Advice for Joining Park Days
Park days, kids running around playing with friends. You, sitting with other parents chatting about kids and homeschooling. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it!
Get there early! It’s much easier to get to know a person or two at a time as they start to show up than it is to come in after everyone is already sitting and chatting with their longtime friends. That goes for your kids, too.
Let people know you’re new and feel free to ask questions, but understand that this is prime social time for parents and kids alike. They most likely have been anticipating conversations and activities with particular people all week. This does not mean they don’t want to get to know you, but the burden ultimately is on you to join in at the park days.
It’s okay to just sit with the group and listen. It’s okay for your kids to just sit with you. It may feel awkward, but we’ve all been there and no one is going to think you’re weird for not jumping into conversations or activities right from the start.
It’s probably going to take some time attending the park days for you to feel comfortable. Your kids may not want to come back. You may have to drag yourselves there weekly until you make connections. Unless the group is obviously not a ﬁt for your family (no kids near your kid’s ages, deep philosophical diﬀerences, etc.), you should give it a few months. Some people may only make a park day sporadically and you could miss out on that perfect connection by giving up too soon. Some people just take a bit of time to get to know.
If you meet someone at the park days you or your kids click with, get their contact info. Park days usually have a core of people who show up every week and others who come less frequently. If you’ve made a connection, you can plan ahead of time to meet at the park. It’s so much nicer when you know you’re going to have a friend there.
Don’t be afraid to suggest an activity. Send out an email saying something as simple as, “We’re bringing our Yu-Gi-Oh cards today”.
If any of you are introverts, be patient with yourselves. Bring a book to read or some project to work on (knitting and crocheting are popular) and just enjoy doing it out in the sunshine.
We travel a lot and have been newbies at many park days over the years. Even for pros like us, it can take awhile to feel comfortable in a new group. But the eﬀort has always been worth it.
Best of luck, Jackie
If you liked this post, check out Life as a Journey, by Jason Grooms.
By Jackie Geist