Date night for parents is a cherished thing when you have little kids. The idea of putting on your best clothes for a night out sounds dreamy to most parents, especially to the mom who always has Cheerios stuck to her pants. As a church, you have the amazing opportunity to encourage the parents in your congregation to head out for date night by offering a popular event: Parents’ Night Out.
By hosting a Parents’ Night Out at your church, you not only show place value on marriage, but you also provide a safe space for parents to drop off their children. In a world that is weary of babysitters and childcare, this is a stress relief to most parents.
What is Parents’ Night Out?
To put it simply, this is a night for parents to drop off their children at the church so the parents can have a date night.
Does this sound like something your church should do? Our team of expert planners is here to help. We’ve collected data from a variety of Parents’ Night Outs to bring you an easy plan to kick off this program without a hitch. Follow our detailed outline and download the handy checklist to get started.
How to Make Parents’ Night Out Happen
Create a Signup
This should be your initial starting point for hosting a Parents’ Night Out. By creating a space on your church website for parents or legal guardians to sign up their children, you can easily gather names and prepare for your event. Bonus points if you use software such as Elexio to integrate your church website with your church management software, which will help you skip manually inputting all the Parents’ Night Out attendee names because it does it for you.
Important Note: Schedule the signup deadline to be one-to-two weeks prior to your event. This way it gives you space to grasp the volume of children who will be attending your event.
Download our Ultimate Parents’ Night Out Checklist to see exactly what needs to be on your signup sheet.
Now it’s time to get the word out. Send out emails. Announce it from the stage on a Sunday morning. Go tell it on the mountain. Wherever you can promote your Parents’ Night Out, do it. The more you are able to get it in the ears of those parents dying to spend a couple of hours together, the better. You can even advertise for volunteers to help with your event. This will help you with scheduling when you start making preparations.
Assign Classrooms and Teachers
After the signup deadline ends is when the magic happens. Now you have a list of children who plan to attend your Parents’ Night Out along with other vital information such as ages, allergies, etc. Use this time to place children in specific classrooms. Use the 3-to-1 rule: for the safety of both teachers and children, there should never be more than three kids to one teacher. After you have assigned the children to specific classrooms, reach out to those who said they could volunteer. Once you have classrooms and teachers assigned to each child, it’s time to create the curriculum.
Important note: Make sure that children’s ministry volunteers who help with your Parents’ Night Out have completed a background check before the event. Having a background check not only protects the children attending your event but could also save your church in the case a dangerous event does occur. These background checks should be completed twice a year. Check out Protect My Ministry if you need trustworthy background check software.
Let’s be honest, since a Parents’ Night Out is hosted during an evening, children are not going to want to sit and learn. Toss out the idea that you are going to make these kids spend the entire night memorizing Bible verses. Make it a fun, active night for the kids so they will want to come back. Plan games, movies, snacks, and anything else that can fill up the time.
Important note: Since this is an evening event, most of the children attending will be staying up past their bedtime. This means emotions and tensions can be high because when kids get tired, they get cranky (shocker, we know). Make sure to have strategic plans and desirable snacks to distract children so your Parents’ Night Out will be successful.
Run Through Check-In
Finally, it’s time to do a run-through for your check-in process. Pretend you’re a parent who is checking in their child for your event. Make sure that the process of checking in is easy and smooth. Also, make sure that each teacher is aware of any allergies a child might have. While you are smoothing out the check-in process, be sure everyone knows the check-out procedures too. You want to have a system that ensures the parents who drop off their children pick up the same child at the end of the night. One way to assist with this task is by assigning a child-specific code and giving that code to each parent at check-in. They will then bring this code with them when they check-out their child. The more safety procedures you can add to your event, the more parents will continue to trust that you’re protecting their child.
Important note: If your church is able, hire a security guard to stand watch the night of your event. Since this is an evening event, it’s important to note that most crimes occur at night, and extra security will help parents feel safe when they drop off their children.
Host Your Event
If the classrooms and teachers are ready and you have more snacks than you possibly know what to do with, then that means it’s time to welcome the children attending your Parents’ Night Out. Be sure to place people in strategic locations to help parents get to where they need to go. Equip these individuals with maps and make sure they know who to point parents to if they have questions. The more you can equip volunteers, the more comfortable parents will feel.
Important note: The most important piece in welcoming families attending this event is to have fun and show that it’s a safe space. Nervous moms and dads will only get more jitters if they see you in a state of panic. Take a deep breath the night of this event and relax. If you’ve followed our detailed outline, you’ve got this!
Events like Parents’ Night Out are a fun way to encourage marriages in your church and provide a safe space for children to be. To learn more about how a church management software can assist you through more event planning and the child check-in process, check out Elexio. We’ve been where you are and built our software to handle the challenges you face. Don’t forget to grab your free Parent’s Night Out Checklist to ensure your event runs smoothly!