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Stop Avoiding Your Social Life Just Because You Have Kids

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Spending Time with Your Friends…and all Your Kids

Sometimes as parents, it can seem like the only people we spend time with are our kids.

While it’s important to spend quality time with our children (and hey, we love them to the moon and back and all), it’s also important to invest in ourselves. And one way to nurture our own sanity is to spend time with our friends.

But here’s where the trickyness begins of course. The kids of your friends are going to be happy to join your crew for a day of double-the-chaos (I mean, fun?), but while they’re pushing (I mean, playing “freeze tag”), is it possible for you and their mom to have even a two minute conversation without being interrupted?

Maybe. Maybe not (hey, we’re being honest here). But even if it’s challenging, it’s worth it to preserve some sense of a social life even when your calendar is overrun with soccer practice and birthday parties. After all, science tells us again and again that having friends is good for us (repeat that to yourself as you’re changing an exploding diaper while trying to talk to your friend).

So instead of telling you it’s going to be easy or perfect (you didn’t fall off the pacifier truck yesterday), here are 6 ideas for a successful parent and kids play date.

Go to the park

Pack a picnic, pick a sunny spot to lay a blanket, and have some grown up conversation while you watch the kids play on the playground. Bring sand toys, cars, bats and balls, and anything else you think might magically preoccupy them for more than five minutes at a time.

Head to the beach (or the snow!)

The beach or a snowy yard are both great places to spend quality time with your kids and friends. You can dive in and be a kid for a day as you work together to build a sand castle or jump on a sled and woosh down a hill. Or, if you’re craving a less active day, you can work on your tan while your kids hunt for shells and chase seagulls. Or sip on your Starbucks while the kids build a snow fort or make snow creatures (don’t forget to bring along something to use for a snow man’s eyes, nose, and mouth!).

Go to the movies

Kids movies can be a lot of fun for grown ups, and daytime is a good time to go because the theaters are less crowded and the tickets are cheaper. Some theaters even do dollar shows or free shows for kids on Saturday morning! Pick a matinee movie that looks entertaining for both the kids and the moms, stash some snacks in your purse, and find a row in the back of the theater where your kids won’t bother other people if they get a little stir crazy.

Start a book club

While traditional book clubs may not be that exciting for the kids, with a little tweaking of the subject matter, they can be fun for everyone.

Approach #1: You could pick 2 books, one for the grown ups and one for the kids which have similar themes. The grown ups would read theirs independently before the meeting, then at the meeting, you could have a read-aloud story time for the kids. Then when the kids have a snack (because there’s always snacks at book club, right?) and tackle some coloring books or playdoh, the grown ups could discuss their book.

Approach #2: Another way to do a book club would be to pick a kids’ chapter book that has been made into a movie. While your kids may be too young to read chapter books on their own, reading one to them can be a great way to share new stories with them. When it comes time for the meeting, the kids can watch the movie together and the moms can either discuss the book or just share some snacks and conversation.

Do some crafts

Most kids love to do crafts and crafting together can be a great way for a group of moms and kids to interact. And the oldies, but goodies still fascinate to this day, so don’t make it too Pinterest-overachiever-hard on yourself. Whip out some old socks or paper bags and craft some hand puppets or put some cotton balls to paper to make sheep.

Try out some new recipes

Getting into the kitchen with your kids is a great way to teach them life skills, and asking some friends to join you makes it all the more fun. Sharing family favorite recipes will expose your kids to new foods and working on the recipes together will help them learn to cooperate. Want something easy? Try a sundae bar where everyone brings a topping. Want something that won’t inject them with sugar as they hang out together? Yeah, don’t try the sundae bar. Rotate who plays hostess and provides the ingredients so the other moms don’t have to prep on their off weeks.



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