"Do you feel anxious when going to a new playgroup?"
Out of 200%, 100% said "yes- strongly agree"
50% said "yes-agree"
And another 50% said "yes- sometimes"
So why do parents feel anxious when attending a new playgroup? Isn't it meant to be a time out, where your child gets to play and explore? A chance for you to get active and have fun too?
For me personally I always worry about sitting on my own and being shunned and ignores by other parents who are already in their little groups. I also worry about the other childrens behaviour and wether it will have an effect on my child.
I asked for your own personal experiences and thoughts on why you felt anxious. This is what you said;
"I used to get nervous too, and still do for the same reason of sitting there alone."
"I was bullied through primary and secondary school, so maybe that has something to do with it? I'am an anxious person anyway, and used to hate going anywhere alone."
"Yes! It's one of the reasons why I struggle to go! It's funny because I don't consider myself as shy when I'm on my own. But when with my son I feel vulnerable somehow. One time at playgroup I was so surprised to be invited over by some now good friends, up till that point I had gone a few times and it was the same scenario of sitting on my own, with my son. My son has visual impairments and wears glasses, so I feel even more vulnerable on those occasions.
With regards to other childrens behaviour, there was a marked difference between their abilities and that of my son. On one occasion a little girl came over to play, I think she was curious. Her mother dragged her away and allowed her to play with other children. She may not have meant any malice, but that took me weeks to get over."
So what you recommend that playground and centers could do to help avoid these situations, where the parents feel alone and vulnerable, to help them feel more relaxed, welcomed and comfortable instead?
I personally think the runners of the group or center should introduce you to the regular parents and children that attend, and invite you to sit with someone, whilst also sitting and chatting with you too to help break the ice.
Also could we as parents be more welcoming and kinder? Instead of staying in your normal groups why not invite a new person over too?
Let that be the next thing you do at your playgroup, and imagine yourself in those persons shoes.
What are your thoughts?