Many cafes are kid-friendly, says mom Berit Brogaard. "Meet your girlfriends with kids there. Let the kids play while you enjoy a café latte and some girly talk." Working moms can meet for coffee during the work day when it doesn't cut into family time.
If you have the space, plan a sleepover for kids and their parents. The adults entertain each other while keeping an eye on the (hopefully) slumbering children.
Many gyms have supervised playrooms. Your kids can socialize while you and a friend get into shape. Brogaard suggests a gym with a pool – the kids can take formal swimming lessons while you work out.
If you have babies, meet friends for a stroll at a local park. Walk for an hour, says Karen Howe, to get exercise and quality time with friends while your children get fresh air. "If they wail," says Howe, "it's outside, and there are other moms to help." Some stroller groups meet often enough to have topics – like a walking book club!
Candy Silva, CEO of Art of the Spa, suggests doing a spa day that includes special treatments – manicure, facial – for daughters, too. Take a larger group to a day spa, says Silva, and you may receive a reduced rate. Or take turns doing the spa getaways at each other's homes.
Annete Pelliccio, founder of The Happy Gardener, recommends getting moms and kids together to plant organic herbs. Everyone brings different seeds to share and leaves the garden party with an array of fresh herbs!
Gather girlfriends and kids to help your favorite nonprofit. Karen Bantuveris, Founder of VolunteerSpot, offers a variety of ideas: staff a water station at a local charity race, clean up a forgotten patch of community garden or park, or make cards for soldiers in hospitals. "Serving together is fun," says Bantuveris. "It feels good, and provides our kids with the powerful foundation of the importance of giving back."
Mom Sherry Aikens likes book stores. They're a great place for kids to do some reading or listen to story time while moms enjoy a cup a coffee and each other's company.
Look for a grocery store with babysitting hours, suggests Aikens. You and your friend can shop while the kids play. If your kids are old enough, give them a list and let them shop for some items, too.
Airkens and her friends gather in the nursery after Sunday morning church. Kids play or do a church-related activity while moms visit.
Mom Debbie Schwartz loves family camp. She looks for camps that offer programming – archery, ropes courses, jet skiing – for kids ages 4-17. (Babysitters tag along for free with kids under 4.) While her kids are safely supervised and her husband is off playing softball, Schwartz enjoys yoga, art class, or just hanging out with other moms.
Demonstrate fine manners for your kids with a mothers-and-kids tea party. Liza Horan hosted one for some friends with kids ages 3 to 10. Horan's party was during the Easter season, so she incorporated an Easter theme into her menu. The kids enjoyed hot chocolate (with Peeps) and orange juice punch, while the adults sipped on teas and finger foods. The kids will tire of sitting before you do, so Horan recommends planning a few activities for them.
Mom blogger, Karen Bannan, has been doing game nights since her daughter was only a few months old. "We arrive at 7 p.m., order dinner, and let the kids play," says Bannan. While the kids do their thing, the adults play board games. "Lots of fun," says Bannan.
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