Starting you local Stay-At-Home Dad Group
1) Set up an Internet site for your group
The easiest are a Yahoo or Google group, Facebook Page or Group or a website through WordPress or Blogger, all of which are free. A lot of at-home dad groups use Meetup.com for a small fee. You can also design a more advanced website with your own domain name if you have a little time during nap time. The objective of having a site is to offer dads a destination to connect, to provide contact information, to provide general information about your group, and to maintain a calendar of future group meetings/events.
Click on some of the groups on our Find a Dad Group page for ideas. You need to decide whether to make the group private (requiring new dads to email the group before joining – recommended by The National At-Home Dad Network) or public (new dads can join anytime which allows potential members to get a true picture of the group before heading out to a playgroup).
2) Establish a consistent meeting day, time and place (if possible) for playgroups
Dads with kids live by schedules and structure so it will be easier for members to attend if they can plan ahead. Most groups meet once a week usually around 10 or 11am. The locations change frequently based on the geography of the group – zoo, local parks/playground, museums, indoor playroom, or parent & me classes.
One suggestion is to have different members hosting in their homes and rotating weekly. Remember to incorporate travel times, naps, school schedules, etc.
3) Get your name out there!
- Register your stay at-home dads group with The National At-Home Dad Network. This is the most complete and up-to-date listing of at-home dad groups and where most new dads will search for a group in their area.
- Contact local media organizations. A phone call or email notifying the media that you exist with contact information. Type up a formal press release as well. There are the main broadcast stations, newspapers, and smaller community and parenting papers to contact.
- Make a simple flyer with contact info and meeting time/place and post at playgrounds, library, children’s venues, pediatrician office, and mothers groups.
- Business cards can be made at a low cost and you may be able to get some free through The National At-Home Dad Network (contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for details). You can create these on your computer or at a local print shop. Hand them out to stay at-home dads you run into across town (you’ll be able to spot them easily – they are the dads during the day who have kids with them) and encourage existing members to network as well.
- Social Media Networking: Utilize Facebook & Twitter so you can keep your group plugged in and offer another avenue for members to easily connect
- Link Love: Contact other dad websites or blogs with your website/group information. Also contact local mother’s groups so they can refer men who want to join to you.
4) Create membership criteria and upfront information
Will there be any criteria for membership? Will you charge a fee or suggest a donation? Also consider what you want to know about members providing information (name, age of kids, neighborhood, etc). Are Dads who work allowed to join? How about Moms?
The National At-Home Dad Network requires the groups it lists to be non-exclusive (i.e. not only Jewish at-home dads) but the rest of the criteria is up to you!
5) Ask for support!
If you have questions or need some advice, contact the Regional Coordinator from your area or the Chapters Committee Chairman at email@example.com. They have lots of experience with their own dads group and are available to help make your group even better!
This information is adapted from sessions at Annual At-Home Dads Conventions from Matt Schneider and Lance Somerfeld of NYC Dads Group, and Phil Andrew and Mike Njus of the Lincoln/Omaha At-Home Dads Group as well as Tony Peters & Bill Beagle of the Dayton Dads that was originally posted on Rebeldad.com.