Easy Ways to Make Your Children’s Ministry Safer This Month – Part 2
In part one of this two-part post, we looked at two ways to start making your children’s ministry safer this month. Implementing check-in system software, as well as using integrated background checks can ensure the safety of kids among the adults who are caring for them and taking them home.
In this second piece, we’ll be looking at two additional ways to keep kids safe with a focus on protecting them from unexpected circumstances or emergencies that may arise.
Keep Allergy, Medication, and Special Needs Information Available and Confidential
Can you instantly pull a list of all known allergies of children in your ministry? If not, this presents a risk to the health of your children each time you want to hand out a snack, go outside to play, or when you apply an ointment or even a band-aid to a scrape. Likewise, even if you’re not administering any medications, it may be necessary to know what a child is taking in the event of an emergency where you can’t reach the parents.
The Problem with Paper-based Tracking
Much like tracking the child’s personal info (age, parents’ names, siblings, and other info necessary to keep on record) it is possible to track health and special needs information. You can keep it in a binder in each classroom, and in a master-binder that is accessible at any children’s ministry functions. However, tracking this personal information on paper does present some potential problems.
First, balancing privacy and the ability to easily communicate sensitive information can be difficult to do with just a paper-based system. In most cases, parents probably won’t mind who knows that their child has a peanut allergy, for example. But, you’ll need to discuss what you’re going to do should a parent or guardian express concern about their child’s information being in an easily accessible binder or file in your classroom.
Second, you will need a way to ensure your information is always up to date. You’ll have to establish guidelines for your ministry that define how often and when you will ask parents to update this information. Asking at the beginning of each school year (especially for your younger kids) is usually a good rule of thumb.
The Ease of Check-In Software
Using Servant Keeper Check-In, parents can provide this detailed information at check-in the first time they bring their children to your ministry. Servant Keeper can store this information in the system, and allow parents to update it should anything change. Depending on the sensitivity of the information, you can choose to add it to rosters, name tags, verbally share it with the adults in the room, or pass it along as a confidential note within your system.
Room Safety Best Practices
There are a host of ways you can make your children’s ministry safer and even compliant with local laws or codes just by planning ahead and establishing emergency and safety guidelines. We’ll briefly look into just a few to give you an idea of things to consider.
It’s best practice to have an evacuation route in your church in the event of a fire or other emergency. Take the time to plan out this route, and post it in each room. In your children’s ministry, especially if you have a daycare or other ministry where children are spending several hours a day in your care, it may even be good to have a fire drill. Servant Keeper child check-in system can help simplify this by providing you with a fire drill report that helps you ensure everyone child who was checked in is accounted for.
Max Capacity allowed and adults required per Room
It’s good practice to establish and clearly communicate room capacity limits so that your helpers know when they need to move a larger group out of a classroom and into the multi-purpose room for example. It is also good to establish how many adults you need in each room, so that at any time your children’s ministry leaders and helpers can know which rooms are understaffed. Servant Keeper’s Child Check-In system also helps you to manage this by alerting you and your staff when you’re nearing your maximum capacity for children checking into a particular room, and allowing you to quickly see how many adults need to be present in each room.
To have a great Children’s Ministry, you need a team of people working together with a desire to help children know the Lord. You need a team of people who are willing to serve in this sometimes behind the scenes ministry, committed to praying for the children, sacrificing their time, and giving a lot of love and patience. That said, it’s still a good idea to take some practical steps to be the best possible stewards of the time you’ve been given with these children and keep them safe.