As small group leaders we want to have great relationships with the parents of all our little ones. Yet often, Sunday after Sunday, we just can’t seem to make a connection. Parents often hurry in, eager to drop off their kids quickly so they can make it to service on time. After service can be just as harried, as parents pick them up, ready to beat the parking lot traffic or get to lunch. We gather each child’s belongings; his sweater, the Hot Wheels car he snuck in class in his pocket, we tie his shoe and hand him off with his craft, a smile, and just like that, they’re gone. As we catch our breath, we remember that we had hoped to have some kind of conversation with his parents today!

Well, maybe next week.

If trying to connect with all of the parents seems impossible, perhaps we could start with connecting with just one. We can choose one family—just one— to connect with each Sunday! Choose a child and listen for connecting points to use to have a quick, encouraging conversation with his parents at pick up time. Like. . .

–It might be a comment he made or question he answered during the Bible story. Parents love to hear that their child was engaged during the lesson or that they child knew the answer to the question!

–It might be a prayer request that he shared during small group time. Letting parents know that we will be praying for them during the week is a great first step in establishing a relationship. It’s the perfect way for them to know that we really care about their child and his family. We’re not just there to fill a time slot on Sunday.

–It might be one of the ever-so-rare sharing moments that we see in the preschool world; or an encouraging/kind word that he said to another child during class. Preschoolers are all about “ME” so hearing that their child was kind to others is very encouraging to parents.

At check out, we can share that one shining moment of the day with his parents. While that initial conversation may be short and sweet, it’s still a beginning. And it will make the next conversation even easier. Once we have made that connection, the parents will begin to look for us; whether to share a good report from preschool or a prayer request, but now it’s a relationship that both sides can contribute to with more ease.

And next week, we can start over to connect with another family!

And the next! And the next! And the next!

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Barbara Graves

Barbara loves God, children's ministry, coffee, the Braves, and her granddaughter Eden-Grace. She's been in ministry for over 30 years and wishes she didn't have to sleep so she could write, teach, and read a little more.

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