Here are some things I didn’t like about my experience (I gave it a year’s trial) with my parish’s Women’s Faithsharing group (maybe a little different from what you’re putting together, but women of all ages and kids of all ages were welcome):
1–Lack of structure or schedule / lack of leadership. Someone needs to be the one to say, “Okay, let’s spend about 2 more minutes for X and then we’ll move onto the next part of our meeting.”
2–Prayer “requests” always morphed into either a) gossip time or b) a crisis-dump by a “needier” person. (Sorry, I know this sounds uncharitable of me. I’m not saying we don’t minister to the person in need; but without #1 in place, it’s near impossible to contain the crisis.)
3–Comments contrary to Church teaching went uncorrected/unchallenged (again, see #1–lack of leadership)
The monthly group I attend now is part of a personal prelature and is structured as:
Come in, say “hello,” get yourself & your kiddos comfortable. Things start pretty close to on-time. Leader leads us in group prayer, then spends about 75% of time instructing/sharing on the announced topic. The remaining 25% of time is for chatting & refreshments.(We meet at one woman’s house; it’s been the same woman for years, I believe, and it’s totally kid-friendly.)
Maybe I like things a little more structured than the next, but it works for me!