There is not always one solution for how to manage childcare. As you grow together as a Small Group community, different solutions may work better for different seasons, and some combinations may be helpful as well. Consider seven ways to provide childcare during the Small Group gathering:
- Have each family provide their own childcare.
- Provide childcare as a group (either on-site or off-site). Doing this can help cut costs.
- Allow infants in the group discussion time.
- Consider having older children watch the younger children.
- If your group sometimes meets separately in Men’s and Women’s gatherings, consider having the men watch the children on the women’s gathering nights, and vice versa.
- Occasionally: one couple (or single) could watch the kids on-site. Be careful with this option permanently since it can feel like the whole group never all meets together (because someone is always gone watching the kids).
- Have the children involved in the Small Group meetings. This will depend on the age.
You can also creatively combine some of the above options in ways that fit the needs of your group: for instance, if you usually have parents personally pay for an at-home babysitter (Option 1); why not occasionally try a night where a couple watches the kids (Option 6)?
We understand that childcare is often an essential part of helping a group with families grow in Christ-likeness. Although childcare is important, it is even more valuable to incorporate children into the Small Group community as much as possible. As we follow Jesus together, this allows us our children to also grow in their discipleship and Christ-likeness.
See also our resource Helping Children Belong in Small Groups for ten ways to include children in your Small Group.