Playgroups In Saudi Arabia


In the United States it is very typical for their to be many
activities and programs for young children, babies and moms.  For
example, when a couple are pregnant, they can start out with taking
classes at a local hospital which prepares the young couple for
delivery.  These classes are group classes with other couples who are
also pregnant.  So even before the baby is born, many friendships are
formed among the couples.  After the birth, many of the couples will
continue to meet up with their new babies in attendance.  A “Mom’s and
Baby” group may also be formed where the mother will meet up with
other mom’s who have recently given birth too.  The new babies are
usually taken to these group meetings too.

Other groups one may find are simply playgroups or day care centers
where mothers can take their children to interact with other children
in the same age group.  In a lot of cases, these groups allow a mother
to have a break where she’ll drop her child off and collect the child
at a later time.  As I said when starting this post, these various
kind of groups are common and plentiful in the United States.

However in Saudi Arabia there are limited options for babies, young
children and mothers that I am aware of.  I attribute the lack of such
groups due to the differing cultures and traditions.  In Saudi Arabia
it is very common for many families (both Saudis and expatriots) to
have a housemaid cum nanny who will assist the mother in the care of
the child.  Saudi families are also more private or closed and rather
than take their child to a group with unknown individuals is more
likely to interact within their own large extended family.  The
majority of working Saudi mothers whom I know usually again have the
housemaid cum nanny or a related family member take care of their
child while they work.

Some of the international schools will occasionally have special
programs for younger children but they are not necessarily regular
ongoing programs.  Western compounds may also have special activities
for pre-school children.  I do know that the Al Joud Institute for
Women in Riyadh has had programs for children at times but not
programs for infants.  I cannot say whether any of the programs at the
Institute have continued.

I welcome hearing from mothers who are in Saudi and can share their
experiences.  I do not have young children myself which has limited me
to an extent on being able to refer or speak with experience on
playgroup options in Saudi Arabia.  However I chose to write this post
due to multiple queries I receive via email on whether any playgroups
exist in various cities in the Kingdom.  For an enterprising
individual, it does sound like there could be a potential business
opportunity to establish a facility with programs for young children
and their mothers.


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