Parents’ Night Out

dating2Sometimes we get so wrapped up in dating, and spending fun time with our significant other, that we can easily forget to help others. Serving God is something that we should all be doing––and it is certainly something couples can do together (1 Peter 4:10). So this month, we’re going to focus on a small service we can do for other couples, specifically parents––allow them to have a free parents’ night out!

Talk to the elders at your church to get this event approved, then start planning. (If you can’t host the event at your church, host it in your home or a friend’s home.)

In advance

Choose a date and time (such as a Friday night, from 6:00 until 10:00 PM), then enlist help from a few friends. It may help to also have a responsible adult or two plan on attending the evening (but don’t stick them with the planning, clean-up, or childcare!) in order to make parents feel comfortable leaving their children, especially if the children are very young or have special needs.

Start announcing the event. This can be posted in the church bulletin, announced, and spread by word of mouth or e-mail. I suggest keeping the event limited to church members at first to keep the number of attendees smaller and familiar with one another. Once everyone has the hang of what to do, it can be spread into the community if future events are planned.

Plan food and activities. This should be kept simple. Pizza and kool-aid should be plenty, but people can also donate snacks or chips if they want to. If the church is sponsoring the event, it may be willing to pay for the food, but if not, the parents can all chip in a dollar or two per child. Keep in mind that the money is for food, not baby-sitting, so don’t overcharge! Activities can be as simple as having a few balls and board games set out to help occupy kids of all ages.

The night of

dating1Be early. If your evening begins at 6:00, be there at 5:30 to turn on the lights, set up the activities, and to make sure everything is ready and that dangerous objects are put away.

Get phone numbers. Have a sheet of paper and a pen handy––as parents arrive with their children, make sure they write down their names and cell phone numbers so you can contact them in case of an emergency. This would also be a good time to get any important information, such as allergies or special needs.

Keep track of who’s there. Know the kids’ names, and how many kids there are, then keep a running count, and don’t leave any of them alone. If someone has to use the restroom, a female babysitter can take them there while the other sitters stay with the other kids. Once a child leaves with his or her parents, simply cross that parent’s name off the list of phone numbers so you know which children are still there. Do not allow a child to leave with any other adult unless you received permission, in person, from the parent!

Clean up. After the event, clean everything up before leaving. Make sure to check the bathrooms for cleanliness, sweep all food crumbs, take out the trash, turn off the lights, and lock the doors.

Many parents don’t have the opportunity to date very often (the idea of weekly––or even monthly–– dates is often a long-forgotten concept), so feel good knowing that you gave several couples an opportunity to rejuvenate themselves and revive their romance (Proverbs 5:18).

By Davonne Parks

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