Author Topic: How to meet other families for childcare sharing and friendship?  (Read 2846 times)

fidgiegirl

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How to meet other families for childcare sharing and friendship?
« on: February 17, 2014, 10:13:56 AM »
Hello everyone,

A few months ago I posted two threads about work/child care experiences and ideas and received sooooo many helpful responses (threads linked at bottom of post).  Thank you!!

We're expecting our first baby in April.  The current plan is for both of us to continue to work (we are in education) and so we will need daycare in August.  The time has arrived where we have to make some arrangements for daycare.  We may have waited too long already to have an easy time of finding a place - I just called 10 places, spoke with maybe 5, and only one had openings for August.  I'm not too hopeful on the other 5.  Uffda.

In the childcare alternatives thread linked below, people had great ideas for nanny sharing and other arrangements that would require close collaboration with another family.  Our problem?  We don't know any other families with young children in our neighborhood.  We are slightly older parents (35 and 42) and everyone else has been there, done that, or they never will be going down that road.  So:  how can we find these families?

It would be ideal to find another mustachian family that was willing to think out of the box to save on everyday child care, but even just for more informal date night babysitting swaps it would be great to find some other families - and, of course, for general friendship and camaraderie!

I'm willing to tap my social media networks, especially FB, but also have to be delicate so as not to reveal anything tooooo much about my true work inclinations (cut back or switch jobs) because I have a lot of coworkers on there.  Beyond that, though, I'm pretty much stumped.

We would love to hear where you have met other families at the same stage as yours.

Thanks!!

Previous threads:

What is your work situation after baby and how did you decide?:  http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/mini-money-mustaches/what-is-your-work-situation-after-baby-and-how-did-you-decide/

Child care arrangements brainstorm!:  http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/mini-money-mustaches/childcare-arrangements-brainstorm!!/

markstache

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Re: How to meet other families for childcare sharing and friendship?
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2014, 10:17:32 AM »
My wife joined a mom's group (Mothers and More, a national chaptered organization). Almost all of our friends come from that group and have kids that are the same age.

wordygirl

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Re: How to meet other families for childcare sharing and friendship?
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2014, 06:13:11 PM »
Although I didn't go back to work until my firstborn was almost 2, and even then only temporarily, I did move across country right after my child was born and needed to make friends and build up a community.

I was a member of an online parenting forum with a bent towards attachment parenting, cloth diapering, positive discipline, etc and I found some other members who lived in the same area as me and we arranged to meet up with our babies at various places around town.

I met wonderful people with whom I shared a common philosophy and I made some friends who are still very close and dear to me to this day (10 years later). Through them I ended up joining other "networks" such as La Leche League and then we decided to homeschool and I met tons more families through that community.

So I would encourage you to join a group, like La Leche League (which welcomes pregnant women) and attend their meetings. You may also meet mums in a birthing class, or a yoga class for pregnant women. I don't know what sort of maternity leave you have (we have 1 year in Canada) but during that time you can attend baby-and-me type activities to meet people.

Argyle

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Re: How to meet other families for childcare sharing and friendship?
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2014, 06:37:16 PM »
There are a number of organizations that let parents of babies and tiny kids meet up.  The one in our area is Birth to Three.  We started arranging playdates and trading childcare with parents in our Birth to Three group when the kids were about two years old.  Before that point the kids don't really interact with each other that much, so playdates are better with more supervision.  But your mileage may vary.

Your kid will also make friends at daycare, and then you meet the other parents at drop-off and pickup, and you say, "Hey, Emily and Mackenzie are getting to be good friends -- want to bring Mackenzie over for a couple of hours some afternoon?"  At first the other parent stays and you entertain them (which is admittedly time-consuming, though they might end up being someone you get along with well and you can become better friends).  After a while, when their child is used to being at your house, they just drop them off for a certain amount of time.  When they're a certain age you can start with the sleepovers.  That means your kid also goes to their house for sleepovers, and then you have a whole evening free!  Which will feel strange at that point.

