Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Communicating with Families

Communicating with our Families is something that we all struggle with.  There are lots of ways that people try to connect.  Some are on Facebook, some text, some email, some prefer to have a phone call, and some really like to have something tangible in their hand that they can take home.  All of these are great ways to get information out to families and I would suggest using all of them if you can because no one thing will connect with everyone.  Here are a few of the things that we do at my church to try to keep our families and the church informed of what is going on in our Children's Department.

Each month we put out a one page (front and back) newsletter that briefly highlights upcoming activities and includes a calendar of events for the next month or two so that our families can easily have all the dates in one place and can put them on their calendars.

Family Files
We have a literal file box at our sign in table with a file for every family.  We put any type of paper communication (like our newsletter) that might be necessary for them in it.  It is also an easy place to put a Sunday School paper that was left accidentally (or barrette, or toy) or any type form that might have been asked for by the family.  Putting these items in the file is much easier than trying to track everyone down in between services. And since the Families know where the files are, it is easy to simply say, "Jenny left her hair bow today. I put it in your family file."  It's also a good way for us to keep families from falling through the cracks.  If I put a newsletter in a Family File on the first Sunday of the month, and it is still there at the end of the month, if it had not been done already, that is a good reminder to send them a note and let them know they have been missed.

We are in a world where nearly everyone is online and most of those people are on Facebook.  So an easy place to connect with your parents is there.  We have a Facebook page just for our Children's Ministry.  This are great because you can remind people about upcoming events, post pictures (with permission), and generally let the families know what it going on in the Children's Department.  SIDE NOTE:  This is not to communicate or promote events to the children, but with their parents.  You have to be 13 to have a Facebook page.  I know that some kids have Facebook, but in order to get an account, they or their parents had to lie to set it up.  That is not something that I want to encourage so I do not respond to Friend Requests of those that I know are younger than 13.

As I said, there are lots of ways to connect with our families.  Written notes, email, text messages, bulletin boards, bulletin announcements, and even tweets can be a great way to keep in touch.  Find out what is the best tool for your families and then don't be shy about using those connections. 

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