Let's face it; finding friends after a move is a lot like dating. It is often awkward, nerve wracking and frankly, gives me flashbacks to my not so graceful and uncomfortable teenage years (braces, acne and insecurities). Instead of being surrounded by a group of giggling girls to help break the ice when meeting a new person, I have a smiley, friendly and loud toddler to assist! What better wingman to help?! So instead of nervously pondering, “Will he/she like me, will we have anything in common, will our parenting philosophies mesh, how can I say hello without coming off like a stalker?”, I boldly walk over
using my toddler as a shield with my sweet toddler and say hello to the other child and then parent! Perfect ice breaker!
Here is the thing to remember; many parents, like you, are also on the hunt for friends! Parenthood can be a lonely time. You are constrained by nap and eating schedules and venturing out on your own requires a babysitter. Parents are searching not only for themselves, but for their kids. Take the first step (which requires going in public- and in my case changing out of pajamas) and check out some of these activities that could potentially connect you with a new friend and confidant.
Here are 9 things to try with your wingman to help make friends:
Visit a local Park: Just like puppies help singles in a park connect; your toddler can be your key to attracting a new friend. Strike up a conversation with another parent, chat about the weather if you have to, just get the conversation started and get to know a little about them.
Try Kinder music: I know a few women who met a new friend taking their baby and toddler to a music class. You can search for a class in your area, and the first class is free!
Check out Mothers of Preschoolers aka MOPS
Church: Try out a few local churches and volunteer in their children's programs. It is a great way to help your toddler adjust to a new situation as well as scope out the other parents!
Attend Command Sponsored Family Activities: Sometimes the desire to attend command functions is lacking since your spouse spends so much time with them while at work, but it is a great opportunity to meet others who are on the same schedule as your family. For example, your spouses will be gone at the same time; this is a great person to make plans with while you are missing your spouse.
Check out your Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) department:
Find the branch of service that relates to your local installation below and search for on base events and activities:
Air Force MWR
Marine Corps MWR
Coast Guard MWR
Visit the Gym: Check out the child care at your local gym, or classes where parents can exercise alongside their kids (i.e. stroller boot camp).
Hello Mamas: This website was designed to, “take the stress out of finding local moms, making friends, staying social, and planning playdates. “
Look for local community activities: Your town’s Chamber of Commerce or city website or Facebook page will have a list of activities going on locally. They may also have a calendar of events for toddler friendly activities! Getting to know your new town and by finding opportunities to make friends? It’s a Win Win.
I found friend salvation in a local mom’s group. I was nervous to attend my first one, but quickly was enveloped in chaotic (there are toddlers involved) loving and friendly environment that I look forward to every Tuesday morning! Don’t be afraid to take the first step in meeting a new friend and always remember your toddler can be your best wing man!
Has your toddler helped you make friends? Share your experience in the comments!
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