Monday, November 24, 2014

Making a Difference with Child Care

Sometimes I learn the most about how to make a difference when someone makes a difference in my life.  As a mother who lives hours away from family, this is especially true when it comes to child care.  Without the kindness of my church family, it would be so much harder to take a child to the doctor, go to the doctor myself, go on field trips, or even have a date with my hubby.  After seeing how helpful free and trustworthy child care has been in my life, I've been more open to keeping other people's kids, even though babysitting is not my favorite activity.  Here are some ways we can make a difference to moms and dads who need a little extra help.

  • When Mom has a baby.  I was fortunate to have my Mom available to me when both of my younger children were born, but not everyone is blessed to have a parent in driving distance.  If you know of a lady with children who is going to have another, find out if she has child care during the time she'll be in hospital. It will be a huge load off her mind to know her older kids are being taken care of.
  • Emergency child care. This can be short term or long term.  Helene knew of a family with four children whose parents died in a car accident.  Instead of going to foster care, two church families raised those kids.  That is an extreme example of emergency child care, but there are lots of smaller examples too.  Parents often find themselves in need of trustworthy care if a long term babysitter cancels or someone has to go the ER.
  • Date night.  All couples need some time to themselves, but date nights become prohibitively expensive when the cost of babysitting is thrown in. We have an arrangement with other young couples in our church to switch off watching each others' kids, but offering free babysitting expecting nothing in return can be a real help too.
  • Doctor's visits. I don't know of any parent who wants to take his or her child to one of "those" appointments.  Whether it is a pap smear or a prostate check, everyone would just as soon leave the little ones at home with someone trustworthy.
  • After school care.  There are lots of working Mammas struggling to make ends meet, and having someone to pick up their child and provide an hour or two of homework help might be just the thing they need to keep their heads above water.
  • School events.  Young moms often want to go on their child's first field trip or Christmas party, but younger siblings often aren't welcome when it comes time to chaperone the zoo trip. 
Now, I'm not suggesting that all child care should be given away for free.  I know several wonderful young women who keep children in their home as a business, and that is perfectly legitimate.  But sometimes in these tough situations, we need to reach out to our sisters and brothers and help with no thought of payment. (Acts 20:35; Matthew 6; Luke 14:12-14)

The wonderful thing about helping parents with child care in these scenarios is that almost anyone can do it.  Young, old, married, single, whether you have your own children or not, whether you even like children or not, most everyone can provide an hour or two of loving care to children of a parent in need. 


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