Baby and toddler group as a Dad

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

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

9 Comments

  1. This is a great post and a great message to dads thankyou for sharing

  2. My friends will have our husbands come with us if they’re off work the day of the group, but certain groups are more welcoming than others, unfortunately. We found our local children’s centre seems completely unable to comprehend how to deal with dads! One staff member made a big deal of how wonderful it is for the dads to go and how they’d love to see more dads, then another a few weeks later literally leaned over my husband, ignoring him completely, to ask me to fill in a form which he was just as capable of doing! It was terribly rude and just highlighted how some people, unfortunately, still don’t see dads as capable parents. Good for you for getting out there despite your discomfort! xx #kcacols

    • Thanks Claire. I do think I’ve been quite lucky with our local centre. Hopefully in time, with more men becoming more involved and being able to share parental leave, this will change, but it will take time and require support

  3. Great post. Even as a mother I find baby and toddler groups hard. I find it really hard to strike up conversation with relative strangers and I imagine being the only dad in the room must make this even harder. At one group I went to a few times the only person who actually spoke to me was a dad and I was extremely grateful for his kindness.
    #KCACOLS

  4. So lovely to hear that your local Baby and Toddler group are so welcoming and that you’ve made friends. You’re absolutely right in that you are there for your child to learn how to interact with other children and ultimately that is what matters.

    Thank you for linking up to #KCACOLS and I hope to see you back again on Sunday x

  5. Wonderful to hear this and well done. I know it was really hard to go along to these groups for the first time as a mother so I can imagine how it must be for you. Coincidentally, we were helping out at school today and one of the older male teaching assistants was the primary carer for his children and I remarked on how he must have been a trail blazer as his children are at Uni now. He mentioned that his joining up was questioned on a couple of occasions. Keep up the good work! #KCACOLS

  6. The child is indeed what it’s all about. I did have some awkward moments at play groups but I stuck with it as it was for my daughter. I have to say I’m glad we’ve moved on to preschool now but there are dozens of people I can chat to around town now due to the time we spent at play groups (and I’m very much an introvert too). Over time being there opens up your community. It’s harder for us dads but worth sticking with it.

  7. I felt exactly like you. I’m also an introvert and people who know me don’t believe that because once I get to know them I’m not. Lol
    I’ve had a similar experience and found soon the walls came down.
    Keep up the good work sir.
    L

    • Thanks! A friend of my sister in law’s actually mentioned that I was really outgoing at the local baby group once. My sister in law was really surprised. It definitely helps build confidence.

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