In any discussion about VBS among kidmin leaders, inevitably there will be questions about how to get kids safely dismissed without long lines, irritated parents and kids running wild.
Sometimes people plan their registrations very carefully, but dismissal ends up being an afterthought. The way to solve this problem is to make good plans for dismissal, communicate those plans to your volunteers, parents and kids, then follow your plan.
Plans should include:
What registration volunteers do – mainly, they need to carefully follow your plan. I have found that having parents sign their child out, then give them a sticker to put on their child’s hand, and lastly have them go to their child’s group to pick them up works well. They need to be shown where the group is by a registration assistant, don’t leave them wandering. The sticker is to show that the child has been signed out and is now in care of the parent.
What other volunteers do – have “security” stationed at each exit to check kids’ hands as they leave. Every kid must be stickered so you know they’ve been officially signed out. The leaders who are with the kids (crew leaders or age group leaders) are responsible to keep their group with them and sitting down until their parent picks them up. This is a great time to learn more about the kids. Talk about what they liked/didn’t like at VBS, etc. Play a clapping or guessing game, but no one leaves the group till they are picked up.
What parents do – each parent must sign out each child, not just one signature for a group of kids. This will save those panicked moments when you don’t know where a kid is and he hasn’t been signed out. After signing kids out, parents then take their child’s sticker, go to his group, put the sticker on the child’s hand, pick up any crafts, etc., then leave, having the child’s hand checked at the exit.
What kids do – kids stay seated with their leaders and talk, play guessing games or the like until their parent comes. They get a sticker for their hand, pick up any crafts and leave, getting the hand checked at the exit. A great idea for kids of volunteers is to send them to a designated room as you begin dismissal to watch a movie or do a craft under supervision. This allows your volunteers to not worry about where their kids are.
However you decide to do it, remember to plan ahead and make sure all your people are on the same page, so you can have a safe, quick, chaos-free dismissal.