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I have my own set of parent cards in case it's easier to hand over my card to another parent who wishes to exchange contact details to set up a playdate for the kids. For example, at a kids sports match outdoors - the sun glare on the cellphone can make it hard to type in each other's contact numbers.
Here are some do's and don'ts for what to put on your personal business cards (also known as parent cards or mommy cards):
- Have the important things listed on your card: typically this would be your first and last name, your cellphone number and email.
- Use an easy-to-read font for phone number and email. This need not mean a boring generic font - slab fonts combine a fun family-oriented style with readability, for example. You don't want your new contact to accidentally reach out to a stranger due to reading the phone number or email incorrectly.
- In particular, make sure the number 1 and the letter l are clearly distinguishable, and likewise the number 0 and the letter o. If only one of these appears in your email address, it should be clear at a glance which one it is.
- On the other hand, when it comes to your name, feel free to get creative with a fancy or decorative font, and use any designs or colors you wish to put on your card to express yourself. There are plenty of options for different styles of personal business cards at Etsy.com
- Include your address unless you have a good reason to do so. I prefer omitting the address, because if you need to exchange addresses at a later point to set up a playdate, you can do that via text message. This way, your parent contact card can double up as a personal business card for other reasons. For example, if you're in a book club and wish to pass along just your phone number and email address to the others, you can simply hand out your card without handing out more personal details than you might want. In general, don't put too much information on your personal business cards, especially considering you might be handing it out to someone you don't yet know really well.
Important things to consider for parent contact cards
Think whether you wish to include your children's name(s) on the card. That choice is personal. I don't have my kids listed on mine, and I recommend that approach for several reasons:
- What if you're not done having kids?
- Often times, the contact between you and another parent might be mainly via one of your kids and not the other(s). Having more than one name there might be confusing to the other parent because they then have to remember which one is their child's contact
- Having your children's names there might make you less likely to want to also use the card for grown-up purposes (e.g. a personal business card to give out at book club as mentioned earlier) if that is important to you
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If you do choose to include your children's names, I recommend omitting their ages (which will change) and their birthdates (which is private information). Here is an example of the writing on a parent card with the children's names on:
mom to Ezra, Jamie and Addison
[phone number] [email]
Your hobbies or interests
If you have a hobby or interest you're particularly passionate about you should think whether you want to include it on your card. On mine, I did this using hashtags to make it look fun.
If you do crafts, for example, you can put #Crafter. More than one interest is fine, although you won't want to overwhelm your personal card (or the other parent!) with every last one of your interests. I would recommend keeping it from 1 to 3 main interests. This approach also helpful if you want to mention a side business without necessarily giving the other parent your actual formal business card, for example if you do freelance graphic design you can put #GraphicDesign or #GraphicDesigner.
If you're a private person, you might not necessarily want to trumpet your interests and instead have this information come out organically as you get to know the other parent and child. But if you have a niche interest or hobby (e.g. in my case #Linux), it can be helpful to list it in case the other parent happens to also have that interest. I don't otherwise tend to bring up the niche stuff in conversation because I'm aware that not everyone is going to have that in common or want to know much about it. In general, having your interests shown on your contact card can help build friendships easier with other parents and have something you can talk about on the adult level. As an added bonus it lets you ask about their interests without seeming nosy since yours are already listed on your card! But ultimately it's a personal decision whether to include this on your parent card.
I would not recommend putting your children's interests on the cards because these can change quickly, and the other parent presumably knows you through one of those interests anyway (e.g. sports team, dance class, etc).
Where to buy personal business cards for parents
You can also buy personalized parent contact cards from Etsy.com and if you're willing to put in extra time and effort you can create your own designs from scratch at print services such as UPrinting.
Playdate cards - what they are and whether you should have them
Playdate cards are a somewhat newer trend, and they're different from parent cards. Playdate cards are shown from the point of view of the child, while parent cards or mommy calling cards go from the point of view of the parent. For example, typical text on playdate cards might read something like this:
Have your parent text my parent [parent name] at [number] so we can hang out
Your friend, [child name]
The text on playdate cards can vary quite a bit, there's a lot of cute and whimsical ways of doing it. Before rushing in and buying a set of playdate cards with your hard-earned money, here are the pros and cons.
Pros of playdate cards
- Gets the message across in a cute and friendly way
- Your social child will love this concept
- Lets your kids pick up on the idea that you care about their social life and their friendships
Cons of playdate cards
- If you have more than 1 child, you'd have to print a set for each child and then make sure you hand out the one for the correct child to the other parent
- It won't be appropriate for doing double duty as a grown-up contact card
The choice is yours whether to get playdate cards or parent contact cards. Be aware that playdate cards apply to a specific age range: they are great for the preschool and early elementary school years. But once they're at 4th grade or above your child will prefer to set up get-togethers on their own, or at the very least they'll be embarrassed by what they feel is a baby-ish contact card.
By comparison, I was able to hand over my minimalist, grown-up looking parent contact card to my 12 year old son's friend's mom - without my child being embarrassed!
Where to buy playdate cards
I recommend the playdate cards on Etsy.com because there are lots of cute designs on offer. Be aware that some of the playdate cards available at Etsy are not physical cards but digital downloads; read product descriptions carefully to ensure you're getting a physical card. The digital downloads are intended for people who want to handle the editing of the text themselves and have it printed at a print shop of their choice - and that sounds like way too much work for a busy parent!
In this article I covered the do's and don'ts of what to put on your parent cards and an explanation of playdate cards.
Regardless of whether you do parent cards or playdate cards, being able to hand over a card can at times be more convenient than typing in a new contact on your phone on the spot. You don't need both types of cards though! Unless you love having lots of different cute business cards, I don't recommend doing playdate cards and parent contact cards, especially if you have more than one child.