any play group you are a part of or start is successful in the future. Don't let stress destroy what the purpose of play groups is. Play groups are about joy, companionship, friendship, and entertainment. Moms and kids both need interaction with others and time to have fun! Be kind, and be yourself!

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