Braving A Toddler Group

Some people love them, others hate them, but there’s no denying that baby and toddler groups can be a great way to make new friends. Be it an informal group for a cup of tea and a play, baby massage or a sensory class there is something to suit just about anyone.

I have a confession though – I didn’t brave my first baby group until Piglet was over 10 months old. We went to our swimming lesson once a week, and to Mummy FITT. But neither of those required me to actually speak to anyone else. I could slip in and out pretty much unnoticed, and I was quite happy with that.

Until now.

Braving A Toddler Group | It can be rally daunting walking into a group of mums on your own with your child. I have written about my experiences going to a toddler group for the first time with my baby

If you have met me you may find it hard to believe that I’m actually incredibly shy. I try to cover it as best I can, but I find I often come across as rude when I don’t mean to. I struggle to look at people when I’m talking to them if I am uncomfortable, and it is an issue I have been working on for years.

I thought having Piglet there would help, as there is a distraction to take focus if needed. However he simply acts as that, a distraction, and an excellent excuse to not engage in any conversation!

I don’t have many friends with children, so it can often be hard to get my friends to relate to situations I am in. The only real solution to that is to put myself out there more and meet some new people. Or persuade my friends to have babies. Unfortunately for me, I only have control over one of those options!

When Piglet was born I put our name down for a mother and baby group at the church next to our house. The hall is small and there are a lot of mothers so there is a waiting list. It was the perfect excuse to not go really! After 10 months though, it really was getting ridiculous and so I decided I had to act. Operation meet new mums was a go!

At the start of January I asked my sister about the mother and baby group she used to go to, as I knew it was only a 5 minute drive from my house. Not only did she tell me about it, she decided to come along to it with me. I am glad she did as it meant I couldn’t talk myself out of it!

So we went. And we survived. I talked to mums, I tried to look at them, to ask questions, to not give closed answers. I tried not to come across as too rude….. I almost succeeded. Maybe.

I do wish I’d done it earlier, but I don’t think I was quite ready to admit I needed other mums to talk to. Now Piglet is starting to get on the move I’m sure he is going to benefit from being around other children regularly too.

A few days after that first session we discovered Piglet had caught hand foot and mouth. That meant a week away while he recovered, and me too since he passed it on. Sharing is caring and all that!

So a fortnight later I plucked up the courage to return. Just my luck – there were no familiar faces. The few women I had spoken to the last time weren’t there, so I was back to square one with making friends for the session. I managed though. At the end of the day, everyone has to be new at some point and everyone is very friendly and welcoming.

We are still very new, and I have a long way to go when it comes to making “proper” friends. But I think toddler groups will be a new part of our routine. Who knows – I might even start to enjoy them!

This post first appeared on Meet Other Mums

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  1. 17th February 2017 / 2:31 pm

    I hate baby groups. I always feel like an outsider since I am not from Liverpool and it got worse when Dex started crawling and wandering off to join the other mums leaving me sat there like a lemon!

    • OddHogg
      17th February 2017 / 10:01 pm

      I think people either love them or hate them – there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground!

  2. 17th February 2017 / 11:43 pm

    Ah they are so hard and I know how you feel going to these groups alone, and trying to chat to other Mums. I would say stick with it, you can always run away if it gets to much, the more you go, the more familiar faces you will recognise. I sure that before you know it you will have a coffee and cake buddy, and really enjoy the toddler groups. Thanks for guest co-hosting with us this week at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

    • 18th February 2017 / 8:45 am

      It can be really hard but definately worth it – I’ve just written a similar post about the benefits of going to mum and baby groups – it definately helped me to get out there and meet other mums with kids the same age, as like you when I had my eldest I didn’t have many friends with kids. I’m shy too but I found I’ve developed a new confidence since becoming a mum (or I’ve just got better at faking it!) #fortheloveofblog

      • OddHogg
        19th February 2017 / 6:51 pm

        I’m definitely better at faking it!

  3. 18th February 2017 / 9:15 am

    I absolutely hate the awkwardness of mum and baby groups, I’m totally anti-social in so many ways, BUT I have met some of the people at groups!! I think you really have to put yourself out there and work through the pain of the awkwardness!! Glad you’re meeting new mums! #fortheloveofBLOG

    • OddHogg
      19th February 2017 / 6:53 pm

      I do think it’s worth it – you just have to get over that first hurdle

  4. 18th February 2017 / 9:24 am

    I started going to baby classes just after my son turned 6 months, I didn’t bother before then because I was too nervous to go alone and I didn’t think he would get much out of it! I chose to go to a class because it was a smaller group and the other babies were the same age. I’m yet to go to a toddler group! #fortheloveofBLOG

    • OddHogg
      19th February 2017 / 6:55 pm

      Up until now I’ve been doing classes, as I definitely preferred the structure of them

  5. 18th February 2017 / 9:45 am

    I hated baby groups. I found them so intimidating. Part of me regrets not sticking at it but now Little Man is at preschool and I’m back at work part time, I think it worked out okay in the end and we didn’t suffer as a result of me not going. #forthrloveofBLOG

  6. 18th February 2017 / 10:01 am

    I was like you with my second. Didn’t rush to go to lots of baby groups like I did with my first. It’s also a money thing! So instead me and my friends went on buggy walks during the Summer and just popped to each other’s homes. It’s important to be social and get out there a little when you’re a mama but I also liked chilling at home with my new baba! #fortheLoveofBLOG

    • OddHogg
      19th February 2017 / 6:55 pm

      Yes they all add up with cost!

