Five Free Ways to Get Your Child Interacting with Other Children


Children need social interaction or they risk not being able to properly socialize with others. I mean, if the American Kennel Club advocates early socialization of dogs so that they learn appropriate behavior when around other dogs and humans, it would seem like common sense that the same should be appropriate for children, right? If a child never has the opportunity to play or interact with another child, he or she will not learn the concept of appropriate socialized behavior. These interactions are the ones that teach your kids to make friends, to share and to expect that things don’t always go their way. An independent child at home with no other kids in his or her life is going to have a difficult time learning to play well with others once school starts, and that’s not what you want. You want your kids to thrive with other kids. You want them to learn to become leaders, to make new friends and to involve themselves in fun social situations and interactions. That’s why we have a few suggestions that will help you get your kids interacting with other children. The best part is that they are all free of charge.

Take the Kids to the Library

Did you know that just about every public library in the country has free programs for kids? It’s true; check with your local library to see what is going on in your area. These are often programs that are designed to include story time and even an arts and crafts time. For example, one of my local libraries allows toddlers to come in every Wednesday for story time and a craft that is very similar to the story. My younger kids love this adventure and ask about it all the time, especially during summer. It’s a free way to entertain your kids, maybe sit down quietly and read a book of your own while they are being read to by the librarian and let them engage with other kids their own age while they create fun art projects for you to bring home.

Take the Kids to the Park

Why more parents don’t take their kids to the park is beyond me. It’s hours of fun time for the kids and it’s free. There’s nothing wrong with a little fresh air. I know some parents are worried about germs, but your kids are going to go to school one day and be around all kinds of germs. And they’re going to use the playground equipment there, too, so what’s the issue with using it now? Just be sure to keep your kid’s hands clean before they touch their snacks and whatnot and they will probably be fine. The park allows your kids to find other kids who are playing on the same equipment, building in the same sand pile and engaging in the same activities. It’s a fun way for them to get to interact with other kids and make new friends – and also a great way to learn how to share playground equipment.

Take the Kids to Local Festivals

Schools and communities often have large festivals that are completely free of charge for local families. These sometimes include games, bounce house and arts and crafts. These make for a great way to get your kids acclimated to socialization with other kids. It’s free to go, and your kids will have a blast. They’ll meet other kids, play with other kids and make little friends. Even though their time together will be short, they’ll get used to meeting new kids and learning to share and take turns using things that are not their own, and that’s the purpose of socializing kids – or one of the purposes, anyway.

Schedule Play Dates with Other Kids

Do you have friends with kids? If so, why not schedule frequent play dates? My husband and I have a very close group of friends. We all got married around the same time and began having kids around the same time. Our kids have no idea what it’s like not to socialize, because we always do things with our friends, so the kids get to be with their own friends. You can schedule play dates, meals and other interactions for your kids so that they’ll learn how to socialize with other kids. We do a Wednesday night dinner every single week with one couple and their kids. We alternate houses every week, and we’ve been doing this for more than 7 years. We go to parks, festivals, trick or treating and just about everything in between with our friends and their kids so that our kids are always with other children, and it’s so good for them.

Check for a Local MOPS Program

If you’ve never heard of MOPS, let me explain it to you. It stands for Mothers of Preschoolers and it’s a great program. What’s great about this program is that it’s not just for kids. It works well for kids since these are mostly offered at churches and there is childcare available for kids. Your kids will get to go to their respective classroom and play and do art projects with other kids their age while you spend a few hours learning resources, meeting new people and enjoying meals with women who have kids the same age as your own. My local MOPS meets at a local church once a month, and it’s a lot of fun. I’ve met some wonderful women, successful, inspiring, wonderful women; and my kids have made some new friends along the way. If for no other reason than you want a meal and free childcare, go ahead and join your local MOPS program if there is one available to you.

This is also a great way to meet new people for the entire family if you’re new to the area. These are moms who are happy to introduce themselves and get to know you. Do yourself a favor, and find this free program near you.

Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images


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