How to Make New Friends (For Your Toddler)
We all know how hard it is to make new friends as an adult. So often, the friends you have when you leave college are likely the friends who will follow you through your life.
When it comes to our kids, in a way, we get the chance to do that all over again, helping our children navigate the world around them in social settings. The trouble can be, however, how do we choose the best friends for our kids to hang out with?
1. Make Mutual Friends – One of the best ways I’ve found to help my son find new friends is through mutual friends. In a way, your friends have already pre-screened them. For example, my son has a new friend that he made at a birthday party held by a lifelong friend of ours for her daughter. My son really connected with this new boy and I had a great time chatting with his parents, as well. We’ve since had several play dates and plan on doing more.
2. Observe, Interact, Chat – As parents, we often spends lots of time at communal play places, parks and the like. While watching other kids play may often remind you how your own toddler is not that crazy, you will often see other children modeling good behavior. If it works naturally, see how your child interacts with these other children—this will be a sure fire way to see if you may have found a new buddy for your child. Finally, chat up the parents. This doesn’t need to be a request for a play date right off the bat (don’t be weird), but more of a casual conversation starter. From here, you’ll be able to see if it’s a good fit for your child, you, and the other family.
participating in on-going activities like swim lessons and soccer (Lil’ Kickers FTW!), my son has added a few kids to his circle
3. Engage in Regular Activities – Through participating in on-going activities like swim lessons and soccer (Lil’ Kickers FTW!), my son has added a few kids to his circle and we’ve even started a regular play date group out of it. Being in these recurring activities has given my son a chance to not only interact with other kids his age, but see them on a regular basis and begin to form friendships, which will hopefully last a lifetime.
4. Connect on Facebook – Though Facebook is a slightly less personal way to connect, I have found several groups that have proved to be amazing communities for me and my family. Not only are they great resources for online support, but some of them regularly hold activities for families to participate in. Some of the groups that I’m a part of that are geared toward gay parents and stay-at-home dads in the Seattle area, specifically. Just a quick search and you will likely find some great groups that match what you’re looking for, and hopefully you’ll find some new friends along the way!