Why I Love Cooperative Play Groups


Everyone has heard “It takes a village” – its one of those phrases that rightfully should continue to be repeated over and over because it rings true. But how do you find your village? How do you find the support you need? Cooperative play groups are one place parents can find their village.

What is a cooperative play group?

Cooperative play groups vary, but generally, they are simply parents sharing in watching children (typically toddlers) as they play. My son attends his cooperative play group two mornings a week, and twice a month I watch the group with other parents. We meet in the nursery of a local church, and the cost to all families involved in minimal. 

Sounds amazing, right? It is, and it’s exceeded my expectations.

Here are my top reasons I love our cooperative play group:

1. Children need regular opportunities to socialize with the same children, in a familiar environment. 

Prior to our cooperative play school, I made a lot of effort to get out into our community daily for him to socialize with other kids. Storytimes, museums, our community center toddler class, you name it. But what I found is that people didn’t always attend regularly, and so he wasn’t all that comfortable. He needed time seeing the same kids more frequently. 

At our cooperative play group, he now sees the same kids twice each week, and the nursery is familiar to him. Since starting play school, his confidence and independence has soared. Many of the play school parents have told me they’ve seen a shift in him as well. 

2. Parents need time to socialize with other parents

As a SAHM I’ve found it can be difficult to meet other stay at home parents. Many of the community events I attended were full of nannies and Au Pairs. I’ve made friends there, but I’ve need community with parents as well. 

At our cooperative play group I’ve met so many other great parents – it is wonderful having the morning off when I’m not at the play group, but I also love being there and spending time with the other parents. When you are parenting alongside others, it feels like less of a burden. 

3. Parents need a break!

Has anything ever been more true? We all need a break, and our cooperative play group has offered me a little bit of time to myself each week to go to the gym or grocery store, or just to breathe. The healthier we are, the better parents we will be. By giving me these small breaks, our playgroup has helped me be a better parent.

I had high expectations for our cooperative play group – and it has been better than I could ever imagine. If you are looking for your village, a cooperative play group can help. 



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Kristin grew up mostly in the midwest but has lived all over (California, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado, Virginia, and DC). She currently stays at home with her three-year-old son and 4-month-old daughter, but previously worked as a youth social worker and in different corporate positions. She loves to be outside as much as possible and prefers walking everywhere (especially with DC traffic!). She is a sucker for donuts and cannot live without coffee. Her hope in sharing her writing is that other moms will feel less alone in their motherhood journey.