  7. 18th February 2017 / 10:04 am

    Oh I feel for you! It can feel so awkward, but having children in common means that you’ve always got something to talk about and someone that’s been through what you’ve been through. I couldn’t survive motherhood without getting out and about to groups!! #fortheloveofBLOG

    • OddHogg
      19th February 2017 / 7:54 pm

      It’s still a struggle to get out sometimes but we’ve been going over a month now 🙂

  8. 18th February 2017 / 10:34 am

    I know I’m very lucky because the groups Ive been to here in Edinburgh have been very welcoming. There’s plenty that you can just get talked ‘at’ instead of having to think of things to say! When I was down at my Mum’s in Sussex’s for two weeks, I went to similar groups – rhyme time, and a play group at the local church. It was so isolating as no one really tried to include us. It was the polar opposite to Edinburgh where new people are greeted with such warmth. A friend in the Sussex town who moved there has been there for two years – her only local friend is someone that I introduced her to!

    • OddHogg
      19th February 2017 / 7:55 pm

      It’s so good that the Edinburgh groups are good – but what a shame about in Sussex! The mum’s at mine are all lovely thankfully

  9. 18th February 2017 / 10:44 am

    I don’t really like baby groups. I did a ballet class with my youngest which was good because we weren’t really meant to sit and chat, we had to help our little ones with the movements. We did still chat a little but it stopped cliques forming (not that that was the point). I’m about to sign up my youngest to it again now I have the time because I think it will be good for her and me.

    • OddHogg
      19th February 2017 / 7:56 pm

      That’s how I feel about the swimming class we do – we’re there for a reason!

  10. 18th February 2017 / 11:14 am

    Well done for going! I don’t necessarily always enjoy baby groups that much, but they’re good at getting you out of the house and meeting other people in a similar situation. As well as that, it’s good for the kids to interact with other children of a similar age 🙂 #fortheloveofBLOG

  11. 18th February 2017 / 11:32 am

    I, like you, struggle with shyness and social anxiety and I know it comes across as rude or stuck up! (with further exacerbates the anxiety aaargh) I hope your toddler group visits eventually become a fun thing to look forward to! #fortheloveofBLOG

    • OddHogg
      19th February 2017 / 7:59 pm

      Yes! I think when I became I was seeming rude it made me more paranoid it which just makes it worse!

  12. 18th February 2017 / 12:56 pm

    I have to get out there much more than I would like since the twins are in dire need or socialization.


    I hear ya.


    • OddHogg
      19th February 2017 / 8:00 pm

      At least with your lot you can just claim they’re socialising with each other 😉

  13. 18th February 2017 / 2:37 pm

    Baby groups can be pretty scary! Glad you got through your first session and hope you enjoy the future ones! The waiting list at our local church was also really long, so I decided to take my baby to church instead! There was a separate room for parents with young babies filled with toys, so they could play whilst we watched the service on tv screens. It worked out pretty well and when she was a bit older, we went to the actual service now and then. Totally forgot about this memory until reading your post!!


    • OddHogg
      19th February 2017 / 8:01 pm

      That sounds a good way to meet some people!

  14. 18th February 2017 / 3:44 pm

    It’s hard work going to these things. I was fortunate to go along to Baby Sensory and Sing and Sign with some of my NCT friends. That forced me to do swimming on my own. I still struggle, after 2 years, with making small talk at toddler groups and soft play. At work I’m fine but you have a topic in common whereas at toddler groups all you have is kids. As they get older and more mobile, you can’t chat to people anyway though because you’re chasing a fearless small person around.

    Just keep going along and doing your best. Some days you won’t be feeling it so if you sit quietly then so be it – you’re there to give Piglet some stimulation. Plus you don’t need to come away with new best friends. Sometimes it’s nice to just have a bit of a chit-chat!

