Have you ever thought about going somewhere fun but changed your mind, because you saw how much it cost? Would you change your mind back if you saw how much you would save if you had a Group Rate? Are you a working parent that doesn’t have time to meet new parents? This morning I’m going to show you how easy it is to Form a Play Group to Save Money.
When my son was born, I reconnected with an old friend and she kept trying to get me to join her Mom Group.
A little background – I’ve worked since I was 16 so when I had my son, I really had no idea how long I was able to stay home with him and how long we were able to survive off one income. We thought 6 months tops. During that 6 months, I learned how to extreme coupon and had to make serious adjustments.
When I met my old friend again when my son was 18 months, I was nervous because I always thought it would cost a lot of money to do all those things, but she reassured me that I didn’t have to go to everything.
The group was great! All the kids were born in 2007. Most of the parents were super-friendly and I bonded with some over others. When my son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at 2.5 years old, I learned quickly that the play dates were so important to his social development. Shortly after, when the kids turned 3, they all entered Preschool and had less time for play dates. The group went their own ways, but I needed it more than anything. I believe that creating an environment outside of school to socialize is so important especially when that is their deficit. Thus, I joined multiple playgroups hoping to meet new families. I joined about 3 others, but some were too far away, had low turnouts or they really didn’t understand special needs. I eventually resorted to forming my own support group. They became my second family. I love that our kids can explore new things without feeling judged and we “get each other.”
Form a Play Group with Kids around the Same Age
Why is this important? My kid is 5 and love bounce houses, your kid is 16 and love Boomers. They will never be at the same events so what’s the point?
Where Do You Meet Parents?
- Go to Back-to-School Nights
Yes, we are there to check out their environment for the rest of the year and to learn how to help the teachers help our kids. But what better way than to meet families that your kid is with all day? Why not make it easier for them to make friends? They are also the same age. Ask the teacher to form a contact list with emails. Initiate an event and email the parents. Not all of them will respond but a few will. It can be as easy as, “hey let’s meet at the park” or spark up a fun conversation as, “hey, did you know they have Autism Nights at Aquarium of the Pacific once or twice a year for $5?” Super easy.
- Sunday School
Are your kids in Sunday School? Get to know the other Parents. Notice if your kids are playing well together. Ask them to join your Play Group. You’ll also want the typical peer role models. Parents who understand your situation often times want to help or don’t mind.
- Do you attend Parenting Workshops?
I’ve met a few great Parents at Workshops. It helps that we’re there for the same thing – to learn how to help our kids. We almost instantly bond that way. We also share valuable resources and talk about navigating IEP’s and insurance challenges.
If all else fails, look up groups on www.Meetup.com. Some are inexpensive, some are free. They connect families with same interests. Key words: working parents, <enter your city>, age groups, special interests, special needs, Autism, Aspergers, teens, etc. You can even start up your own if none exists.
Don’t Leave without Exchanging Info!
I hope you’ll agree that the opportunities to meet new Parents are endless. Don’t be shy – ask them any question and most of the time, they’ll open up to you (just make sure it’s at a Parenting event). When you instantly connect with a Parent, don’t leave without at least exchanging emails! I’ve left a few times kicking myself, because I liked the parent and there is no way to contact them again. Also, remember after you Form a Play Group, you’ll also save money from group rates when you do things together.
Now go out there and Let’s Play in OC!