Making (FAMILY) Friends on the Field & Off
We’re in the thick of sign-ups for fall sports. Whether you’re new to a suburb or considering making the leap, our message is the same: DON’T MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY. Even if you haven’t moved yet,getting your kids involved in suburban sports is a great way to get them in the mix in their new community. Bonus, though: done right, these teams and leagues are a great way for your entire family to meet new people and make family friends,on the field and off. Here’s how to maximize every weekend on the sidelines…
It’s simple: pack up the family and go. While suburban sports can (and DO) take up a ton of time especially on the weekends, in the beginning, it’s great to bring the entire family with you. Why? Because not only will you be able to fan out and meet families, but siblings will likely spot older and younger kids from their school, teams and, even, from around the neighborhood. In short, you’re using everyone you’ve got under your roof to make connections—and that can easily lead to introductions, playdates and other plans.
#2. Don’t forget about PRACTICE
While there’s no need to plunk yourself or your crew down for every suburban sportspractice, consider getting there a few minutes early to scout the scene, chat with the coaches and mingle with other pick-up parents. Again, it’s all about making those connections, and the more you spot familiar faces the more opportunity to have to engage and make plans.
#3. Be the “snack mom” (or dad!)
Whether it’s orange slices on the soccer sidelines, bottled water for everyone or a fun post-game snack, be sure to raise your hand when the coach needs a volunteer. Putting your kid in the snack spotlight is a great way to start conversations—who can resist your cute clementine carton, colorful popsicles or allergy-free ants-on-a-log? Literally, no one. Use this to your advantage and be the snack parent a few times during the season and see what conversations spark.
#4. Host a post-season party
Especially in warmer weather, consider hosting a post-game or post-season BBQ, potluck or picnic in your backyard. It doesn’t have to be a fancy affair—ask players’ families to bring chips, drinks, and sides, then throw some burgers on the grill or order up a few pizzas. By getting everyone off of the field and into your space, you’ll naturally make some post-season friends for you and your kids.
#5. Look for “the” league
Many towns have multiple leagues for the same suburban sports—i.e. travel baseball and intramural baseball. While each league no doubt has its merits, one may better sync with your child’s interest- and skill-level—and that one may or may not be the one that’s the go-to in town.
“My daughter loves soccer and was asked to join the local travel team,” one Long Island mom explained of her first suburban sports experience. “She’s young so we didn’t feel like it was a must. But beyond that, our entire town descends on the soccer fields on Saturdays for hours—for the rec league.” The rec league is the more popular league in her suburb, with an hour devoted to each grade—kindergarteners from 9 am to 10 am, first graders from 10 am to 11 am and so on.
“It is THE BEST way to meet people in town,” she added. “Everyone shows up for their games, hangs out on the sidelines with parents from the other teams then, after, hit the diner, snack bar or ice cream truck. We met everyone through rec soccer and aren’t ready to give up this built-in social hour.”
Ready to talk suburbia? Get in touch to connect with a local Suburbs Strategist.