When you’re a parent with young children, things can get a little lonely. It can be even harder if you’re a stay at home parent who doesn’t have regular contact with other adults. Getting out of the house can be hard but meeting up with other parents can help. Parent and baby/toddler groups give you a chance to chat and allow your children to socialise too. However, it’s not always easy to find a group to join. If you’re a church member, your church could be the perfect place to start a new parents and toddlers group. Before you embark on your journey, you should consider these important issues.
Assessing If Your Church Is Suitable
If you think your church might be a good place for a parent and toddler group, you to consider what your needs are. The first thing you need is a suitable space. Many churches have small rooms where you can adjust the layout. Others might only have the main part of the church, but it could still be suitable. If you have church chairs that you can move around, instead of fixed pews, you might be able to use the space. Of course, you have to approach the church about renting some space. Many churches already rent their space for a variety of purposes to provide income. You will also need facilities to make drinks and snacks, as well as toilet facilities.
Safety and Legal Matters
Another way to consider if your church is a suitable place is to consider the safety and legal aspects of it. Firstly, you’ll want the space to be accessible for people with disabilities and pushchairs. You also need to think about things like the heating, access to water, and hygiene. It’s essential to think about safety too, as the church may not usually be set up to be suitable for children. Some of the things you might need to think about include putting latches on cupboard doors or making sure the exits are secure. Part of keeping everyone safe involves preparing the space. But you will also need to establish clear rules for the group.
Setting up a parent and toddler group won’t be free, but you can do it for a relatively low cost. You will need to make a list of the things you need to make your group fun and sociable for both parents and children. For example, you might want to have a supply of toys and other tools to make it an enjoyable experience for children. You could get these things in a variety of ways, from buying brand new items to asking for donations. If there will be drinks and snacks, you’re going to need items such as plates, cutlery, and cups for both adults and children. You may also need things like changing mats, a first aid kit and perhaps some kitchen items like a kettle.
Funding Your Group
Your group may need some funding to pay for rent and other items such as food and drink. You should think about the best way to find the money you need, depending on the goals of your group. If you want the group to be free, you need to find a way to fund it other than asking attendees to contribute. You could look for funding opportunities or, if possible, even pay for it out of your own pocket. Otherwise, you could ask for a small amount from parents who attend. Work out how many people you need to come and how much you need to charge to make your group work.
Opening Your Group to the Wider Community
Your next thing to think about should be who your group is for. Beyond it catering to parents and children, will it be restricted to a certain group? You might spot a need for a dads’ group or one that encourages both mums and dads. Perhaps it’s for members of your church or parents of twins and triplets. A specialist group might be successful, but you might also have to consider a more inclusive one. Opening your group to the wider local community can ensure you get more people to attend regularly.
Promote Your Group
Try to find a diverse range of places to promote your group so that you can reach more people. You can ask about advertising in the church but think of other places too. There might be a noticeboard at your local library, supermarket or doctor’s surgery.
A parent and toddler group at your church could be a success. But make sure you have a solid plan before you get going.
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