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How to Make Parent Friends: Strategies to Meet Other Moms and Dads

How to Make Parent Friends: Strategies to Meet Other Moms and Dads

Strategies to make new parent friends—on the playground or online


Whether you’re in the early weeks of maternity leave or preparing your child for middle school, having mom friends who relate to what you’re going through can be a lifeline. Who better to understand the sleepless nights with a teething toddler—or screen time negotiations with a grade schooler—than someone experiencing the same thing?

With many adults now fully vaccinated, and schools set to open this fall, there are more opportunities to meet other parents and spend time nurturing meaningful friendships.

5 Ways to Make New Parent Friends

If you find your social skills a bit rusty after many months of social isolation, you’re not alone. Luckily, more places to meet other parents are now opening up, and many of them provide natural conversation starters. And there’s no need to abandon the virtual world entirely. Even if you’re ready to meet in real life, there are still lots of opportunities to make new mom friends online.

1. Download an app to find mom friends. 

Peanut follows the model of popular dating apps: You upload a photo and add some basic info, like your kids’ ages, then pick a few descriptors that fit you—examples include crafty, outdoorsy, military, and LGBTQ+. You then swipe up or down on profiles of local moms with shared interests.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Peanut (@peanut)

2. Join a neighborhood-specific parent email listserv or Facebook group. 

If the idea of putting out a call for friends in these places is too intimidating, you might find the baby bouncer you were looking for instead, as well as a friendly conversation with the mom who’s selling it. Are you a dad or is your partner looking for a group of other dads to socialize with? Check out City Dads Group to find a group near you!

3. Strike up a conversation with another parent at school pick-up or drop off.

If your child comes home singing the praises of a classmate, why not let their parent know when you see them at morning drop off? If everyone is a new face, you can always ask their child’s grade, class, or name to get the conversation started. Fundraisers and school events provide other natural on-ramps to more meaningful talk. If you’re off to grab a coffee after drop off, ask them to join, and if you’re off to the playground after pick-up, do the same.

4. Introduce yourself at the playground or park. 

No matter how old your child is, the more time you spend in your local park, the more familiar faces you’re likely to find. Introduce yourself to the mom you see pushing her stroller every day or sitting near the sandbox at the playground. Ask their children's names and ages, which street they live on, or which school their children attend, to get the ball rolling. 



5. Ask for a favor or a recommendation.

It may seem counterintuitive but asking for help can forge a friendship. Maybe you’re at the playground and you need a Band-Aid or a wipe, or you’re going to be late for pick up and need someone to watch your child for a few minutes. Perhaps you’re looking for someone to feed the cat over the weekend or need a new babysitter. The great majority of parents are eager to help. After all, they know what it’s like trying to juggle responsibilities. Afterward, let them know that you’re happy to return the favor, and invite them for a coffee, or glass of wine, as thanks.

3 Ideas to Socialize with Your New Parent Friends

Once you find a new pal or two, what’s the plan? Indoor playdates won’t be in full swing again until kids are vaccinated, but there are plenty of other ways to connect, with or without the kids, both online and in person.

1. Plan a coffee date or happy hour.

Invite a few new friends to a parent’s night out at a local bar, or plan to grab coffee together after preschool drop off. Nail salons, pottery studios, and paint bars offer other possible activities to pursue.

2. Turn to old-fashioned texting. 

If a night out on the town isn’t in the cards yet, texting can still provide you with camaraderie. Maybe you just want to know that someone else is up feeding the baby at 2am, or that you weren’t the only one who forgot to send in the recorder today. A group text can be a quick, convenient way to reach out when you need some mom-to-mom or dad-to-dad connection.

3. Get outside.

Even as the weather gets cooler, you can still make time to be with friends outdoors. Take advantage of nice days and organize a picnic with other parents and their kids, or plan to meet at a playground to chat while your kids play. In the mood to move? Organize a stroller walk or a run club, or take a group hike on a nearby trail.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by NYC Dads Group (@nycdadsgroup)

It can feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to make and keep social connections, but the rewards are well worth the effort. You get to feel less isolated, and at the same time you are modeling healthy friendships for your children. The whole family benefits when your reserves, and sense of humor, have been restored.


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Marie Holmes

Author: Marie Holmes has written for Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, the Washington Post, and other publications. She lives in Upper Manhattan with her wife and their two children. See More

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