By Emily Smith
We’ve been faced with unprecedented times in our churches and in our Kids Ministries due to the ongoing concerns surrounding COVID-19. So, what do we do during this time? Do we shy away from these new challenges or do we seize this moment to restructure, rethink, and retrain our leaders?
Now is a great time to rethink your children’s ministries policies, train your leaders and volunteers, and make safety a priority. Here are some tips to make this time count in preparation for re-entry for Kids Ministry:
Update your Kids Ministry Policies & Safety Procedures
We are faced with a ‘new’ normal and the way we used to conduct our preschool and children’s ministries may not be in compliance with new guidelines. So, dust off those old policies and update them to fit the needs of Kids’ Ministry today.
Think through what procedures you need to implement when children’s programs are able to resume—for example:
What space restrictions do we have if social distancing still needs to be implemented? (i.e. Do we need to adjust our classes to keep the numbers low? Do we have adequate numbers of volunteers and leaders willing to serve once programs resume? Do we need to reconsider what areas we use?)
What new check-in and check-out procedures do we need to implement? (i.e. temperature checks, parental releases, screening tools for kids and leaders, masks for older children, signage posted with new policies and health warning signs, one-way entrance and one-way exits, etc.)
What new safety measures do we need to incorporate in our classrooms? (i.e. screening volunteers and leaders before they enter, making masks required or not, replacing stuffed animals with toys that can be easily disinfected, providing individual craft supplies needed per child instead of sharing, specifying parent drop-off procedures, etc.) For additional helps consult the CDC guidelines for childcare programs.
What new cleaning prcedures do we need to incorporate? (i.e. having the proper cleaning solutions, providing adequate time to disinfect areas in-between services, cleaning checklists with new procedures which include specified times and instructions on when to clean, hand washing availability for children and leaders, specifying what areas need to be disinfected frequently, clarifying how often to disinfect restrooms and limiting water fountain use.) For additional tips consult the CDC cleaning guidelines for children’s areas.
- What is the protocol if we have a positive COVID-19 case after a scheduled kids program event or activity? If you have a positive or potential positive COVID-19 case following a scheduled program event or activity, please contact Arkansas Department of Health or your local health department immediately for further instructions on how to proceed.
Capitalize on this time to Train and Recruit Leaders and Volunteers
Don’t sit idly while children’s small groups are not meeting in person. Instead capitalize on this time to recruit new leaders and train your leaders and volunteers. Update your leaders on the new policies and procedures that will take place once kids programming is able to resume. These trainings can easily be done during this time through Zoom Calls, emailing videos & information, Facebook live, in person while practicing social distancing guidelines, etc. The key is to make sure your leaders are all on the same page once programming resumes.
Don’t forget to communicate with your parents as well. Make sure they are also aware of the new policies and procedures and how you are making the preschool and children’s areas a safe place for their kids to return.
Make Safety a Priority
Evaluate safety measures inside and outside your preschool and children’s areas. Just because we had to hit pause on meeting together in person does not mean we hit pause on making sure our areas and ministries provide a safe environment for kids to return. Take this time to evaluate safety measures inside and outside your children’s areas.
Look Inside the Classroom—Is there furniture and broken toys that need to be replaced or discarded? Are there areas that need to be repainted and freshened up to be more welcoming? Will parents feel comfortable and safe dropping off their kids again? Have we done the necessary steps to assure parents we really care about the safety of their kids?
- Take Sexual Abuse Awareness Seriously—Take this time to train your leaders and volunteers (anyone that will be working or have access to minors) on Sexual Abuse Awareness. MinistrySafe has provided free training resources for Arkansas churches at ministrysafe.com/absc. Utilize this time by training or retraining your leaders on abuse awareness.
Don’t let this time slip by without being constructive and seizing this opportunity to equip & train your Kids’ Ministry leaders.
- ADH Guidance on Reopening Places of Worship
- ADH Contact Information
- Baptist Health BReady BHealthy Resources for Churches
- LifeWay 6 Considerations for Reopening Your Kids Ministry
- CDC Guidance for Child Care Programs
- CDC Clean and Disinfect Guidance
- CDC Screening Tools
- CDC Stop the Spread Health Warning Sign
- MinistrySafe Resources for Arkansas Churches