Meredith Curtis

Include the children or not? Provide activities for them in another room of the house or not? Small groups consisting of young couples often face such questions. Some groups opt for a "no children except nursing babies" policy. This can work if everyone has access to a trusted babysitter and can afford the expense. However, many young couples are struggling financially.

If your small group is wondering, "What do we do with the kids?" here are some solutions to consider.

Hire a baby-sitter for the entire group.

She can keep the children in another room or at a nearby house. The entire group chips in to pay her. She could just baby-sit or provide spiritually nurturing activities for the children.

Ask group members to rotate as baby-sitters.

This can only work if everyone commits to take a turn. The advantage is that all the adults build relationships with the children. The disadvantage is missing the meeting.

Couples swap children with couples from another small group that meets on a different night.

The Smiths watch the Johnson children when the Johnsons go to small group on Tuesday. On Thursday, the Johnson's watch the Smith children so their parents can attend their small group.

Children participate for part of the meeting.

They could join in for singing or icebreakers. For the rest of the time, they might watch a video in another room with an adult or teen supervisor.

Children stay for the entire meeting.

Older children can fully participate, and the younger ones can color or read picture books. This requires that your meetings offer something for all age levels.