Dolphin House & Park Community Website

Stay & Play Group

Our Stay and Play groups provide both babies and children a safe space to interact and play with their parents and other children. For parents the Stay and Play group provides not only an opportunity to have access to support around parenting, their parent-child relationship and child development but is also to meet with and talk to other parents.
Stay and Play provides a space where parents can discuss common parenting and child development issues in a safe and non-threatening environment in a very natural way.


Benefits of Stay and Play

There are benefits for both parents/carers and children in attending stay and play groups:

• As any new parent will confirm, becoming a parent can be a daunting experience, nothing can quite prepare you for it, and just having somewhere to go to talk to other parents or even just other adults can be of great help.

• They are a place where children can learn to interact with other children and develop social skills.

“I would say what was most useful was just basically stimulation for [child], because I felt, I suppose, at home, I kind of felt that maybe I wasn’t stimulating her enough at home, so I just thought getting her in a new setting, in a new environment, and just getting her used to people, … it was good for her just to learn to kind of adapt to a new environment and new people”
Quote from Stay and Play Parent Hub Review – Cathy Kelleher 2014


• Helps child with transition from home to crèche or day care setting

“[child] just became very sociable as a result … I think, this group has helped her adapt, because I think she would have got a huge shock to her system if she went from just home to the crèche because it would have been just too much of a jump“
Quote from Stay and Play Parent Hub Review – Cathy Kelleher 2014

• They can offer a source of support to families who may be experiencing difficulty. Could be the first point of early intervention in a child’s life.

• They can help parents who are having a tough time or just dealing with the ongoing demands of children or family life.

• Offers an informal setting where parents can build friendships while also accessing advice and information from professionals and each other in an easy going and comfortable setting.

“I suppose it was things like the weaning, first of all … I was breast feeding, and then there was the weaning, getting her on the solids, and I wasn’t really sure, you know, what I should be doing, or, you know, what kinds of foods I should be giving her, or what I should be ... like, how much I should be giving or how I should be preparing them. So, I actually got loads of advice on that. And as well in relation to sleeping patterns and that type of thing.”
- Quote from Stay and Play Parent Hub Review – Cathy Kelleher 2014

• Provides a welcoming and safe environment where children can play.

• Allows for children to play in a group that is targeted for the needs and development of their age group.

• Promotes confidence in parents, which in turn promotes a stronger parent-child relationship.

“Definitely, I would have stayed at home, and I would have been doing housework, and I probably would have got really fed up of just constantly doing the same mundane thing. I don’t think I would have felt as happy in myself, and I probably wouldn’t have been as motivated to try and get up as early and get organised. You know the way ... It kind of gave me a purpose to get up, get dressed, you know, kind of make and effort for the day.”
Quote from Stay and Play Parent Hub Review – Cathy Kelleher 2014

• They provide a welcoming place for all parents to make connections and feel supported.

It’s a nice little break as well, getting to chat to other parents, you know, and it’s a relaxed atmosphere as well … You’re listening but you’re still getting a bit of a break for yourself, do you know what I mean?
Quote from Stay and Play Parent Hub Review – Cathy Kelleher 2014

• Hearing from other parents who are going through or who have gone through similar issues to them or who can offer advice and understanding.

Like, you’re listening to everybody else, and you’re constantly learning about new things. You know, new ways of dealing with things and listening to other people’s stories, and something that I have done that maybe could help someone else
Quote from Stay and Play Parent Hub Review – Cathy Kelleher 2014

I thought I would be kind of left out, because I was so young having a baby, I’m 21 so I thought I’d be a bit … everyone would kind of judge me, but no I didn’t get any of that. That’s what I worried about before I came down. I was going to come down with her [baby] when she was one and a half months, but I was kind of a bit worried for a few weeks, and I came and it was brilliant … As soon as I walked in it was grand
Quote from Stay and Play Parent Hub Review – Cathy Kelleher.