How to Interact with Parents at Children's Story Time: 8 Steps
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Don't try to chat up other parents while the librarian is reading.


Having kids means you're probably running in a different social circle than you once frequented as a singleton. Gone are the days when "going out" meant drinks with the girls. Instead, it's all about story time at the library and Mommy & Me music classes. Still, that doesn't mean you're destined for a life of relying on a toddler for stimulating conversation. Child groups and play groups are the ideal place to meet other parents -- as long as you do so respectfully. Hey, the conversations with other parents might revolve around poop and barf, but at least you're talking to someone who can talk back!

EditSteps

  1. 1
    Arrive to the library or the event on time so you can settle your child and then take your place. If you come in late, you could miss interaction between the parents when the children are otherwise engaged. You can also arrange to stay a few minutes after story time to allow your child to talk with the other kids and you a few minutes to catch up with the regulars and make plans for play dates.
  2. 2
    Ditch your cellphone by putting it on mute and dropping it into your bag while at story time. Not only is it rude to have your phone buzzing during the quiet time, but other parents might see you as closed-off and unavailable to them (and possibly also to your own child), if you're constantly texting and surfing your phone instead of participating.
  3. 3
    Check out the rules for story time beforehand. In some cases, parents and caregivers are urged to stay with their kids and participate in the story, while other facilities allow parents to kick back in other parts of the library while the children enjoy the story. If your library asks for silence, you'll need to wait until after story time to chat up another parent.
  4. 4
    Watch other parents to see how they react to their children. It's a stellar way to see which parents you'd be compatible with on a friendly level. If you're a laid-back mom and one of the parents seems high-strung, she might not be the best fit as someone you'd want to hang out with.
  5. 5
    Remove your child if she becomes fussy or disruptive during story time. That way, your child won't annoy the other children -- or the other parents.
  6. 6
    Approach parents after story time, when the atmosphere isn't so quiet. Introduce yourself and your child and talk about something that you noticed that you have in common. Saying something like "Oh, I see we both have Pinkalicious fans!" helps to establish an immediate bond, allowing you to take the discussion forward from that point.
  7. 7
    Chat with the same parents that you see time and time again at story time. As you become a regular fixture at the library, you'll be able to make small talk more often before taking your relationship past story time and into the real world. Try chatting at least three times before you suggest a play date or meeting up at the park for lunch.
  8. 8
    Assess reasons why a parent would decline an offer to hang out and don't feel silly or upset if the answer is "no." Chances are that she's busy and has limited room in her schedule. You can continue being friendly at story time; those few minutes of swapping kid stories might be enough to give you a little adult sanity in your week.

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Categories: Education and Communications

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