RE: Problems attracting families with kids
From: Rob Sandelin (Exchange) (RobsanExchange.MICROSOFT.com)
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 1996 11:03:19 -0600
Cohousing is a double-edged sword for familied folk.  As many of us who LIVE
in cohousing will testify, its the best thing for kids and parents to come
along since the invention of the diaper pin.  Parents who are trying to
CREATE cohousing will tell you it's a nightmare. Long frustrating meetings
which take working parents away from their kids, poor childcare ,
unrealistic group demands on individuals time and energy all add up to an
environment that drives parents of small kids away.  

So if you want to attract families with kids your number 1 concern should be
HIGH quality childcare at meetings.   Nothing will make a parent happier
than if their kid is having a great time at the child care.  Happy kids will
sell their parents on the idea.  Be flexable with involvement and let one
parent attend meetings and the other parent be with the kids if that's what
they want to do.   If you really want to capture the hearts of parents,
organize a playgroup or field trips for kids and put energy into it.  Let
the kids be designers of the kids room in the commonhouse, let the kids have
input into a playground space or other kid resource.  

Organize a parents club, where you rotate kid watching to free up couples so
they can spend time together.  Get parents together to talk about their kids
with other parents so support networks start.

Celebrate kids holidays such as valentines day or halloween with a special
party.  This all goes with something I have said before: Take time to build
community.  Community is not something that happens "after you move in"  its
something you make every time you meet, and it takes some work.  Too many
forming groups spend ALL their time talking about boring details.  I have
come to beleive that 25% of all the time you spend together should be FUN
stuff, because that is what builds the bonds between you that will carry you
through the UNFUN stuff.

Rob Sandelin
Sharingwood

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