Purpose: To serve as a bridge between the community and the church. Mommy & Me (Daddy too) groups not only offer friendship and encouragement, they help caregivers by providing helpful advice and tips through a curriculum designed for parents with kids of the same age. That way, they’ll be meeting growth and developmental milestones at the same time. The list of topics that are discussed at these meetings can include the importance of routines and sleep, general baby care, infant massage, teething, and bonding.
How Do You Start One: Find a team of parents. God has reached out to you to fill this need in your parish. No previous experience needed. Dads, Mom, Grandparents, Caregivers…people in your community that help raise our next generation is who you are looking for. Then, designate responsibilities:
- Welcomer – Greets, registers parents and tots each week, gives out name tags.
- Snack time preparation – Sets up and does prayer with the children.
- Craft time– Demonstrates an inexpensive craft and records in binder for future reference.
- Story time– Reads two stories weekly – one Bible story, one fun story from the library.
- Room set-up – Includes coffee and tea for moms, sign-in table, play centers for children.Clean-up – Puts everything away and wipes down counters, tables etc.
Find a Place to Meet: A gym or open chapel. Also make sure that there is plenty of parking and signs. Discuss how your leaders want to handle snacks.
Supplies: Carpet for kids to run and play, organized games, floor toys (dress up, play-food, cars). Table top toys (crayons, paper, playdoug). Get inspiration through child development projects by other parents on Pinterest.
Cost: This should be discussed amongst your team of caregivers, priest, and parish council ministry guidelines. Most times its effective to have a small overhead for your ministry. $1 per child or $2 per family, please bring a piece of fruit or crackers for snack time.
As always, starting a new ministry at your parish isn’t going to be a walk in the park. It takes time and dedication to see this group through. Early childhood education research shows that this play is imperative to childhood development. It’s also important that Orthodox Christian parents of this generation have a network to reach out to.