You hear a lot about “child security” in kidmin today… but I’d like you to consider “parent security” for a moment. What do I mean by parent security?
- Keeping parents safe?
- Accounting for every parent?
- Returning parents to the proper child?
- Protecting parents from harm?
None of the above, actually. When I say “parent security,” I am referring to that feeling parents want to have that their child is secure. Children are rarely out of their parents care. When they are – there are certain conditions that must exist for a parent to feel secure that their child is not only safe, but that their child feels as secure as when they are with their parents.
There is a progression to parents extending care for children. Early care takers are usually family, then very close friends. Next come professionals within secure facilities. As children get older, parents must necessarily lower their standards as to who can care for their kids, or they will never get time away from their kids. They also realize their children need to grow socially independent as well. However, there is a fear that as this circle of care grows, security drops. Once strangers, non-professionals or volunteers begin to care for their children, especially in unfamiliar settings, such as a church, it can feel to parents as though they need to let go of their feeling of security in order to enjoy time away from their kids or for their kids to grow socially.
As a church leader, you need to be aware of this inner conflict that some parents are wrestling with, especially when they are new or visiting the church. It is a stronger struggle if they are new to attending church in the first place, not only are the people strangers, but they are a strange type of people… religious people!
How can a church help to increase a parents sense of security, or put another way, increase their church’s “parent security?” The answer is often to provide not only provide better child security – but along with that, is to improve parent communication of what child security policies and procedures are already in place.
Here are some steps you can take to increase your “Parent Security” at your church:
- Use KidCheck for secure child check in. Or another such system that lets parents know kids can’t just come and go. You know who is there and account for every child. You will only check their child out to the person who checked them in. Let parents know they will be texted if they are needed by their child for any reason.*
- Post That Your Volunteers are Trained and Screened. Let parents know that you do not let just ‘anyone’ work with their child. Right at the drop off location, post that all your staff are trained and screened workers so they have peace of mind about who is working with their children.
- Have clearly posted ‘never alone’ and bathroom policies parents can see. Put to rest any unspoken questions your parents may have about any potential opportunities for abuse by assuring them no such opportunities are even possible in your programs due to proactive polices and enforcement you have in place.
- Clearly identify who is staff. Use name tags, lanyards, t-shirts or somehow clearly identify staff for parents so there is no confusion over who is working with their children and who are visitors/parents and keep non-staff out of classrooms and children’s restrooms. This will greatly increase parent security.
- Keep classrooms and areas where children are open and visible. Keep doors open, or install windows in doors if you need to close them for sound containment. When you have an open and visible environment where children and staff can always be observed parents feel much more secure to leave their children behind.
*This is a service of KidCheck.
When you put effort into keeping kids safe and secure, you increase your “Parent Security” as well. I would highly recommend you take a look at KidCheck. They offer the fastest, easiest check-in system on the market, and are constantly innovating to make it better. If you are used to systems that create a lot of data entry work, you will find KidCheck refreshing, as it has parents do most of the entering and maintaining of family data. And unlike many complicated systems, it is user-friendly and affordable. As an added bonus, Kidology.org members get a discount we have arranged, so that makes it even easier to increase your “Parent Security” at your church.