Some aspects of parenting are more fun than others. Snuggling with clean kiddos after bath time, swinging at the park and reading bedtime stories are some of my favorites. Keeping up with everyone’s summer schedules is definitely not my favorite. Making sure each child arrives at school, appointments and activities on time is practically a full-time job! Parenting four children with a wide range of ages makes it even more complicated.
This is one of the reasons we look forward to summer so much! It means we have 8-10 weeks of a break from the normal rigors of the school schedule, homework, packing lunches and running kids from activity to activity. Most families still have their children in some short term activities, but summer is the time for a more laid back schedule. Many families plan their vacation during the summer as well. They take advantage of a season with less on the calendar to be able to get away for a longer period of time as a family.
However, church life continues during the summer months, which makes it a tricky time for scheduling for everyone; staff, volunteers and members!
It’s important during this time to be understanding, forgiving and, most importantly, organized.
A couple of tips to do so:
Be flexible with your scheduling (I can’t stress this enough!}
- Make sure your staff and ministry leaders know to give you advance notice of any vacations they are going to be taking, so you can adjust accordingly.
- It is much easier to be flexible with advance notice.
- With this advance notice you can put the information into your Church Management Software and keep it all in one place.
- Although you might be short staffed, try your hardest to not cancel events during the summer.
- Request help to cover Bible study groups or other activities when necessary.
- Have a system set up so it is easy for people to request help. This may mean establishing certain staff members to help with this scheduling or even a place online where they can submit their request.
Don’t make people feel badly or call them out if they can’t attend
- This applies to staff, church leaders and members as well!
- Trying to make them feel guilty isn’t going to help anyone. People don’t respond well to guilt trips.
- Instead make sure to highlight people that step up to the challenges and really help you out when you need it. Positive feedback is a much better approach.
Let people meet in smaller groups if it’s easier during the summer
- If groups are having a hard time finding time to meet, let them split up into smaller groups that meet at different times. This is the time for creativity and flexibility.
- Use your ChMS to have a calendar that everyone can see when groups are meeting, so if one time doesn’t work for them they might be able to join another group for a week.
Make events fun, throw parties!
- Make people want to schedule their busyness around your events, because it will be so much fun!!
- Make sure the events are fun, engaging, well promoted and the dates and times are announced well in advance.
Lastly, make it easy for parents with kids
- Summer can be a challenging time for parents, and they don’t always have someone to watch their kids.
- Allow them to bring their kids to groups and meetings, and at big events have childcare available to make it easier on them.
Be prepared to be flexible this summer and make sure you use all of your resources to get there.
What are some other ways you have found to keep people connected despite crazy summer schedules?