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Have you ever moved to a new town with children? What are your top tips for cultivating new friendships?

(20 Posts)
WatchingTheTumbleweedsPass Wed 03-Sep-08 12:46:43

I need help!

We moved house recently, for DH's work, and now live 3-4 hours away from family and friends.

My eldest is at school and just started in Year 1. My youngest has 2 more years until she starts school. I am job hunting currently but looking for part time until the youngest goes to school.

I realise work will be the easiest way to become established with local people but I wondered if anyone had words of wisdom to share.

Am I missing doing something that is certain to guarantee me gaining close acquaintances in as short a time as possible.

Helping out at school?
Some kind of voluntary work? If so, what's a good organisation for meeting other people my age and stage of life?
Exercise or fitness classes?
Classes/activities with my toddler?
Other types of activity for me?

I always seem to get this type of thing wrong. My DD1s school overwhelmed me this morning at drop off time. The playground was full of appx. 120 parents of Y1 and Y2 pupils. It will take me all term to figure out who belongs to the children in DD1's class, let alone befriend them! I miss the friendly, small Reception class of her previous school already.


Fimbo Wed 03-Sep-08 12:50:50

I moved from Scotland to England 8 years ago. My dd was 2.5 at the time. I found the easiest way to meet people was to go to toddler groups.

We lived right in the town centre in a converted hayloft for about 6 months, it is a large town and there were m & t's on nearly every day in a different place.

Another idea may be to get on to the pta at school. Or try going to church.

AvenaLife Wed 03-Sep-08 12:52:39

Where abouts are you? There may be some mnters there that would like a new friend. smile

Toddler groups are a good way to meet people, although some may have only younger mums in them so it's best to hunt around for one where you feel like you fit in. Dance classes (for you) are also good, as are evening courses. You'll get to know some parents from school, it's early days. Birthday parties are very good at meeting new people.
It's sometimes a case of asking the parents who's class their child is in, talk to them anyway, whether their child is in your child's class or not.

WatchingTheTumbleweedsPass Wed 03-Sep-08 12:54:01

Church is out for us. I almost added to my post "it seems like all of this would be so much easier if we were religious and belonged to a church"

I forgot to add - we're not living in the catchment area for the school that we got DD1 into. It was difficult to marry up finding a house and a school place when changing over at this early stage in her school life. The schools closest to us are full up. We couldn't find a house close to the school we got her into. We're only 2.5 miles away but I feel right out of the school community as there are probably about 6 schools closer to us than that one.

Fimbo Wed 03-Sep-08 12:56:31

I am not in the slightest bit religious either, just thought you might be!

Although having said that, the church in my village have a cafe on a Saturday in the hall.

Is there a library?

WatchingTheTumbleweedsPass Wed 03-Sep-08 13:04:18

We're living in a very big town that is more like a small city. Lots of libraries. Lots of everything, which may be part of the problem.

There is a small library close to DD1's school and I plan to take DD2 there for storytime so we do something that might put us in touch with parents from that school.

Thanks for your suggestions Fimbo.

Fimbo Wed 03-Sep-08 13:05:25

Do you want to say which town?

WatchingTheTumbleweedsPass Wed 03-Sep-08 13:14:14

I'd rather not. I have checked the MN meet-ups and there's not alot of action here.

Fimbo Wed 03-Sep-08 13:16:00

Ok. If you had been near me, I might have plucked up courage to meet you!

jammydodger Wed 03-Sep-08 13:25:28

Since ds1 was born 4 years ago, we've moved 6 times (stopped now, finally, thank god!).
I've managed to meet people fairly easily in all those places (both here and abroad) I've found that toddler groups are good, but you do have to try several sometimes, until you find some that feel right for you. Library story and song times are good, chatting to other mums in the playground with similar age kids, particularly when you're both pushing swings.. (just asking how old their child is often leads to a good conversation, or complimenting them on something their child is wearing etc etc))..

