Up until the last few months, before COVID-19 forced lots of things to close for a time, I had been enjoying the times in my week when I got to interact with babies and young children. Whether that was at church, my local playgroup or in the MOPS Kids area on a MOPS morning. I’ve been missing my baby cuddles and the time spent playing and chatting with kids.
Our MOPS group is currently having play-dates in local parks or the mums are gathering of an evening on Zoom or, thankfully now, face-to-face again. Although I’ve been enjoying interacting with the mums more, I look forward to the time when we can return to a full MOPS program and where if it’s a Friday MOPS morning ….
..You’ll find me at the church early to set up for MOPS Kids. We roll out the carpet and put some toys out for the kids. The small tables and chairs are taken from the store room and set up in the hall. We set up toys and activities. The mums and kids start slowly arriving.
We greet everyone and help the children to settle in. Some of the kids are happy to join while others are more reluctant to let their mums go. We cuddle and console those who are upset when mum leaves the room. With distraction often the child will settle. Standing at the gate and watching the cars go by can do the trick or looking at the patchwork wall hanging and discussing the squares. Others get interested in the play going on around them. For some it may take weeks before they leave a carer’s lap and play independently. Others may end up in the meeting with the mums and we just try again next time. They all settle in their own time.
What happens in MOPS Kids?
If your group has returned to a “normal” MOPS morning, your kids will still be able to enjoy many of the activities discussed below but some will be modified to keep everyone safe.
In our MOPS Kids there have been lots of child friendly activities available for children to choose from. These include:
- toys for the babies and younger children
- home play toys (the toy BBQ is popular)
- blocks or construction toys
- cars or a train set
- drawing or craft
- books and story time
We also have an area where children can enjoy the morning tea they’ve brought. Some groups have a set time for morning tea, others let children go to their lunch boxes when they wish. Stories have been a big part of the morning and our MOPS kids have their favourites which we read over and over. We’ll usually share a Bible story. Kids music is often played and we may do some singing or dancing.
Towards the end of the morning we usually involve the children in tidying up most of what has been played with. For the last 5 or 10 mins we may put on a DVD or play a game to keep children occupied until the mums come back to the room.
A Few Tips
If your child is struggling with separating from you: talk to them about what’s going to happen, tell (or even show) them where you will be. When it comes to leaving let them know you’re going and then leave. The actual separation can be the hardest part for both of you. If they cry or protest try not to come back as this can make it worse and they may learn that if they protest you will stay. Most children usually settle and the carers will get you or bring them to you if they need to.
At the end of the morning, please come back to the MOPS Kids room quickly. Once the children see some mums come up, they start looking for their mum.
Please be assured that your children are well cared for in the MOPS Kids program.
Stafford MOPS Kids Coordinator
Jillian is married with 2 young adult children and has been blogging at www.feedmyfamilyblog.com for over 6 years. On the blog, she writes about feeding the family in body, mind, heart & soul. Jillian enjoys speaking at women’s groups & conferences about parenting and passing on faith to our children. She has also started developing some faith resources for families. Jillian has just completed a Graduate Certificate in Children and Families Ministry.