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Thursday, February 9, 2012

What About Childcare for Small Groups?

Question: What do you do about childcare for small groups?

When it comes to small groups, you should stay out of the childcare business, no matter how much pressure you get to take on the responsibility. Believe me when I tell you that, if you don’t make this decision on the front end, childcare will become a growth barrier and logistical nightmare as your number of small groups grow.

The best solution is to empower each small group to be responsible for its own childcare needs. If you struggle with this issue, here are some creative and workable options:
1 – Have everyone in the group who has children pitch in financially to hire a baby sitter or two every week. When all of the parents give a little the cost is surprisingly minimal.
2 – Set up a rotation where a different couple in the group baby sits the children each week. Make sure no one has to baby sit more that once or twice during the semester.
3 – Challenge every couple with children to find a solution before coming to group (baby sitter, relative, etc.). After all, they have to find childcare when they go out on a date or have a work function. Most parents have several childcare options.
4 – Create a child-friendly group where parents are encouraged to bring their children. This works best with moms’ groups who meet during the day and plan their group around activities for the children.

These are just a few of the many options available to you. The big point is: Don’t get roped into providing the childcare solutions for your groups or for the group you HOST. Let the group attenders come up with creative solutions themselves, with some helpful input from you.

Take a few minutes to brainstorm other potential childcare options. What have you seen work? What would you like to try? Get some other people involved in this conversation and see where it leads.

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