Joining committees of toddler groups is a good idea, but the best one I found was becoming membership person for a toddler group, or in my case, a voluntarily-run toy library..because you then get to know everyone who joins, and within a couple of months you have tons of people to say hello to, and build up friendships from there.

I've also found that there seems to be a "three month rule" when it comes to accepting new people - certainly in my experience, when you've been attending toddler groups, classes, etc for around 3 months, people suddenly seem to get used to you being there, and accept you, and may start conversation themselves - and things get much easier.

But till then, you just have to stick your neck out and smile alot and persevere. And in a couple of years, you'll be well ensconced with a huge circle of friends.

(sorry have rambled, but it's a subject close to my heart!)

WatchingTheTumbleweedsPass Wed 03-Sep-08 13:41:23

Where are you Fimbo? grin

2point4kids Wed 03-Sep-08 13:46:49

I moved to Ipswich when DS1 was 2 and I was expecting DS2 about a year ago. I didnt know anyone here when we moved.

I have made a handful of close friends through surestart toddler groups (by far the friendliest and cheapest!) and by the local meet a mum board on netmums! I dont actually use netmums apart from looking at the 'whats on in your area' and the 'local meet a mum' bits but I have found them very very useful!
My 2 closest friends I met on there!

Basementbear Wed 03-Sep-08 13:52:00

Toddler groups are definitely a good way to go, the local council might have a list of local ones, and also most libraries have story/singing sessions for toddlers. Is there an NCT group in your area that meet up for coffee?

Volunteering at school is a really good way to get to know teachers and mums too.

Are you brave enough to throw a little party for your eldest, to get to know her new classmates and parents?

WatchingTheTumbleweedsPass Wed 03-Sep-08 16:04:05

It's my youngest's birthday soon and she just started nursery. She'll be 3. I'm thinking of having a small party for her just to get to know some other mums because they tend to stay for 3 year olds. I will have a party for my eldest, which is just before Christmas.

I have never had much success with toddler groups but I'm happy to take DD2 along to something we have to sign up to half termly, like a music group or pre-school gym. I don't lnow if they will be better for meeting people with children my DD2's age.

Has anyone had success meeting people outside of school and toddler groups? Is there an activity I could do in the evening that is more likely to spark off friendships?

twoluvlykids Wed 03-Sep-08 16:09:33

she's still too young for Rainbow's (pre-Brownies), but what about some sport/dance activities you can all do?

NCT groups are good, library sessions, what about asking dd1's teacher to find her a nice "buddy" who can be there for her at playtimes?

Fimbo Wed 03-Sep-08 16:10:40


Just thought of something else, if you are the outgoing type (I am the opposite!) then could you organise a social gathering for your dd's class. A mother in my ds's nursery class did this because she lived out of the catchment area and didn't know anyone. She just did an open invite to a soft play centre, asked if anyone wanted to go to the theatre etc. She pinned a notice up on the nursery door.

Fimbo Wed 03-Sep-08 16:11:53

Oh and I met a mum at my dd's swimming classes (we both didn't know anyone else).

WatchingTheTumbleweedsPass Wed 03-Sep-08 16:21:54

DD1 will be doing swimming lessons soon so there's hope there. I guess I sound desperate. I know these things cannot be forced but I am not the outgoing type.

I always feel paranoid that i am getting in people's way or that they are just talking to me to be nice.

I am in East Anglia Fimbo but not Norfolk. Shame. You sound nice.

Thanks everyone.

Fimbo Wed 03-Sep-08 16:23:42

Gosh thanks blush


scotlass Wed 03-Sep-08 16:33:34

Hi, I moved from England to Scotland 5yrs ago and made friends mainly from chatting to other mums at DD's school, swimming lessons and dancing. In fact one of my best friends now I met during DD's first swimming lesson.

I also got to know some lovely neighbours and even though a couple have moved am still friends with them. I did feel really lonely at first and felt like everyone knew everyone and I knew nobody but kids being kids you soon strike up conversations with other adults and find other mums to gel with. It feels strange at first but it's funny how friendships can blossom from having quick chats.

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