Recently I dropped my five-month-old baby off at a professional childcare facility that my wife and I have used often for over eight years. As I walked away, I realized that something seemed a little different that day and I had some uneasiness about leaving her in the facility’s care. I began to rehearse in my mind what I had observed in the few minutes before I left and why the environment seemed chaotic.
Later I thought about the experience a little bit more and began to realize, as children’s ministers it can take only one bad experience for parents to feel unsure about leaving their children in our ministry’s care. Today I invite you to think about the perception of your ministry to the parents of your kids. Give me five minutes, and I’ll share some tips and ideas that will help present your ministry as a safe place for kids.
It’s a simple rule to keep in mind: he who arrives to the room first is in charge. So, be the very first person to arrive to your ministry space. This will help establish your authority as the leader.
Be sure that when the first child arrives, your ministry supplies are prepared. This will help keep you free of distraction and allow you to interact with each child as they arrive. If you need extra time to prepare, try to arrive early.
Greet Each Child By Name
As children enter your ministry, greet each one by name, looking them in the eye. This not only helps establish your authority as the leader, but also insures that each child feels like a valued member of your faith community.
Have a Sign-in System
Have some form of sign-in system as each child arrives. This can be a simple chart where parents log their child’s name and their parent’s name. A number of excellent systems are available to assist you with sign-in and they are referenced on this videos page.
Post Your Snack
If your ministry serves snacks to children, post the day’s snack in a visible area. This helps makes parents aware of what’s be served and allows them the opportunity to notify you of any allergies their child may have.
Have Adequate Staffing
Make sure you have an adequate number of staff with you at all times. No ministry personnel or volunteer should ever be left alone with children. Additionally, your church should have guidelines for how children’s ministry staff handles restroom breaks and discipline issues that may require adults to breakaway from the larger group of children.
Release Children Only to The Person Who Brought Them
Never allow children to leave your ministry space without their guardian being aware of their release. The best way to handle dismissal is to ask the adult who brought the child to your ministry to return and pick them up. When they return, have them sign the child out using the same form they signed when they dropped them off.
Say Goodbye to Each Child and Their Guardian
As s child leaves your ministry space, say goodbye to him individually. Thank the child’s guardian for bringing him and ask them to come back.