One word of warning from my experience.  A lot of people pacify their little kids by letting them play with iPads, smartphone games, etc.  I've known some kids who literally don't know how to play with other kids because they've only learned to play on an electronic device.  Their interaction skills are poor.  I'd advise limiting the electronics time if you want your kid to know how to play with others as well as how to play on devices.

vivian

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Re: How to meet other families for childcare sharing and friendship?
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2014, 09:41:08 PM »
I was also worried about finding parents our age. But even though my husband and I are both introverts, you'll be amazed at how young children open up your socializing. We've made so many friends since our son was born. Through church, through his current daycare, through just interacting at the park. It may not provide an easy full-time child care situation for you right away, but once your child is walking, he will start interacting with other kids, which will make you interact with the parents. Once you see the same people a few times, you start setting up your own playdates together. I recently did a babysitting swap with a mom I met b/c both of our sons couldn't stay quiet in church and we ended up in the quiet room.  A few Sundays in the quiet room led to brunch after church which led to a playdate at the park and then a babysitting swap.

N

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Re: How to meet other families for childcare sharing and friendship?
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2014, 12:33:56 AM »
I met most of my mom friends at La Leche League, and also at another meetup of Attachment Parenting, International. (both were free to attend)

I know a lot of moms who made friends at their childbirth classes (Bradeley seems popular in my circles, tho I did Hypnobirthing)
Then, later, thru my homeschooling groups.

in my case, my parenting/life philosophies led me to find community with others who had similar values.

You can search on meetup.com for local groups for your neighborhood or age groups of kids, or other life values.


Roses

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Re: How to meet other families for childcare sharing and friendship?
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2014, 12:59:59 AM »
I met other parents first through a newborn group called PEPS (I think they have them in most of the country) and then at baby classes/groups and our co-op preschool.  I also joined a Yahoo mom's group for my neighborhood, online.  That was a great resource for buying/selling baby items, getting info and advice, etc.  Search for "insert-your-neighborhood moms" on yahoo groups.  Also try nearby neighborhoods or the name of your town/city.  If you have a specialized maternity or baby shop in your area - especially a locally owned one - they tend to be be well connected and you can ask them for referrals to groups.  There are lots of free or donation baby groups in my area.  They meet to talk about breastfeeding, sleeping, etc.

When I first joined my PEPS group I was afraid I would be the oldest mom at 33.  Out of 11 others I turned out to be the youngest.  It's more and more common for parents to be a little older, especially in cities I think.

nvmama

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Re: How to meet other families for childcare sharing and friendship?
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2014, 12:28:14 PM »
I have been very lucky about meeting other moms and now friends through local play groups.  Some Human service agencies offer free parent/tot play groups and those have been a god send for me.  After the baby is first born it helps to just get out of the house and talk to other adults.  I would check for those.  A good spot to find out about those type of agencies is from your local library, they tend to have pamphlets and displays set out in the children's area, and in most cases they may also offer story times and play times for children.  Even if you go on any regular time there is a good chance you will run into other mom's and kids in the children's area.  Also check with the hospital where you plan on having your child.  The one I used offered a weekly group for mom's and children.  you would bring in your child, they would be weighed and then normally a play group of sorts took place, singing, infant massage, stuff for the older children.  Another bonus of the hospital play groups is that many times they had free samples of different baby related items there as well.  And if you are truly daring you may find some like minded people through Craigslist.  One of my closest friends I actually met through Craigslist when I advertises for anyone interested in doing a babysitting swap, which we ended up doing for about a year.  That was 6 years ago now.  Just keep your eyes open and you may be surprised where you will met people.

furrychickens

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Re: How to meet other families for childcare sharing and friendship?
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2014, 09:40:25 AM »
Being a stay-at-home dad makes things more challenging. Mom-focused groups are a dime a dozen. I've been invited to a Dad's group run by a neighbor but don't have a ton in common with them.