Yes! You Need a Check-In System
We need to make sure that we are creating safe and secure environments. Having systems to check kids in and out, is really non-negotiable anymore, even in small churches. You just need to be checking kids in and out. It doesn't have to mean that you have to have a computer system with labels, but you need to have some kind of system where you're giving Mom something and the kids have a number or a sticker, and you're matching them at the end before you release that child.
There are so many great check-in systems anymore, and the magazine in front of you is full of ideas of check-in systems. There are good ones, and, now, KidCheck and Kidmin App, they've got the early check-in where Mom and Dad can check their kids in before they ever get there and go to an express lane, and they don't have to wait at the computer lines. It's easy as ever and it doesn't have to be super expensive.
I think we all get that we need to be checking kids in, and I hope that you are checking them in and that you are taking some time to evaluate the process and there is nothing as difficult for a mom, a single mom, or a mom who's there with dad to have four kids and to get there and the lines are backed up, the computer's not working or the lines are just backed up. Sunday mornings are already stressful enough, so I would either step back yourself or get a fresh set of eyes to just do nothing for three weeks but help you watch the lines. For the next three Sundays, have someone watch your lines and tell you if there are times it gets congested, or just stand there and listen to what people say when they're checking kids in. Just be an innocent bystander standing there listening, and if people are grumbling about how this takes way too long or why don't they just do this, those are things that you may never hear yourself as a leader, but that'll help you speed things up.
We all get we need to be checking kids in. Here's something we need to evaluate. What does check-out look like, because the whole point of checking them in is ... Well, it shouldn't be the whole point. Part of it is for attendance and recordkeeping and stuff, but a big part, as far as security goes, is so that when it's time to release the kids, they're getting released to the right people, and it's really easy to get good at giving out those labels to the kids and to get really, really lazy at check-out and just letting the kids go with whoever, and I get the challenge of, "Hey, I've got all these volunteers and, sometimes, they rotate, and how do I get the volunteers to actually enforce this? How do I get the volunteers to actually ask Mom, 'Can I see your label so I can match the tags?'"
You’ve got to wrestle through that. Part of that is you come up with a system. You communicate it so loud that everybody understands the way it's supposed to work, and then you communicate it and you communicate it and you communicate it and you communicate it.
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