Firstly apologies, I feel like I have not been around in ages, I have not really had any desire to write anything much really, if you read my what a week post, you will know that I have been settling into a new routine with BB and big school. This week his phased start finally came to an end, and he is in properly Monday to Friday from 9am-3pm. I am quite happy about this, as the phased days and drop off and pick ups at differing times have definitely taken their toll on me. I am tired, though BB seems to be fine. It’s a new routine for me, and I am just about starting to get on board with it.
Our church has also set up a toddler group, which I am overseeing. It’s been running for a few weeks now, and is going very well. The planning stage, and set up before the first group was a bit full on, but I think we are getting there and doing a good job.
The toddler group was borne out of a heart to serve our local community. There are lots of parent, toddler groups around, however we really felt that our church was missing this ministry and we wanted to encourage and build connections and friendships with local families. For us, it’s important to be a group that can support parents, listening where they need a listening ear, praying for a particular issue if they would like us to, and being that visible presence in our community.
Parent and toddler groups can be a funny thing. I admit I was always quite nervous (still am a bit) about turning up somewhere new for the first time. ‘Will people speak to me? Will I be made to feel welcome?’
Now I can say that I have also been nervous about it from the other side of helping to run a group. ‘Will people turn up? Will they like us? Will they feel welcome and come back?’ Somehow it’s helpful to me to feel like this, it’s reassuring to think that maybe when I was attending other groups in the past that those running it may have been just as anxious about how it would all turn out, as I was about going.
Our first week saw about 6 children with adults, whilst our second week had 12 children with adults and this week we had 18 children. All the parents, carers we have met have been encouraging and positive, and certain that we will have lots more kids and parents in no time.
It’s a wonderful ministry to be a part of, I am really enjoying it. It doesn’t come without some teething issues here and there, but the team of people who are all helping are great.
Something that has been helpful for me, is remembering that God has this. When I feel worried about who will turn up, he already knows, when I feel worried about whether we can set up on time, he already knows. This gives me peace, and the ability to enjoy myself, and do what I’m meant to be doing which is talking to the parents that are coming.
Now I have been on both sides, one piece of advice that I would give to myself if I was thinking about going to a group, would be to just go. Many groups are friendly and welcoming and are there to support parents, the people that help out, want you to be there, they want to talk to you. Sure, unfortunately there are a few groups that can be a bit cliquey, but if you arrive at a group like that and don’t like it, you can leave. Just know that most aren’t that way. Don’t let a bad experience put you off, of going somewhere, where you can meet other awesome parents who want to know about you, and how you are doing. Your stories, and things that you have been through, can really help build others up. Be courageous fabulous Mummy’s.
I would love to know what your experiences of parent and toddler groups are, good or bad.