“Is there going to be childcare?”
It’s a question I wish I could always answer with a resounding. “YES!”
But the truth is in all three churches I’ve served we’ve had to limit our childcare offerings.
Can you relate to these childcare issues?
- Not enough volunteers (or paid staff) to cover every event.
- Most of your volunteers are women, so when they serve they miss the event.
- Your budget limits the number of times you can offer childcare.
- There aren’t enough trained workers (with background checks) to serve at all of your events.
- When you offer it, not enough women use it so the perception is it’s not needed.
- You require registration, but kids show up that weren’t registered so you’re not staffed within the allowable teacher/child ratios your church has set forth.
Fact is there are women (whether they are single moms, their husbands work late, or their husband has plans) that cannot come unless you provide childcare.
Many of those same women can’t afford to pay a babysitter so they can come to a Women’s Ministry event. Truthfully, even if they can (or could) afford a sitter, many women would choose to use that babysitter time for something other than attending a women’s ministry function at church…
If a lack of workers is one of your issues, perhaps one of these ideas will help:
- Enlist the help of Youth and College students .
- Rotate volunteers (2 serve, each half the time so no one misses the whole event). Maybe you could allow those volunteers to attend the event for free in return.
- Require everyone in your Bible study to serve 1 week in the childcare program.
- Give each small/discussion group 1 week to serve together.
- Work with your Children’s Ministry Director or church Childcare coordinator to train more people.
- Increase the pay scale (charge for childcare, raise event prices, request more budget funds).
If moms with little ones aren’t coming to your events, here are a few ways you can encourage those mamas to come with their children in tow:
- Schedule your event with an earlier start and earlier end time so little ones won’t be up too late. When weighing a cranky toddler against a women’s ministry event sleep will win!
- Try not to schedule your event during traditional dinner time. I would aim for a 6:30 PM start time.
- Provide a healthy snack and let the moms know you are doing so – there may be allergy issues.
- Moms, childcare workers, and even the kids don’t want to be “stuck” in a room for a long period of time. Try to keep events to 1 ½ or 2 hours. Provide opportunities for the children to get out of the room – playground, gym, baby buggie, etc.
- Provide age-appropriate Biblical activities – don’t miss the opportunity to share about Jesus!
You may be at a church where “precedent setting” is the bigger issue. If your team feels childcare is needed, schedule a meeting with your pastor (with you, not the whole team or they’ll feel ganged-up on) to share your concerns. Cover the situation in prayer and ask God to move/provide what is needed.
It may not always be possible or feasible to provide childcare for every women’s ministry event, or every church event for that matter.
Providing childcare provides moms the opportunity to attend when they may not be able to otherwise.
Your turn to share: What tips do you have for other leaders that are struggling to provide childcare?
One year ago: My Message in a Box (for Operation Christmas Child)
Two years ago: Seven Super Survey Questions