    Good luck! #fortheloveofBLOG

  15. 18th February 2017 / 4:17 pm

    I hate baby groups and much prefer meeting up with friends who have kids as it gets the awkwardness out of the way! that saying all my mum friends are working mums too so by the weekend we’re all busy with our family!!! #fortheloveofBLOG

  16. 18th February 2017 / 4:44 pm

    I feel your pain. I’m the same way when it comes to making friends. Peachy is 14 months old and we haven’t joined a single group. It’s something I’ve been looking into lately. Not so much for my benefit, but for Peachy’s. I think she could use more interactions with other babies. She seems to be very interested in them. #fortheloveofBLOG

  17. 18th February 2017 / 4:49 pm

    I hated baby groups with my son. I was 19 and much younger than the other mums there. We had also just moved so I had no local friends. Was completely different when I had Booey. I had a few mum friends from my son’s school that went too so I didn’t feel so alone.

  18. 18th February 2017 / 5:18 pm

    I admit, I didn’t go to toddler/baby groups. The trouble was, everyone seemed to know each other already which left me as billy-no-mates. But i did take them to classes. We did baby music, and baby gymnastics. They were great and not so clicky.
    Well done for being so brave

  19. 18th February 2017 / 7:41 pm

    I never went to baby groups with Lewis and yet with the youngest three I forced myself to go. For me, they were something that I needed at that time in my life but as the children got older, I out grew them, and the people I had met there. I still go to one playgroup with a group of my friends, but the others I no longer bother with and I don’t miss them at all! #fortheloveofBLOG

  20. 18th February 2017 / 8:14 pm

    I totally know what you mean, I’m lucky to have a number of friends also on maternity leave so haven’t felt the need to make new friends at baby groups but I really should make more effort to speak to people at the ones I do go to! My nerves are always a little too frayed over hoping my baby isn’t the one that kicks off to make a conversation! #fortheloveofblog

  21. 18th February 2017 / 8:42 pm

    I can really relate to this – I’m shy too and I find it really hard to enter a room full of strangers and just start talking to people. I forced myself to do it when I was on maternity leave, though – the alternative being staying inside with a baby all day and talking to no one! I never made good friends, but at least I got to have a chat with another grown-up. #fortheloveofBLOG

  22. 18th February 2017 / 9:21 pm

    Well done for getting stuck in! It can be very daunting and a lot of mum and toddler groups can be very cliquey! With my first we did NCT which meant I had a ready made band of mums to go to groups with when he was born. With my second it was even better as one of my best friends was pregnant at the same time so we just went to groups together. I don’t think I would’ve gone to much if I’d had to go on my own! #fortheloveofblog

  23. 18th February 2017 / 9:27 pm

    I am totally with you on this I hate baby groups unless I go with a friend. But I have been known to go to a soft play area by myself with Ava just to get out of the house !

  24. 18th February 2017 / 9:41 pm

    I felt the same when I had my sone 3 years ago…now I run the local baby group! Its hard but so worth percevering if there is at least one mum you can connect with x

  25. 18th February 2017 / 9:41 pm

    My first one was great – we were all very honest so we just decided the books were what you aimed for but not what really happened, so no one felt bad about anything (as long as your kid wasn’t the only one not doing whatever they were meant to be doing…sleeping, rolling, crawling, getting teeth or so on). My next only the other second time mum and I told the truth so I really don’t know what the others got out of it. All these sleeping thru the night from birth babies ended up at Tresillian (sleep school) at bout 10 months, which I found confusing as I thought only my kid wasn’t sleeping until that point (I kept being honest cos I didn’t care and I already had a big kid to deal with). Third time was just 3 of us because everyone else got PND and didn’t come but the three of us were a great group and still catch up 8 years on. So worth doing, just for your sanity but don’t feel bad if you don’t gel – use it for what it is. A sounding board and fun for your kid. #FortheloveofBLOG

    • OddHogg
      19th February 2017 / 8:03 pm

      I don’t see the point in not being honest either – what do you get out of it if you just pretend everything is perfect?!

  26. 18th February 2017 / 9:52 pm

    I’very just moved to a new area so I am braving the toddler groups at the moment #fortheloveofblog

    • OddHogg
      19th February 2017 / 8:03 pm

      Good luck! Hope you meet some nice people

  27. 18th February 2017 / 11:08 pm

    Yeah, i don’t mind the odd baby group. I’m so awkward though and i find making friends really hard!! #fortheloveofBLOG

  28. 19th February 2017 / 10:16 am

    I am always uncomfortable even though I know a few of the mums quite well, I’m pretty sure they don’t like me because I too struggle with engaging and can appear rude without meaning to but still Henry loves it. I’m sacrificing my sanity for my son, must love him eh! #fortheloveofblog

  29. 19th February 2017 / 5:14 pm

    Fellow Kimberly, who would have thought you were shy? You sound so confident! Just go at your own pace, you won’t like everyone, but you don’t need to.. even if you pick up a couple of Mummy ‘friends’ just to talk through baby stuff it can help to get stuff off your chest or compare notes. You may meet a new close pal, you may not, but it’s so important to get out and chat to others. Good for the soul! #fortheloveofBLOG

