Parenting is easier with company.
How we navigate socializing with kids during a pandemic (and beyond).
Being a parent of young kids is the best. It’s the greatest. The giggles, the kisses, the… inevitable crying and whining because you had the audacity to ask them to go to the bathroom? Or tell them they can’t eat hair? Or give them a pickle when they asked for a pickle?
We all know parenting is hard. Even in the best of times.
The last few months have taken that to a whole new level, to say the least. And it’s exposed a truth that we often forget: just how much it helps in those moments to have company. To have others around who know what you’re going through. To laugh with you and give you perspective and sanity.
We need that in-person support. And we’ve been missing it.
Enter, The Troop.
The Troop® is a new private network for local moms and dads that makes it easier to meet-up and have fun with other parents and kids.
…but let’s pause for a second.
Before going further into app features, I think it’s important to unpack why a meet-up app for parents is actually very important right now. (Because I know it seems a little weird.)
An emerging side effect of the past few months of quarantine has been a historic rise in levels of anxiety and depression.
And even before we began social distancing, parents were already feeling isolated.
A study by the charity Action for Children found a full 65% of parents report feeling more lonely since having kids and 68% feel cut off from family and friends. That includes both moms and dads. Both of whom find it harder to make and maintain friendships once having kids.
We have plenty of online forums and apps giving us an outlet to connect digitally, but it’s not enough. It’s not a replacement for the feeling of community we used to get from our neighborhoods. What used to be as easy as walking next door for a playdate is now, for many, much more complicated.
These feelings of loneliness, exacerbated by the pandemic, have led experts to recommend the creation Social Bubbles — or “Quaranteams” — that we can lean on to get through this.
The goal for The Troop is, in the short term, to help parents build those social bubbles and make it easier to meet up with them.
To be spontaneous again. To get together and play and really be there for each other without it feeling so hard.
Within the app, it’s easy to:
Build your troop
Your Troop is made up of both the parents you know and text all time as well as others in your community with kids the same age. The ones you might run into at pick-up or soccer practice and would hope to see at the playground. You choose who to add to your connections and who is part of your inner circle, or “social bubble,” at any given time.
Let them know what you’re up to
Send a signal to alert your Troop where you’re headed with your kids so they can join in if they’re up for it. You choose whether to alert all parents who might be interested, just your inner circle or only specific people.
Find new things to do everyday
Browse signals sent by other parents in your circle to get inspired to get out of the house without having to plan a playdate.
Stay safe and secure
The Troop is invite-only to make sure we’re building a community of trusted parents. You also have full control over who can see your profile or signals you send.
And during this time of social distancing, we’re asking everyone to follow all local restrictions and guidelines including wearing masks where required.
We’ve all been hit hard over the last few months. My hope is The Troop can be a first step in reforming those community bonds that have been strained and broken.
I hope every kind of parent uses it to get what they need during this time but don’t know to ask for.
I hope new moms and dads use it to find others with babies the same age and go for socially distant stroller walks together.
I hope parents with an hour between meetings use it to see who’s out riding scooters so they can join in with their kids.
I hope we all get to use it to meet up with our Troop of parent friends, old and new, at the beach and the playground and the museum soon.
Let’s start by building our inner circles, or “social bubbles,” and take it 3 weeks at a time.
We’ll get through this.
I can’t wait to see everyone. Even if it’s still 6 feet apart.
Email email@example.com to request an invite code.