Many parents can feel overwhelmed and isolated in the early stages of parenting.
It’s easy to become focused on the negatives if you stay within the confinements of your own home. Getting out of the house and meeting other new mums can be positive for both you, and baby’s health.
Knowing that other parents are going through similar experiences provides emotional support and also decrease anxiety in figuring out this ‘parenting thing’.
Here’s a list of 10 places mums can make new friends, meet new people and enjoy some adult interaction.
What about trying…..?
1. Community Child Health Service
Child Health Services run free parenting groups on topics such as feeding and settling your baby. Ask your local Child Health Nurse when new parenting groups are running as this is a perfect way to meet other parents with babies of similar ages. When the group is finished, parents are encouraged to continue to meet with each other. I have personally found this to be a wonderful way to meet other Mums which I have still kept in contact with a few.
2. Your Local Library
Your local library runs free music and nursery rhyme groups for parents and their babies. Some libraries also have reading group times for babies which is a great way to introduce them to the world of books. You can attend these groups casually and it’s free to join.
Your local playgroup provides a great social network and many opportunities for children’s play. Each group varies slightly with different activities so you can find a group that suits your needs. Most have a very small fee to cover the costs of running these groups.
4. Baby Gym Activity classes such as Gymboree or Police Citizens Youth Club (PCYC)
Different groups vary by state, however they are a great way for babies to learn and develop through play activities. These groups have a set cost per term and are structured to suit different ages.
5. Baby music classes
Local libraries run music classes as well as other local places. I took my baby at 12 weeks of age to a music class and he bopped away to different music activities and instruments. I also met with other parents after the class finished. Library music classes are free, however other local music classes have a set cost per term.
6. Baby Swimming Classes
Local swimming schools have baby swimming classes that are structured for different age groups and abilities. Classes have a set cost per term and are a fun way to meet other parents whilst your baby is also learning to swim.
7. Facebook Parent Groups
You can search and join Parent Facebook groups within your local area. Facebook groups are a great way to chat with other parents from the comfort of your own home. They’re also a fabulous source of advice, support and resources especially in
8. Stroller Walking Groups
Whether you go walking with another parent or join a stroller walking group, you will gain health benefits for yourself and your baby. A change of scenery is always great too.
Look for opportunities to meet other parents at your local daycare. Find out who your child is playing with and make an effort to introduce yourself to their parent and invite them over for a play date.
10. Create Your Own Group
You might even create your own Facebook group if there is not already one within your area. You might also choose to meet up with a couple of parents that you have already connected with and set up your own group.
Top Tips for getting out of the house & meeting new people!
- Organise yourself the night before and pack your nappy bag and anything else that you need.
- If you are anxious about meeting new people, try a local Facebook group first to relate with other parents. You may organise to meet up with some of these parents when you feel more comfortable.
- Look at which group suits your needs and work around your baby’s sleeping times.
- Give yourself time to try different groups. If one group is not for you, don’t give up and try another group.
- Minimise costs by meeting at parks or by bringing your own food.
- Try to maximise your time and get some fresh air and exercise whilst meeting with other parents. Your baby will be more settled after a nice stroll in the park.
- If you click with someone, invite them over for a casual play date or meet them at a local park.
Uh-oh! What to avoid…
- Try not to compare your baby with other babies in your group. Each baby develops at a different rate. You will only raise your own anxiety as a parent if you start comparing your baby’s milestones to others.
- Don’t over commit yourself this can become tiresome but also expensive.
- Don’t put pressure on yourself if your baby is having a bad day. If you need to leave early to settle your baby, that is perfectly fine.
- Don’t leave it until the last minute to get ready for your group. You know for sure that there will be a poo explosion as you are walking out the door.
- Don’t expect to be everyone’s best friend. Keep away from conflict as you have enough to worry about with your own precious baby.
Most of all, enjoy yourself! Choose a group that you feel comfortable with and keep within your budget. Knowing that you can relate to other parents will help you feel that you are not alone. You may even make a friend for life. Good luck!
About the author: Renae is a writer, an aspiring children’s author and Mum to three young boys. She is also a Psychologist, working with children and parents for over 14 years. She enjoys spending time with her family and writing stories to empower children.