  30. 19th February 2017 / 7:14 pm

    I had mixed feelings about these groups when my kids were small. Some were okay but others were really awful. I think you have a perfect, positive attitude. #fortheloveofblog

  31. 19th February 2017 / 10:47 pm

    I feel you, I find it so difficult to put myself out there like that. I was lucky enough to find a few welcoming mums I clicked with pretty quick. But now sometimes I do feel that old fear still, if my regular friends aren’t there I find it so difficult to talk to anyone! xx #fortheloveofblog

  32. 19th February 2017 / 11:18 pm

    Great post because everyone feels the same! Personally I prefer something with an activity like baby sensory or swimming but I can see why people go. I hope you make some good friends from it #fortheloveofBLOG

    • OddHogg
      20th February 2017 / 6:55 pm

      We are doing both at the moment – it seems to be working

  33. 20th February 2017 / 7:31 am

    I can totally relate to this. We move a lot because of my husband’s job. WIth two small kids you’d think I’d be used to meeting new people now but I just hate it. I didn’t actually socialise at all for the first year when we moved this last time. Usually we’d have moved on already so I think I used that as an excuse not to put myself out there again. But we’ve now been here for almost two years and I’m only just starting to make friends. Shyness being a major factor in my procrastinating. lol

  34. 20th February 2017 / 2:36 pm

    I’ve been to a few baby groups, but they are pretty scary! I need to make more effort though, because I find they add routine to my week which makes me feel a bit more sane. #fortheloveofBLOG

    • OddHogg
      20th February 2017 / 6:55 pm

      Yes routine definitely helps!

  35. 20th February 2017 / 4:04 pm

    Oh… it can be awkward but try giving it a few more goes before you fully make your mind up. By then hopefully you will have seen a few more familiar faces. My youngest went to hardly any baby groups compare to his older brother. #fortheloveofBLOG

  36. 20th February 2017 / 7:49 pm

    Well done for braving it. It’s not always easy but everyone’s in the same boat. #fortheloveofBLOG

  37. 20th February 2017 / 11:31 pm

    Ooo yes do persevere – I didn’t really do playgroups with my first and now I do more playgroups with the twins and have found a couple that we really enjoy. Good luck. #fortheloveofBLOG

  38. 21st February 2017 / 11:31 am

    I loved the baby group scene when I had my first. I went to loads – I was a bit like Helena Bonham Carter in Fight Club – a proper little joiner! Haha. Didn’t go with the others because I didn’t have time but I made some great friends. Yes, there will always be people who you are a bit allergic too, usually competitive moms who’s baby’s slept through the night at 8 weeks but such is life, eh!

  39. 21st February 2017 / 2:59 pm

    I have to say I don’t enjoy these groups. One drop in group was full of childminders looking for a place to discharge their charges. The other was toddler music – eugh! So sod the music group we dance round the kitchen to Dizzee Rascal, MGMT, Cyndi Lauper… media has been the best way for me to make friends. #fortheloveofBLOG

  40. 23rd February 2017 / 7:37 am

    With my first I knew someone else going to the local toddler group and while I still found it really hard (like you I’m incredibly shy), she knew everyone and after a while I did make friends. A group of us still meet up whenever we can and two of the boys are are my son’s class at school and they’re best friends (they’re almost 8 now). With my second I didn’t know anyone. All my other mummy friends had either already had their second and they were now in school or were sticking at one, so I was on my own. I tried a few when she was around 6 months but hated it and she didn’t seem bothered about being there so I stopped going. I finally plucked up the courage again when she was about 18 months old and she loved it so have forced myself to go every week since. I haven’t really made any friends as the majority of people there are either childminders or grandparents and all seem to know each other but I have started to make conversation and feel a little less awkward. My daughter gets so excited when it’s toddler group day though so that makes it worth it.
    I hope you manage to find you tribe of mummy friends x

  41. 23rd February 2017 / 6:02 pm

    Ah well done for going. I went to a few with my baby and they were ok but I never really made friends with anyone. I did meet some women who I got friendly with but since I left work we’ve lost touch. I occassiobally see them at one group but it’s a bit awkward. Just small talk. I’m not a fan! But they’re good for my toddler so I keep going. Plus it’s an excuse to get out the house. We are hoping to love so I hope I find somewhere a bit friendlier! #FortheloveofBLOG

  42. 24th February 2017 / 12:34 am

    ITS daunting isn’t it? Not all groups are the same, either. Some are inclusive and friendly and others are cliquey and overwhelming.?persevere and you’re bound to find some kindred spirits. It gets easier!! #fortheloveofblog

  43. 25th February 2017 / 10:54 am

    It is a bit daunting, especially if you feel everyone already know each other, but I have recently enjoyed taking C to some new ones #fortheloveofBLOG

    Nadia x

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