Q&A: Steps for Keeping Track of Children

Are there simple ways for checking in and checking out kids?

What simple procedures can we use to make sure we’re doing a safe job of checking children in and out of our classrooms?
When looking at your check-in/check-out system, always start with these four basics: (1) know exactly who’s in your room at all times, (2) keep a record of any special conditions that exist for a child that might prove important while the child remains in your care, (3) establish a way to contact a child’s parent if needed at any time (yes, consider that part of your check-in process), and (4) run a check-out system that guarantees every child leaves with the correct adult.
Make sure you take the time to think through your check-in/check-out process carefully, create clear, written procedures, and follow them meticulously! Read this next sentence carefully, even though it might sting a little: You potentially place children in harm’s way when you relax your processes even a little. Some of the greatest risks I’ve seen during check-in/check-out occur when people make exceptions to their established procedures. Do I suggest rigidity? Yes. Just figure out how to maintain stringent systems with a smile, and explain to parents that the process you use is meant to protect their child. When they see your commitment to protecting the kids in your ministry, they’ll cooperate with the process. Take some time right away to audit your current check-in/check-out processes against the four basics listed above.

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