“Advice Needed Re. Socializing with Kids”

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    December 29, 2022 at 9:43 am #1117340

    From a LW:

    “The six of us (three couples) used to do a games night. One couple had a baby a year ago. Along with the pandemic, we stopped doing games night. I, of course, don’t want not to invite our friends with the baby over but I also realize their nights aren’t the same anymore. Any advice, in general, on socializing with friends with kids? I don’t want to bother them but I don’t want to exclude them. “

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    December 29, 2022 at 9:55 am #1117342

    As someone who has had two babies, I promise you that being invited to do things with friends who don’t have kids is not a “bother.” Your friends are still the same people they were before they had a baby and they still want to be included in your life and your social events. And there are ways this can happen! For one thing, babysitters exist! Your friends can definitely get a sitter for the times they want to go out and don’t want to bring their baby along. But there are also times that bringing a baby along can work seamlessly as they socialize with friends.

    Honestly, a game night at a friend’s home is one of the easiest activities to incorporate a baby, especially if that baby isn’t mobile yet or is on a pretty dependable sleep schedule. Your friends could bring a travel crib and set it up in another room and their baby could nap/sleep while the adults play. Your friends could take turns wearing their baby in a carrier so their hands are free to play games. A baby – if it’s not a newborn and has had its initial vaccines – can be passed around a few adults as they take turns holding/playing with it and playing games/ socializing with each other. A baby can play in a play pen type situation or bounce in a bouncy chair. (Some of these suggestions are better for smaller babies and not necessarily your friend’s 1-year-old, but I wanted to make general suggestions here in case they’re helpful to other people).

    There are lots of options for new parents to continue socializing with their friends while being good, responsible parents. Don’t assume you know what option is best for your friends – just ask them! Tell them you miss them, you want to see them and ask what is the best way for them to socialize with you. Tell them you’ve been wanting to start game nights back up and whether that’s something they’d be interested in and how that would work best for them. Ask them what you and your friends could do to make their participation possible, and also tell them that you understand if it’s not always possible for them but you want them to know they’re always invited and welcome, in whatever capacity works for them. I predict they’ll be very happy to be included, and grateful that you’ve considered that they have different needs/availability now.

    December 29, 2022 at 11:30 am #1117344

    Being invited (as a parent who is out of the baby years but can still remember them-kids are 7/8) and even if life/shit happens and we have to cancel or not go, still being invited is the very best thing. It just feels nice to be included.

    If you are truly concerned and want to make it easy on them and yourself, ask what would be the easiest way to socialize with them right now. Maybe it’s not a game night, maybe it’s a game in the day and someone bringing over a meal for the new parents? But that’s extra super nice. You sound like a nice friend. They are the same, just with an extra complication.

    December 29, 2022 at 12:47 pm #1117345

    Wow Wendy gave really nice advice to the LW. It is SO important for new parents to feel included in a group they were once part of. I can tell from experience. We were literally excluded from a group once we had our baby and it felt bewildering and puzzling at first as to why we were suddenly not being invited to anything. And the next day you see their pictures being plastered on social media.
    It is definitely possible to socialize with a baby, as long as you are not bar hopping or getting drunk. Anyone who cares about their friends (baby or not) would reach out and find ways to include them. Thank you for asking the question !

    December 30, 2022 at 11:10 pm #1117857

    Despite being child free by choice, I always include friends with kids in invites. And I’m never upset if they decline or cancel. I just prefer to be inclusive with people I love.

    I usually follow the parents lead, so Wendy’s advice about asking how/what they’d prefer is perfect.

    We’re hosting NYE this year. There will be a 13 yr old, 8, 6 and 2. We’ll have two countdowns so the friends with little ones can leave early.

    It’s fairly easy to accommodate children! It can be done. It helps that I like kids and I adore babies.

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    January 1, 2023 at 9:46 am #1117869

    The easiest way to continue games night with these folks would be to do it at their place, if they have the space. They can put the baby down to sleep in a familiar place and don’t get need to get a babysitter, which can be costly and be nerve-wracking for some parents.

    It may feel awkward to invite yourselves over but if you’re friends, it doesn’t have to be. Say something like “hey, we’d love to get games night going again but know that it might be tough for you with a baby. Would it be easier for you folks to participate if we came to you? We’ll bring the snacks!”

    As a parent of two young children, thank you for thinking of these people.

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