Agenda – CommunityKid’s Brainstorming/Planning Gathering (March 29, 2021)
Hear from Tara Thomas and Barbara…
Opening Interaction Question for Parents: What has the pandemic taught you about your role as your child’s/children’s primary discipler?
Brainstorm: Children and family ministries have been disrupted with the onset of COVID-19. Instead of us rushing back to our old norms, now may be time to determine what values and processes will remain consistent, what innovative strategies we can consider that need to be further integrated into our church, and what needs to be completely restructured for our family ministries to experience God to the fullest capacity as we seek to add a second service and CommunityKids.
When should we relaunch?
3 Practical Preparations for Reopening CommunityKids
- Over-communicate with parents on plans and precautions that we are taking. We want to ensure that our children’s safety is a priority.
- We have plenty of sanitizer to apply as well as fog the rooms when we get back to multiple services. We can also provide good ventilation for the downstairs.
- Begin to consider possible updates in our curriculum, check-in, and check out systems for reopening again that accounts for social distancing precautions.
The possibility of taking a 2-tiered approach:
- Step 1: Acknowledge that some volunteers may not feel comfortable returning immediately and plan ways to walk with them through this. Consider recruiting volunteers to replace any typical helpers that are at-risk and may not feel comfortable working for a while.
- Step 2: Downsize in room size and the number of kids in a room for CommunityKids. Soon, we may be able to hold some CommunityKids classes outdoors to offer more space??
What we already do for Sunday services.
- We reserve large tables in the back of the worship center for families. We don’t mind kids getting a bit rambunctious in the service, and there’s always the possibility of taking kids into the cafe for a few minutes as well.
- Handing out fun-kits to keep children engaged with an activity during the sermon. In addition to coloring pages, we could include checklists for words they hear during the sermon or other creative activities that could work for families that don’t feel ready to place their kids in a class.
- Inviting parents and others to get involved to ease their minds and help fill any gaps in staff that we might have.
Training Volunteers for Post COVID Children’s Ministry
- Training volunteers is inevitably going to begin with assessing any new roles that can help the transition back into CommunityKids for parents and children.
- Start training and including volunteers now. This is a good time to include them in any online videos, newsletters, and resources for children so a new rhythm and structure can already be established as we move toward reopening.
- Implement wellness checks, including:
- Implementing temperature checks with hand-held thermometers for volunteers and children
- Asking volunteers questions like, “Have you been sick in the past 14 days?” or “Have you been around someone sick recently?”
- Requiring everyone to wear masks
- Perhaps we could hang photos of our staff and volunteers on the door, so the kids have a friendly reminder and a sense of normalcy as they walk in??
- Having multiple hand-sanitizing stations
- Sanitize rooms and toys with a fogger between services.
- Separate toys into “clean” and “used” bins.
- Assign volunteers who can help disinfect classrooms in between services. This is something that requires all of the kids have to be out of the classroom and may require service times to be adjusted as well.
3 Ways Leaders Can Address Separation Anxiety After COVID-19
- Communicate a narrative of hope, comfort, and truth through the word of God by assuring parents that God is in control of all things. Also, being intentional about discipling parents during this time, equipping them to disciple their children.
- Affirm parents that their children are safe and cared about in order to ease their worries and help give them a sense of peace. The precautions we take will send parents a strong message, so again, we will need to be very intentional about over-communicating our strategies.
- Taking a slow and phased-in approach to reopening ComKids so kids have time to effectively process and acclimate to the transition.
The Future of Summer Challenge
Many churches are considering a VBS hybrid over a number of weeks where they bring groups of kids in for an opening session and have outdoor games, then send them home with kits to either do backyard clubs with 3 or 4 families or by themselves.
3 Possible strategies for Summer Challenge:
- Stick to having a traditional Summer Challenge, if possible.
- Neighborhood backyard strategy – Mobilizing families in a backyard that way so we can have smaller groups and invite neighborhood kids too.
- Find an alternative way to do Summer Challenge by spacing it out over time or postponing it as a “back to school bash.”