Parks, Libraries, Cafes and Other Spaces Where Communities Convene

October 21, 2009

After becoming a parent, it is almost inevitable that you will have to make new friends. It is only natural that a parent wants fellowship and friendship while her child is learning to socialize and have fun.  The importance of living in a trustworthy community will not only be a lifesaver for you but for your child as well. For some people this just comes easy, while others struggle and marvel at how certain moms have as many friends as they do hand-sanitizing wipes in their diaper bag! While it seems the play dates are a popular place for parents (and kids) to find friends, they are not the only place. 

Most parents assure a spot in the hottest play group and feel they are "in" for good. As your child grows, they find new activities, new classes, and different schools. One could look at making new friends as more work -- almost like the dating process, back at the getting-to-know-you stage, or they could look at it as an opportunity to add to their community of friends. While at the park, instead of checking the Blackberry, cleaning out your purse or catching up on a daily check-up phone call with a family member, make yourself more available. Be aware of who your child is drawn to and having a blast with and start chatting it up with the parent.  

OK, play groups and parks aren't the only mom and kid friend-making hot spots. There are a plethora of indoor play places, kid-centered restaurants and even kid-friendly cafes. Oftentimes the local newspaper will have ideas of where these places are or just word of mouth. These types of places are popular to meet for play dates and make friends in our own community. Kids can usually be themselves; it will enable you to visit a bit more without having to make sure your child is behaving because they will be having fun they will forget to get into trouble! 

To look for more quiet or structured activities, try the library or local bookstore. These places offer story times and free kid events. This can become a standing play date with friends, always deciding to meet at 10:00 Story Time on Fridays at the local library and playing at the park across the street afterward. Take advantage of parent coffee get togethers or Greenback Night at your child's school as they get older is a smart idea, as well. It is an excellent way to get an insight into their new best friend's parents and home life. Bottom line? There is no such thing as too many friends in your community, especially when they have anything to do with your child's life!

From the Parents

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