This month, we're talking about early years education and playgroups can be the perfect way to get your child used to socialising and learning ahead of nursery or pre-school. It's also a great way for you to meet other mums and make friends. Here TalkMum blogger Rachel shares her tips. Rachel blogs over at The Little Pip.
- Make yourself go to that playgroup, even if you don't feel like it/haven't showered/ it's raining. You will feel much better for some fresh air and feeling like you've achieved something. In the early days, most people aren't sleeping much and no-one is dressed up
- Look at notice boards in coffee shops and other places for flyers (here, baby shops, cafes and random fence corners are covered with notices of all sorts of groups, some of them baby focused). You'd be surprised which pubs and other venues host baby related events during the day. The cafes in the local parks are also a good place to look for event information
- Whatever you think of the NCT, the local co-ordinator often will email you a list of things happening in your area (and you don't have to join the NCT, even, to go to their events and teas)
- Do an online search - in my area one of the local mums (who I met one day in a children's bookshop) has set up a website with local listings and also look at your local council website
- Baby shops and children's bookshops are good places to go. No-one minds if you need to feed the baby, or if they cry. I have met mums by just saying hello and falling into conversation
- Try things once. You don't have to go back
- Don't be worried about inviting a mum you've just met for coffee. It's so nice to be asked
- Walking (here, we walk in the park and often bump into the same mums) or running with the pram is multi-purpose. Fresh air, exercise and the baby always seems calmer outside
- Pack your bag! Remember the nappies, spare changes of clothes and so on. I've found being prepared actually allows you to be more spontaneous. That way, when you go to a group and everyone stops for coffee or lunch afterwards, you won't have to worry about whether you've got enough stuff to stay out. In the end, being organised means you will be happier (my top tip - pack a swaddle, or better, a snooze shade black out blind, to cover the pram whilst the baby is asleep when out and about. my baby sleeps better and more peacefully when she can't be distracted. plus, a snooze shade is UV protected so you don't need to worry about the sun on your newborn's skin).
- Don't worry about trying to remember people's names (or their baby's). Definitely don't be put off talking to a mum you recognise just because you can't remember who she is. She probably can't remember your name either. I just ask. (Sometimes repeatedly, week after week). Everyone just puts it down to lack of sleep.
Do you have any tips to add on how to make friends at playgroups?