Mother’s groups, play groups, Kindergarten events; it seems that historically there’s been a well- worn path for the social lives of parents. From the first contraction to the first day of primary school we squeeze in play dates and coffee between nap times and work. Most children appear to enjoy the social aspects of such groups and the benefits to child develop can be immense. For example, social interaction for most toddlers fosters:
Language development through playing alongside or cooperatively with their peers
Emotional development as the child begins to develop skills such as sharing and turn-taking
Social development when the child discovers the consequences of resisting said sharing and turn taking!
For many parents, the idea of enjoying a cup of tea and venting about sleepless nights while their children work out how best to steal another’s toy can be the highlight of the week. But for others?
Not so much. So, what can you do if your child loves being social but the thought of one more conversation about the best baby shampoo makes you want to tear your hair out?
That’s where Sounds Like this for Kids comes in! We offer the opportunity to attend a group class without the expectation of chatting with the other adults. Parents or carers can focus solely on their own child and use the time to be present in the experience. Having the music and movement of the session to concentrate on removes any awkward silences that participants may otherwise feel.
By the same token, enjoying a music session with a group of like minded individuals usually does result in connections being formed and organic interactions taking place. Having a mutual interest aside from having children (i.e. an enjoyment of music) means that participants already have some common ground on which to build friendship and connection.
We find taking the pressure off parents to be social actually creates an environment where:
Mums stay after the class so their children can have a play together in the park on the grounds of the building
The class members pop across the road for a coffee and cake following the session
Dads exchange phone numbers for a catch up between classes (both with kids and without!)
We’ve already covered the benefits of socialisation for children. Let’s look at the benefits for adults.
1. Physical wellbeing
A study published in 2010 showed that social connectedness helps us survive health problems. Who doesn’t feel a little better when a friend drops around some chicken soup when we’re under the weather? Research shows that this may have more to do with the feelings of being cared for than the soup itself.
2. Mental wellbeing
Talking through a problem or the oxytocin released when someone smiles at you- whether big or small, social interaction can increase your mental wellness. Watching another parent’s child being challenged by the idea of leaving the classroom at the end of the session can help parents feel less.