Use a program like Planning Center or another check-in software to check kids into your Sunday School. This will help the process because you’ll be able to collect and maintain more accurate data. It’ll give you a realistic view of how many kids you have attending your service and how to plan for growth. Additionally, many check-in stations on Sunday mornings can be self-service, which helps parents move through the process quickly.
When kids are dropped off in your Kids’ Ministry, do they have to sit and wait for things to start? Do you offer them something fun to do? These pre-service activities are fairly simple and easy to do. Play games, color, or open with small group icebreakers. Whatever you choose to do, keep them busy from the moment they arrive. This will help act as crowd control as more and more kids are dropped off in your room. If there are new or nervous kids, this is an excellent way to help them have fun from the very start!
A smile and a kind word can go a long way! If a kid is feeling apprehensive or overwhelmed about going into your Sunday School, you can help turn that around by being kind. Friendliness helps cut down on frustration in potentially stressful moments. For parents, this is one of the few interactions they may have with your kids’ ministry team. Make it memorable!
Who doesn’t love a surprise from time to time? You can offer donuts, or some other fun treat at drop-off for parents and kids every so often. It’ll be a pleasant surprise and brighten everyone’s moods. You may not know what their morning was like before coming in, but this will definitely be a success!
I know we already said to be friendly, but smiling is contagious. In the words of Buddy the Elf, “I like smiling. Smiling’s my favorite.” It’s hard to walk into an environment full of smiling faces and do anything but smile. Additionally, this will help any first-time guests who may be feeling a little apprehensive.
Traffic flow is everything. If you have a large area, make it clear where people need to go. If you have a smaller, narrow area, keep things moving to avoid bad backups. Traffic flow can make things feel chaotic or fun. In larger spaces, you can rope off the drop-off areas. In smaller spaces, try to arrange one-way traffic to avoid chaos. Utilize your space to its greatest potential.
Kids’ safety is so important. Show that in the way you do your drop-off process. As previously mentioned, when you use a check-in system, each child will receive a name tag with a security number. The parent will receive a matching pick-up tag for after the service. Before a child is dropped off, ensure they have been checked in, and the parent has their pick-up tag for later. This is not excessive but instead helps you avoid potential security issues.
As we previously stated in the drop-off section, have a clear flow of traffic. You want parents to know exactly where to go to pick up their children. Be mindful of your space and make the flow as clear as possible. Make the traffic flow clear if you have a new group of families arriving for the next service while parents are still picking up from the last service time. Clarity is extremely important when you’re dealing with people’s children. They will find comfort in the fact that you’ve thought this through and aren’t flippantly caring for their kids.
The pick-up process is extra chaotic when it takes a long time. While you may want to socialize with every single family that comes through, keep things moving. You can have positive and friendly interactions without taking too long to move through each family at pick-up. If there are many steps to your process, try to space them out so that they can keep moving.
Have a process and follow it every single week. Don’t make exceptions unless it is absolutely necessary. If you follow the same process each week, parents and kids will know what to expect without question, eliminating chaos. When things change from week to week, families are usually scrambling with you to figure out where to go! Not to mention, maintaining your process will ensure parents that you care about their kids’ well-being and safety. You aren’t releasing kids to go home with just anyone. They have to follow the process!
Note: Follow the process even with families you know very well!
This can’t be stressed enough. These can be challenging moments for your Kids’ Ministry volunteers, but friendliness will go a long way. Remember, this is the final impression you will make on the families in the church. You want this to be a good one!
Parent take-home handouts are always a win. If coloring sheets or other things need to go home with kids, have them ready. Waiting to find each thing can slow the process, which will make things more chaotic. Parents will be thankful you were ready for them.
We can’t emphasize this enough! This is one of the last interactions people will have in your Sunday service. Make it memorable with a smile! Mother Teresa said, “Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.” Remember that with each smile, you’re representing Jesus!
We said security is essential for drop-off, but it is even more critical for pick-up! You want kids to go home with the person they’re supposed to leave with. The best way to do that is by using a check-in system and pick-up tags with a security code. Another alternative would be to check a parent’s I.D. This step doesn’t necessarily make pick-up more fun, but it will certainly remove chaos.
Sunday School drop-off and pick-up is a much more important process than many churches realize. For many churches, you get 30 seconds at drop-off and 30 seconds at pick-up to make an impression directly on parents. You want this to make a good one! Have a solid process, follow it closely, and stay friendly! You’ll be surprised at the difference that this will make.