If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a hundred times. Dad’s don’t feel welcome at a Baby and toddler group.
To start with, I felt very uncomfortable. As a naturally introverted guy, I’ve always struggled to strike up conversation with strangers. I can manage a hello and ask a name, but beyond that I freeze up, the conversation stops, and it all becomes a bit awkward.
However, once I get to know people, I then come out of my shell and I’m a completely different person. In fact, so different, that one person at our weekly Baby and toddler group, knew my sister in law and mentioned to her about how chatty I was. My sister in law actually thought she was talking about somebody else!
I’ll happily admit that I was quite worried about going to a baby and toddler group when we discussed me becoming a stay at home parent. This was, by far, my biggest worry. How would I cope with being thrown into a situation where I might have to start and build conversation. On the other hand, I’ve always found it easier to interact with women, and tend to have more female friends, than male.
Baby and toddler group experience
After a few weeks of going to our local baby group on my own, it became easier because everyone realised I was going to be there each and every week and was there for my child. Being asked questions as to how I was finding parenting was nice. There even came a time when I was able to offer advice! The most important thing that I learnt from this group, was that it’s a baby and toddler group, not a mother and baby group. It also helps Chase develop new skills such as interaction, sharing and kindness.
This is how I see a lot of what I do with him. It’s no longer about me, but all about teaching Chase self confidence and how to approach situations.
Within a few months, I’d become friends with a few of the mums and at the end of a session one week, they invited me to come along to the centre’s sensory room with them one afternoon. In all honesty, this caught me off guard a bit. I’d never expected it and it genuinely made my day. Having people acknowledge your existence is one thing. Having them want to spend time with you, even as the odd one out is quite another.
Where do we go from here?
So Dad’s, whether you’re a stay at home, or working full time, please make time to go to these groups. Use it as quality time to interact with your child.
Ultimately, we’re all parents, we all have the same basic situations. It’s also a great opportunity to speak to people about how your coping as a parent. It allows you to make new friends.
We need more dads to attend these Baby and toddler groups, they’re informative, fun and important for our children.
Let me know below what you think of Dad’s at Baby and toddler groups.
Thanks for reading