Daddy & Baby Groups

I’ve recently been sent details of some new Dads’ Groups at Children’s Centre’s in Southend. These are once a month on a Saturday morning, one at Blenheim Children’s Centre, and one at Summercourt Children’s Centre, and it sounds like there are more to come at other venues too. It struck me as a really good idea – Parent and Toddler Groups tend to be the domain of Mums, and I’ve known of Dads who really wanted to go to them but felt that the Mums were too cliquey and unwelcoming, which seems a shame, especially if Dad is the one with the main (or even sole responsibility for childcare). It’s nice to have something that is aimed at getting Dads involved in these sort of activities, although I can’t help but feel it would be even nicer if standard Parent and Toddler groups were more inclusive.

It got me thinking about whether my own husband would like to go to something like this. Saturday mornings are my designated lie-in time, while he gets up with the kids. Generally they lark about downstairs while I snooze until midday and they seem to all thoroughly enjoy it. Whereas I take the kids to various parent and toddler groups and classes in the week, partly for the change of scenery, partly for the company for them and me, I wonder if he has the same needs. He doesn’t get to spend all week with them like I do, so the Saturday mornings are a bit of a novelty to him in a way. I think it would be a nice idea for him to meet other dads, but really I don’t know if he wants to… though he might find the idea of the cooked breakfast buffet at Summercourt a reason to go!

Regardless of whether it’s something that appeals to all Dads or not, there’s no denying that offering such a service is a great idea. It’s time that we stopped thinking of things as just for Mums and included Dads too… Hmm, does this mean I need to change the name of Essex Mums?

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One comment

  1. I’m pleased and encouraged that you’ve taken the time and trouble to compile this blog. I’ve recently joined Southend Borough Council and part of my remit is to develop, enhance and support provision for dads and kids across the town. Children’s centre staff and myself continue to explore how the existing resources can be improved upon, and attempts to consult with dads in different parts of the town are one of the ways we can try to gauge what dads want, rather than give them what we think they need. Ultimately, dads themselves, whether resident or non-resident, primary, shared or secondary carers, natural, step- or adoptive, will determine what provision is successful by accessing and supporting it. However, mums/partners can play a significant role in encouraging dads to access existing groups, make their voices heard about the kind of alternative provision they would like to see, or possibly even starting their own activities with a group of like-minded parents. I’d be keen to hear the thoughts of members of this site, in response to this blog.

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