New to Back to School? Six Fun Ways to Connect

by Christa Hines on August 9, 2017

Family calling cards designed by Kari Burkholder, Two Turtles Gift & Design Company

Many of us are gearing up for back to school, which means we’re going to have the chance to say hello again to families we haven’t seen all summer. But if your child is new to the school or headed to Moms Day Out, preschool or kindergarten, you both may be going in without knowing a soul. Here are some fun ways to begin connecting with other parents and feeling like part of your child’s school community:

Attend back to school socials. Many schools host welcome breakfasts and school orientations to new families. Best case scenario is the school assigns you a seasoned family who can introduce you to other parents and fill you in on little details about the school that you wouldn’t have otherwise known. If you find yourself more or less on your own, attend other family-centered events that the school puts on. While these can be a little intimidating at first, take your kids and go. Notice another mom standing by herself? Go up and introduce yourself. Ask about her kids and the grades they are entering.

Have a family calling card. A friend of mine shared this idea with me, which I wrote about in my article “15 Genius Tips for Back to School” in the August issue of Kansas City Parent magazine. Using a clever design that’s more memorable than a regular business card, she hands people she meets a card that tells them her name, her contact information and the names of her child(ren). Kari Burkholder, a talented designer and business owner here in Kansas City designs these adorable cards. Check out all of her beautiful products on her Facebook page Two Turtles Gift & Design Company

Use social media. Many schools have their own Facebook page where parents chat about school functions or post questions. If you’re a new family, write a post that introduces yourself and your child. Mention that you’d love for your child to meet a few classmates before school starts. Then, ask if anyone would be interested in getting a few kids together from your child’s grade for a playdate at a nearby park.

Attend Moms’ Night Outs. Parent volunteers at our school coordinate monthly moms’ night outs for moms to gather without kids. These are a lot of fun and usually the first gatherings of the year are the largest. If your school parents host  these types of functions, try and go. Other school PTOs/PTAs organize meet and greet coffee gatherings at the beginning of the school year as a way to connect. Ask around to find out what your school does. 

Volunteer. Schools are always looking for volunteers and this is a wonderful way to meet other parents. Doing something alongside other volunteers takes the pressure off, especially if you find social gatherings a little intimidating. As you get to know some of the other parents, begin attending other gatherings to grow your network. Just be sure to choose volunteer opportunities that interest you and that work well with your schedule so that you can feel positive about your service. 

Show your friendliness. You know that old saying, “Smile and the world smiles with you. Cry and you cry alone?” Emotions are contagious. When you’re in a bad mood, people tend to steer clear or they mirror you in a negative way. People instinctively respond to our facial expressions  and body language whether positive or negative. Go into social events with a warm smile and upbeat, welcoming attitude. Be curious about the people you meet. Ask them about their kids, their summer vacations and what they’re most excited about in the coming year. Even if you’re feeling a little nervous, I promise, just by showing up, laughing with and meeting other welcoming moms, you’ll enjoy a healthy shot of confidence and a boost of happiness. This isn’t just my opinion. Science backs it up. After a pleasant social interaction, the feel-good hormone oxytocin surges in our bodies. 

What are things you have done that have helped you connect when you’ve been the new mom to the group?

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