Young children hold a banner reading: Take the Climate Defenced Pledge

There are comparatively few people aged 25-50 involved in the movement. They may be working hard in careers, or parenting. Parents may have time available, but our movement is not well set up to support their participation. Meetings, events and actions are often not very family friendly. And so we miss out, on the richness of experience of these folks, and having more children in and around the movement working for their future.

Here are some ideas gathered for family friendly organising, making meetings and activism more welcoming to parents.

Making Events Family Friendly

  • Meeting times: Avoid always scheduling meetings at the “witching hour” (6/7pm), which is dinner and bath time. Alternate weekends with weekday evenings if needed. For daytime meetings / events, work around school drop-off and pick-up times.
  • Childcare: Make it a collective responsibility – if you see a kid crawl towards a hazard and you are closest, jump in. Provide professional childcare where possible. You could pay an activist with a working with children’s check a stipend / get free training for some of the event.
  • Buddy system / bridges: Have a non-parent buddy touch base with a parent and keep them in the loop
  • Remote attendance: Always offer phone in / online options. Sensitive info can now be shared more easily with encrypted comms
  • Drug and alcohol free: consider the timing, and have designated areas/boundaries
  • Build resilience for chaotic meetings: It’s a skill that is great to build in general – particularly if you are involved in frontline work. When things are chaotic, it’s useful to be able to focus. Ask parents to share if there is anything that would support them to stay focused in the meeting. It is also important that parents don’t feel guilty. If you are struggling to focus with a kid being active in the corner, just acknowledge it, smile, and keep going. There is no need for parents to feel like they should apologise. On the flip side, if a child is being really loud and the parent feels they have to leave as they see that the group can’t focus and their child needs attention, ask how to support them to stay involved or to catch up.
  • Welcome breast feeding women: Accommodate women who need to pump. Don’t make it a big deal, just normalise it with the group.
Organise some child-friendly actions. Include some designed by kids, for kids. Let parents know children are welcome. Provide a kids space / activity. Include debrief support.

Family Friendly Venues

  • Is it full of hazards or is it child friendly?
  • Scan the room at child’s eye view and see what could be dangerous.
  • Is there a break out room, or another space that is in sight that parents can keep half an eye on kids?
  • Can you bring some toys? Or if not, at least some textas and paper.
  • Providing food and snacks is good for everyone and especially kids