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Toddler/Pram Services: What makes them good/bad?

(10 Posts)
morningpaper Tue 01-Mar-05 16:43:36

Having just come back from our monthly pram service where we were (again) the only people there (Vicar & his wife, Lay Reader & his wife and me and dd!) I'm interested in how other churches pram services work and what's good and bad about them.

Ours is on the first Tuesday of the month at 2.30pm and lasts for 30 minutes. Afterwards there is tea/biscuits and toys in the church hall.

The service itself:

(Sit around in a circle in the Lady Chapel in the main church. Banging instruments.)
- Hymn
- Prayer
- Hymn
- Story
- Hymn
That's about it, all very informal.

Good points:
- the Vicar obviously likes children
- it's very informal
- there's a chance to meet and chat afterwards

Bad points:
- the 'instruments' are fashioned from old washing up bottles
- no one attends
- it's not very exciting

morningpaper Tue 01-Mar-05 19:19:03

is this topic more dull than paint-drying?

SoftFroggie Tue 01-Mar-05 19:58:43

So that's what a pram service is! I was wondering.

Well, I'd love to go to one - but I'd be put off if there weren't at least a handful of other kids. And some nicer instruments would be a bonus - I do like a decent maraca (sp?).

Only way to get people along is word of mouth - so you are better off asking your friends why they don't come, than asking us. Why not ask them what they would like?

We go to a church singing group - several kids songs and a story, followed by tea, biscuits and play. twice a month - one Christian (Christian kids songs, Bible story) one non-Christian (general songs, general kids story). run by mothers with support from the old women of the church on the tea-front. The vicar only goes for the Christmas special. So it's more of a 'singing group' than a service.

Personally, kids still sleep in the afternoon, so I only do things in the morning - so actually, I wouldn't go to yours cos of the timing.

HTH??

morningpaper Tue 01-Mar-05 20:01:51

Thanks softfroggie! All of my (few) friends that attend church go to other churches. There have been other people dropping into the pram service, but no one regularly. I think the lack of children does put people off!

ionesmum Thu 03-Mar-05 21:39:26

Sorry MP - only just spotted this thread.

Well, we live in a small village and our service is attended by an average of ten children, although we have has as many as twenty, and now the Reception class from the village scholl are to join us for the major festivals, We even have people coming five miles to join us!

We are a group run by mums, and we are jointly aided by the Anglican and Baptist churches. So we are non-denominational. Most families that come don't attend either of our churches reguarly; they are either RCs or just don't go.

We don't have toys, instead we have crafts that are themed to the story of the day. For example, the children decorated fish and we put their names on, and the children played a fishing game. Then that night, they prayed for the person who had made the fish that they had 'caught'. (The calling of the fishermen) Or for The Good Samaritan, the children made little baskets out of envelopes, decorated them, and filled them with a range of Fairtrade samples. They then took it home to give to a neighbour.

We use bottle shakers for our music too!

Publicity is important. It does help that the Baptist church run a (non-religious) toddler group, so we get publicity there. Also the local papers have both featured us, and we are in all the local listings.

Our services do take a lot of effort. I write handouts for the parents to take home, with ideas to use with the children, some thoughts on the story from an adult perspective and ideas for reflection and prayer. My friend who does the crafts spends hours preparing all the bits and ordering materials. Another friend does the same with the music. A group of older ladies bake cakes and biscuits. We have a super-efficient secretary who produces wonderful minutes of all our meetings and sorts out our listings.

Sorry - dd2 is awake - I will post more as soon as I can - she has an ear infection

ionesmum Thu 03-Mar-05 21:53:02

Sorry about that.

MP,we also have spent somewhere in the region of £500 on equipment - but then the Anglican church had nothing at all for little ones. The Baptists already had things like bean bags.

Maybe you need to go to your church and put together a team of people to run this. And ask your friends too - our secretary doesn't go to church at all. And do you have another denomination close by? We wanted very strongly to involve the Baptist church because we wanted to share the fellowship as far as possible, and we couldn't do it without them.

I'd be happy to discuss this more by e-mail, and I could send you some samples of crafts and handouts etc. (if you do get in touch my e-mail address is an old one of dh's but don't let that put you off - it's entirely private and I'm not some weird bloke pretending to be a mum!)

morningpaper Fri 04-Mar-05 09:07:54

Thanks Inoesmum, just spotted this! I will give this some thought and be in touch with you. x

toomanypushchairs Sun 06-Mar-05 13:30:49

There is a pram service at our local CofE, it is every thursday morning and at least half of the mums&children go to other churches. It is run by the vicar, his wife helps, much along the same lines as you have said, but I believe they have communion. Not sure how that works.(I don't actually go, but am friends with the vicars wife!)

Ameriscot2005 Sun 06-Mar-05 13:39:06

We had a toddler service (Praise Tots) at our church several years back, but it fizzled out due to lack of leaders (leaders moved on when their children did).

I enjoyed it, though. Our vicar wasn't involved, but his wife and young daughter were participants. It tended to be a bit of singing, a story, a craft, more singing (with shakers and ribbons), some simple prayers - then the all important juice and biscuits.

I was going to suggest to Outreach team that we re-instate this service, but don't want to be the one to run it....

ionesmum Sun 06-Mar-05 15:09:50

Ameriscot, I proposed our pram services initially. I knew there was a need as I couldn't get to church on a Sunday morning. So I decided that if that was what I wanted then I would have to go ahead and run it. I was nervous, pushed for time and energy and didn't know where to start, but once I'd made the suggestion the Holy Spirit really got to work. So many people came forward with offers of help and suggestions, and we built the team that we have now, each of us being able to offer our time and talent to God in helping his little ones to grow in faith. If this is what you want to do, have faith and go ahead - God will be with you!

We wish ours could be weekly but as we're all mums we don't get the time.

MP, look forward to hearing from you.

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