I discovered The Parent Circle, a family non-profit run by parent volunteers, which I stumbled upon while looking for playgroups for Kid #1 to join when he turned one and we wanted him to have more interaction with other little kids. Even though, at first, I was a little hesitant since the annual fee is $40/year – it’s been more than worth it.
The Parent Circle has been a great resource for:
- Educational workshops such as Picky Eaters workshop, Child Behaviors, Preschool Readiness Workshop, Pediatric Nutrition, Pediatric Dentistry
- Demo classes such as soccer, baseball, dance, music,babywearing Zumba, martial arts, swim, gymnastics, language
- Opportunities to check out spaces such as the Skokie Exploratorium, Evanston Ecology Center, Gather Play Cafe, Growth Spurts, The Family Room as they have hosted their annual Halloween Party and Spring Fling party
- Opportunities to partner up with different organizations such as KIDS safety and Gather Play Cafe
- Babysitting Co-op – imagine that you have 40 tokens to spend (15 minutes per kid for 1 token) which can be a nice 5 hour date if you have two kids to start off with. That’s a free date! If you were to pay for a babysitter (at $15/hour), you have just saved $75!! Anyway, we watch other peoples’ kids for more tokens and we redeem ours – it allows us for emergency backups and also another opportunity for us to go out on dates.
- Subgroups such as the Working Moms group or the Dads Night Out
- Meals for New Moms – when we had Kid #2, the warm congratulations and option of having several delicious meals dropped off was much appreciated!
- Regular parties such as the Summer potluck on the beach, Smores and Songs bonfire, Halloween Party, Holiday Cookie Swap, Winter soup/chili swap/cookoff, Spring Party
- Swap n Sale – this is one of my favorite things about TPC. You can donate your used clothing, toys, books, gear, etc – in return, you get up to 25 coupons (for FREE clothing) and up to 25 coupons (for half off gear, books, toys). I have a constant box that I have set aside that I’m always tossing stuff into. Last Swap, I walked away with some great clothing for my kids and godson for FREE and some fabulous toys including a play kitchen.
- Board position opportunity – joining TPC has allowed me to stretch out my non-profit experience and really experience a different board opportunity. One where I am not tied down by politics and instead, I can really stretch my creativity and skills. I have really enjoyed the breadth and depth of opportunities that I have been able to partake in.
- Overall great family experience – this is the perfect niche for our family as we have been able to make new connections and friends in the Evanston area who are in the same position in life as we are in – great sounding board from recommendations for where to go for to find boys boxer briefs or babysitter or nannyshare to classes, as well.
Even if you aren't in the Evanston area, I recommend that you search for a family non-profit to belong to or even a babysitting co-op, it'll be a good outlet and another childcare option especially for those regular date nights.