CHILDCARE OPTIONS AND IDEAS
Various options for Small Group childcare:
- Hire a babysitter to watch children in another room at the meeting place.
- Hire a babysitter to watch children in another group member’s house, condo, or apartment.
- Have teens in Small Group watch younger children.
- Allow kids to play in another room unattended (depending on age).
- No childcare, instead involve the children in all the Small Group meeting.
- No childcare, instead involve the children in parts of the Small Group meeting.
- Assign and rotate a different Small Group member or two Small Group members each week to handle childcare.
- Parents pay for babysitting in their own homes. Perhaps several parents who live nearby can go in together.
- Assign and rotate a backup group member to watch new people who bring children or in case childcare arrangements fall through.
Various options for financing childcare
- Church reimburses at a specified rate for each babysitter (Small Group Leader fill out form, money to be sent to parents who paid.)
- Each Small Group member pays for their own childcare without choosing reimbursement.
- Small Group pitches in, even if there are very few receiving childcare since the Body of Christ needs to “look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil 2:4).
Various options for coordinating childcare arrangements
- The SG host is responsible (best option).
- Rotate responsibility within the group.
Various resources to provide for childcare
- Christian videos
- Reading books for different age groups
- Games and puzzles
- Coloring and activity books
- Craft books
- Bible lessons
- Bible activities
Various groups or individuals that could be recruited for childcare
- Workers from the “Approved Childcare” list (theassembly.org/smallgroups/leader-resources/)
- “Grandparents”—older members of the church-especially those who don’t have grandkids or those whose grandchildren live far away.
- Others adult members of other Small Groups who don’t meet during that time.
- Rotate adult members of the Small Group.
Various options for teaching children in the Small Group
- Children play and childcare workers interact with them, looking for teachable moments.
- Application based on children’s Sunday Small Group lessons.
- Lessons that go along with parents’ Bible study—gives family opportunity to discuss study together later.
- Once a month (or quarter) devote to family night.
- Incorporate “family time” as part of each Small Group meeting.
- Assign different families to plan this time.
- Rotate children’s activity stations (crafts, games, reading-aloud, etc.)
Various options for incorporating “family time” in SG meetings
- Group drama
- Tell stories
- Illustrate key parts of the Bible with drawings made together (murals are especially fun)
- Anything created during the family time can be saved in a scrapbook to remind children of what was learned and the fun had in doing it.
- Snack time
- Icebreakers for children
- Celebrate both adult and children’s birthdays and other key events.
- Group sharing includes children
LEADER CHECKLIST TO GO OVER WITH GROUP
1. What is the childcare policy for your group?
[ ] No children are present except for nursing infants
[ ] Intergenerational—we include all children
[ ] Group members take turns caring for children
[ ] We hire a babysitter for the whole group
[ ] Group members take care of their own childcare
[ ] Other
2. Where should childcare be provided?
[ ] In the same house as the Bible study, but in a separate room
[ ] At another group member’s house
[ ] Wherever individual parents can arrange it
[ ] Other
3. Who pays for childcare each meeting?
[ ] All of the members who have children
[ ] The whole group
[ ] Each member pays their own childcare worker
[ ] The group leader submits reimbursement for each member who uses childcare (payable to the group member, not the group leader).
4. What resources will be provided for childcare providers and who will provide it?
[ ] Christian videos such as Veggie Tales
[ ] Reading books for different age groups
[ ] Games, puzzles, and toys for different age groups
[ ] Coloring and activity books
[ ] Other options
5. What groups or individuals are available for childcare?
[ ] Teenagers from the youth group
[ ] “Grandparents”—older members of the church who are willing to help
[ ] A rotation of members from our own group
[ ] A rotation of members from other groups that meet on a different night of the week, and then we return the favor
[ ] A pool of childcare workers used by all the group members
6. Who is responsible for finding and resourcing childcare workers?
[ ] The small-group leader
[ ] A designated person in each group
[ ] Each member is responsible for their own
[ ] Other options
7. What are the children taught?
[ ] It depends—children play and childcare workers interact with them, looking for teachable moments
[ ] Applications based on recent Sunday school lessons
[ ] Lessons that correspond with their parents’ Bible study
[ ] A program developed specifically for this situation
[ ] Nothing in particular
Copyright © 2007 Christianity Today International. Used with permission from Smallgroups.com.
Allen, H. (2010). Children Love Small Groups!: How to Have Successful Children’s Group Time. Retrieved from www.smallgroups.com.
Lentz, D. (2010). Rolling Out the Welcome Mat. Retreived from www.smallgroups.com. Mack, M. (1992). Small Groups, Small Children, Big Concern. Lookout Magazine. Standard Publishing, Cincinnati, OH.
Mack, M. (1995). Adventures in Babysitting. Lookout Magazine. Standard Publishing, Cincinnati, OH.
Watson, J. (2010). Childcare Ideas for Small Groups. Retrieved from www.firstfree.com/smallgroups.html.