How to Make Your Community Group Kid Friendly

by Nov 19, 2019Kids0 comments

This post is part of a series from our Kids in CG workshop, which was all about helping families thrive in community group. You can find other posts and audio from that workshop by clicking here.

Welcoming families with children into your community group is no small feat, but below is a 3-step method that has worked time and again for groups at Vintage.

Think of these three steps more like a conversation than an action plan. You as the leader have full permission to not have the answers on how to make your group kid-friendly. To arrive at the best fit for your group you’ll need everyone’s input, their most creative solutions, and ultimately their investment in helping make the solution happen. And, like most conversations, you’ll likely return to these topics often. Think of this process more like a cycle than a sequence; you’ll probably go through steps 1-3 many times during the life of your group.

Here are the three steps, with a breakdown below:

Step 1: Assess the situation.

Step 2: Talk about your options as a group.

Step 3: Implement new tactics and plan to reassess.

Step 1: Assess the situation.

This is as straightforward as it sounds, you need to figure out what’s currently going on in your group before you start making any changes. Some groups will just start implementing kid-friendly aspects once folks in their group start having kids. Others will need to figure out what about their group makes it difficult for families to join or keep participating.

For this step, take time to think through the specific pain points for your specific group. Are parents not wanting to participate because going to CG means their kids get to bed late? Do parents visit once but never come back? Are the needs of kids in the group distracting adults from quality time in discussion? You’ll need to talk to any parents in your group (or ones that have visited your group) to really get a handle on what these pain points are, otherwise you run the risk of implementing a solution that doesn’t actually solve the problems your group is facing. You can easily have those conversations with parents individually before moving to a discussion as a group.

 

Step 2: Talk about your options as a group.

First, do a little homework to figure out what options are out there. We recommend a two list approach, which you’ll see outlined in this post with a ton of ideas. For an overview, this approach consists of 1. providing spaces for kids in CG while 2. making your group generally more kid-friendly. For example, that might involve 1. setting up a rotation of who is going to hang with the kids during CG and 2. choosing to meet at a home with a really good backyard so the kids can run around. Having these two things in place will ensure that kids are taken care of and families actually enjoy being in a community group.

Now that you have an idea of what the problems are and what some possible solutions might be, take time to have a conversation as a group. This is where your group members will help you both determine and execute a solution. Figuring out how to accommodate families will likely ask something of everyone, so it’s important that you hear from everyone in this conversation and that your group members feel heard by the group. It’s vitally important, though, that everyone owns a piece of the solution and is willing to carry their weight in helping your group function. That could look like your group rallying around the one mom by changing your meeting time so she can be there, or even the folks with no kids pitching in to pay for a sitter. Strive, as much as you possibly can, for this conversation to have the tone of, “We’re all in this together.”

Now, you might arrive at a solution pretty quickly, or you might have to hash things out for a while. If you’re the kind of person who always just wants to pull the trigger on something, you should know that there’s no rush, so take the time to find a solution that fits your group. If you’re the kind of person who always wants to have a perfect plan in place before taking action, you should know that you’re probably going to have to tweak the plan in like two weeks so just pull the trigger.

 

Step 3:Implement new tactics and plan to reassess

Whatever you’ve decided on as a group, go for it! Take stock of how it’s going, and keep an open dialogue with your group members. Plan to revisit the strategy frequently at first, maybe every week or other week as you figure out what works and what doesn’t. Once you feel like you’ve hit your stride, plan to revisit every six months or with every new addition to your group or major life change in the group. These follow ups will likely be shorter than the first conversation, especially when it’s just a check in to see if everything is still working.