Family Magazine

Should You Put Your Toddler in a Playgroup?

By Shwetashetye

How soon is too soon when deciding to put your toddler in a playgroup? Now, this is an interesting discussion. Toddlers are little humans, but they are dependent on us to make crucial decisions for them. I cringe at the thought that why I decide the fate of my toddler.

Should you put your toddler in a playgroup is one such critical issue that needs introspection. Do we really need 1.5-year-olds attending regular playgroups? Let me start why this question popped up. So, my daughter is now 18 months old, which makes her eligible for a couple of preschools where I live. Let’s face it, a few hours away from a toddler is nothing short of a beach vacation. So, I decided to venture into the possibility of admitting her to one of these preschools.

One harsh reality of our times, Preschools are EXPENSIVE. I never realized that education has become so expensive and how much more I need to earn! Some of the schools were charging way over an average monthly income of a single household. But, as parents, we might even adjust to these exorbitant charges. What I find difficult to come to terms with are the timings? One of the most renowned schools in my neighborhood wanted kids to be in a playgroup for nearly 4 hours. What are they training them to be – Einstein?

Another daunting part was the syllabus. Yes, there is a syllabus for a playgroup. I guess the word playgroup is not taken literally in these schools. I could not come to terms with this ideology understand how many of you moms will be worried that the world is a competitive place and every parent wants their child to succeed. I say succeed yes, but not at the cost of your child maturing too early. At age group of 18 months to 2.5 years, all they need is simple life lessons and through that maybe some learnings.

I have decided to not put my toddler in a playgroup for a year and focus on the following activities as a replacement:

  • Evening at the playground – Mandatory that I take her to the playground and let her speak or interact with kids, any age group, around. This will ensure she is comfortable around kids her age. Also, I am trying to arrange playdates.
  • Sensory activities – Lots of sensory activities. Making her learn the concepts of hard, soft, hot, cold and all other sensory stimuli that she needs to experience.
  • Cognitive development – Bring on the pegboards and 4-8 piece puzzles. Pegboards are a hit with my daughter. I might also add some matching games to it.
  • Speech development – She is a bit behind the average toddler in terms of speech, lots of gibberish, but little less of actual words. So, lots of singing and dancing to encourage speech.
  • Sensitivity training – This is of utmost importance. Who doesn’t love a well-behaved child? I want her to realize the importance of being polite and respectful. Heavy words, but can be instilled early on.
  • Pretend play – Fake forts, ice-cream stalls, play kitchen, dress up, and many more. Using household things as magnificent articles are something that can be left to the imagination.

These are just a few things that I want to try over the year with her. I know that many preschools ask if your child went to a playgroup, but a confident and secure child is much more important than this shortlisting to me. I have made a choice, which might change, but as of now, I am going with it.


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