We all heard it before they were born, “A kid changes everything!” But few of us really knew what that was going to look like for us. If you are anything like my husband and I, one of the hardest things to navigate is how our social life changed with kids. We used to host a monthly movie night, great theme parties, had people over for dinner all the time – there wasn’t anything we couldn’t celebrate. Then, enter kiddo and we turned into downright hermits! We don’t have it all figured out but here are some ways we’re getting our social needs met while still meeting the sleep needs of our toddler and infant.
The Weeknight Dessert
I’ve posted about this before but I just can’t say enough about how awesome the weeknight dessert is! Why weren’t we doing this even before kids?! Dessert is so much easier and less stress than dinner. It can be prepared earlier in the day when things are less crazy or even the night before. The trick is to find people to invite over whom either don’t have kids or their kids are old enough to stay home alone. We really enjoyed getting to know people who weren’t one of our “usual suspects”. This kind of gathering does require you to let go of your perfect ideal for house cleanliness. With little kids, there is no guarantee the going to bed process will be smooth enough for you to get your house completely put back together from the day’s activities. The good news is your guests don’t really care. They are just as excited as you to have something new to do.
The Playground Picnic
This summer we’ve been trying a new low-key way to connect with all our other friends with or without kids – the playground picnic. I used Facebook to set up a standing event for the third Saturday of the month May-September that rotates between different parks and that’s it! Everyone is responsible for bringing their own chairs/blankets and their own lunch. I scheduled it for 10:30 a.m to 1 p.m. to accommodate a variety of nap times. We also invited a pretty big crowd – around 40 people plus their kids – but so far we’ve really only had 10-12 people at each which is a really nice sized group socially. It’s also been a fun way to check out a bunch of different parks.
The Family Walk
We have a motto in our family, “Why drive if you can walk?” It’s part of our family philosophy that moving more will equate to a happier and healthier family overall. We also try to take a family walk every night before or after dinner depending on the day. You’d be surprised how many families try to take a walk in the evening in the summertime – why not meet up? Most kids love taking a ride in the stroller and it’s a great way for parents to get to visit – no money or food involved! If you have another family in the neighborhood that’s the easiest but we spent one summer taking a weekly walk with friends who live about 15 minutes away and swapping back and forth between our two neighborhoods.
Do you have a great way you connect with others despite the restrictions young kids place on you? I’d love to hear about it! Share it in the comments below!