24 ways to stay connected

Connections matter.

As a caregivers, making connections to each other and to the community can make you an even better parent. That's because these connections can help provide a sense of purpose and build a support system that you can lean on when you need it.

And you never know when you'll need the support that connections provide. (Read more about building a tribe and why it matters.)

But where do you even begin making those connections? It can start with a smile in a grocery store. Or at work, school or the gym. Here are a few ideas of intentional ways to build connections - which can support you, your kids and the community.

1. Join a parents' group (or start one yourself).

2. Coach your child's sports team.

3. Start hitting the gym or fitness classes with friends.

4. Set up a monthly date night with another couple.

5. Go to lunch with friends from work.

6. Take a walk with a neighbor. 7. Volunteer for a local nonprofit organization.

8. Start a book club.

9. Talk to another parent at the grocery store.

10. Find a club that interests you. (The Quad Cities has clubs that appeal to hikers, quilters, bikers, historians, and everything in between.)

11. Go to story time at the library.

12. Volunteer to be on committees at work or school.

13. Create a team for a local trivia night.

14. Lead a Girl Scout or Cub Scout troop.

15. Try a cooking class.

16. Be part of a local adult sports team - QC recreation centers have leagues for a variety of sports.

17. Attend a local craft class.

18. Invite an acquaintance to coffee.

19. Join your school's PTA.

20. Teach a Sunday School class.

21. Enroll in a class or workshop at one of the community colleges in the Quad Cities.

22. Volunteer to be on a board for a local nonprofit organization.

23. Get active in a local playgroup (or start one of your own).

24. Engage with other caregivers when you and your kids are the park, museum or public area.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Each of us can help keep kids safe and give them happy, healthy childhood.

And sometimes, that happy childhood begins with you. As caregivers, intentionally making connections in the community can help yourself and your children.