The most likely places to meet single parents for more than friendship.
So many things about being a parent are hard, especially if you’re doing it alone. A study from the charity Gingerbread reveals that there are more than a million single parents in the UK – with nine in ten headed by a single mother.
Apart from the difficulties of earning enough for their small families, finding a partner can also be challenging for solo parents. For one, not all single parents feel comfortable with the idea of introducing a new person into their children’s lives. And finding someone like-minded who will understand your situation with all the challenges might seem like an unsurmountable challenge. So why not look to meet another single parent? We know this sounds easier said than done, so we have written up a simple guide for you to with some suggestions where you can meet single parents that might lead to dating and hopefully more:
Meet single parents online
Technology has not only completely changed how people communicate, but it has also redefined how they look for and meet potential life partners. Although dating apps and websites don’t always sound like the best way to meet single parents (or singles without kids), they also have their perks.
For starters, online dating allows you to find and communicate with potential partners from the comfort of your home and without paying a babysitter. The Telegraph points out that online dating allows you to have enough time to get to know your date before you meet up in person. You can also easily filter out the people you do not want to talk, such as singles without kids. Online profiles give you the overview you need to gauge if you’re going to hit it off with someone or not. Alternatively, you could go straight to a single parent dating website.
First dates with singles parents you meet online can also be a lot easier since you’ve already spent a considerable amount of time getting to know each other. There might still be the usual first date nerves, but it’s considerably less had you never had the chance to speak beforehand. On Single Parents on Holiday we talked about how this saves you time and effort.
Outdoor activities where you meet single parents
If you and your children like spending your time outdoors, chances are you could meet another like-minded single parent at your local park. Spending time outdoors is free unless you join an organised activity, which are generally inexpensive there. It is also easy to get chatting without any of the awkwardness of going on a date or being introduced by a friend. Pick a park that isn’t overwhelmingly big so that you can keep an eye on your child and let your guard down at the same time. Single parents love being in places where they can do outdoor activities with their children. Parks are also a relaxed place to chat as you are surrounded by families. You don’t have to worry about how you look because you’re in the same situation as every other parent. Have a picnic, take some ball games and chances are you will meet other single mums and dads in no time at all.
Playgrounds are an easy way to meet single parents. It’s a free activity, available any time and it is easy to engage in conversation with other adults: Whilst your children are making friends, you are bound to get chatting to the other parents who are hanging out on the side lines just like you, watching over their children. You will be surprised how many single mums and dads you meet at the playground!
Environmental education centres
Many councils now have environmental education centres which offer regular events where parents and children of all ages can develop their interest in nature further. Our local parks run lots of exciting wildlife activities both term time and in the holidays. Classes are inexpensive, you don’t have to commit to turning up every week and best of all, they are a great way to meet other single parents with similar hobbies and interests.
Walking groups are another way to meet and get chatting to other single mums and dads. If you are not a great talker or get nervous around the other sex, this might work well for you. There is no need to talk non-stop and you you only need to look around you, to find something to talk about if you get a little stuck or nervous. Check your local ramblers to see if they have walking groups for families with young children, older children and singles. And why not suggest to start a walking group for single parent families? There is no easier way to combine exercise, enjoying nature with your children and meeting single parents who have the same hobby and maybe more in common.
Meet single parents on weekend breaks and holidays
The Guardian notes that multi activity weekends are becoming increasingly popular with single parents. PGL has several reasonably priced activity centres around the UK. Some of the activities on offer include building rafts, zip wires, abseiling, and archery. There are plenty of opportunities to make friends, which means you have the chance to meet single parents there. Family quiz evenings, treasure hunts, and team challenges are some of the best activities to interact with other parents.
Holidays are also a great way to show potential partners that you know how to relax, let your hair down, and have fun with your children. It’s one of the most natural ways of meeting other people. After all, you’re on a holiday and there’s no reason for you not to talk or interact with the people around you. Even in the midst of meltdowns and tantrums, you might just be able to find a potential partner for life who is going through the same thing with his or her children. If you want a guarantee that you will meet single parents on holiday, why not join an escorted group holiday for single parents?
Meet single parents through support organisations and churches
Joining a single parent support group not only provides you with an avenue to vent your frustrations and celebrate your achievements as a single parent, but it’s also a great way to meet single parents. Like online dating, it is a guaranteed way to meet other single parents and share your story. It’s also cheap or inexpensive to go to their social events.
If you don’t mind the religious aspect, you could check out your local churches to see if any of them offer single parent meetups. You would be surprised how many have support groups and social events for single parent families. Some of them even organise free childcare so single mums and dads can enjoy a carefree afternoon or evening sharing a picnic or BBQ. Many couples I know have met through their local church, so this is as good a place as any other to look for a date.
Meet single parents at local community events
Another option is joining community activities with your children. Nick Kemp in his article for iCandy on the Gosh RBC Race explains how these events are “designed to bring families together and provide a fun-filled day out.” Listings are often available online and your local area is likely to put on several of these events every year from Easter egg hunts to summer fairs and Christmas fairs. Each event is a new opportunity to meet single parents in the area without compromising your time with your children.
A local farmer’s market is another great example as it’s a regular event and you’re more likely to run into the same people week after week. It’s also child-friendly and fun so you can bring your children with you. You’ll not only get a week’s worth of fresh fruit, vegetables and baked goods, you may also meet like-minded people, and who knows, maybe you meet that someone special.
Meet single parents at school or playgroup
Making friends with other parents at the school gates can be difficult and developing friendships might take time. The advantage single parents have is that they immediately have something to talk about! Even if your view of the world might turn out to be different and the other person does not turn out to be relationship material, your kids will act as a conversation starter and if you discover you are both widowed or divorced, this will immediately bring you closer together. Best of all, if you see each other every day or nearly every day, you can check the person out quickly before you decide to take things further. You could even discreetly verify his or her relationship status with the other parents or kids.
If you happen to have spare time and energy (always difficult as a single parent!), you might also meet other single parents by helping at school fairs, sporting events, fund raising or even joining your kids’ school’s PTA.
If your child is still young, you will undoubtedly him or her to classes. Parent and baby classes, toddler gymnastics, baby ballet, local playgroups, ‘bounce and rhyme’ classes at the local library, pre-school classes – the list is endless. Joining such groups is an excellent way to meet single parents for dating, not to mention you get the chance to encourage your children to socialise with other children.
Meet single parents at the gym
If you can’t think of anywhere else to meet people for dating, you can always look at the places that you currently frequent, or locations that are already part of you and your children’s routine. The gym is one of the best examples. If you already attend a regular class or training session, you’ve probably met most of the people who frequent the same gym that you do. The familiarity will make it easier for you to strike up a conversation, especially if your gym is small and local. Looking for a potential partner at the gym also allows you to look for someone without compromising your own schedule.
These are just some places where you can meet other single parents for friendship and dating. If you are open to talking to other mums and dads, you will realise that there are single parents everywhere you go and many of them looking for a new partner. Keep an open mind and enjoy the support and friendships you make in the process.