Today’s post comes from Alex Smith, the CEO of KidCheck, a data security and child safety expert, church safety team leader, and former police officer.
Children’s ministry continues to face the challenge of balancing a fun, welcoming environment with today’s growing security demands. You have to be aware of food allergies, track children and parents, and report who and how many you’ve served to senior leadership. All of this on top of finding rewarding curriculum and fun activities. It can certainly be overwhelming.
Here are five tips to help ensure smiling parents and safe kids:
1) Select great volunteers
Everything begins and ends with your volunteers. Sometimes they are the only face the parents interact with. They should be upstanding individuals who genuinely love working with children. Even if that seems easy to find, be wary and err on the side of caution when selecting volunteers. Ensure volunteers are regular attenders for a period of time before they are even considered, and only choose volunteers referred and approved by congregation members. Always have every volunteers complete a background check, no exceptions.
2) Provide thorough procedures and ample training:
Once you have a great staff in place, equip them with thorough procedures and ample training. Be sure they maintain high standards for general safety, know where the first-aid kit is, and the process to document incidents. Create easy to read procedures or instruction manuals, have them easily accessible, and provide ongoing training.
3) Create a solid check-in/check-out procedure:
Make sure you have a rock solid procedure for checking in children. Whether you use a pen and paper system, or an electronic solution like KidCheck, be sure it has multiple security measures, helps you identify allergies, track attendance, and identifies authorized and unauthorized guardians. It is absolutely imperative children are released only to parents or guardians authorized to pick up. With new faces and complex family arrangements, this can be overwhelming. Child safety is an absolute priority. Implementing an electronic check-in system immediately helps create a positive perception and parent peace-of-mind, by making a loud and clear statement that you take security very seriously.
4) Maintain accurate records and information policies:
Attendance records, allergy information, authorized guardians, and contact information are some of the information you need to track and maintain. A check-in system can also help here. As information about children is being stored and used, it is important to also consider a policy regarding how the information is maintained and secured. Never share information about a child with anyone except his/her parents or guardians.
5) Promote two-way parent communication:
Two-way parent communication is key. Make sure you have a way for parents to let you know about allergies, provide an opportunity for them to share specific information about their child’s needs, and a way for them to receive feedback on how their child is doing. KidCheck incorporates multiple automated communication tools such as notifications, check-in notes, text messaging, and email. Parents appreciate knowing they can be easily reached in case of emergency, or simply having the ability to inform and be kept informed.
Smiling parents and safe kids, it’s a great combination.
KidCheck provides secure children’s check-in systems with a focus on child safety. Streamline your check-in process, improve child safety, easily track attendance, and create a positive parent and visitor experience. Learn more with a free demo. For more information, visit www.kidcheck.com