Should Parents Stay for VBS?

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We recently asked the following question on our Answers VBS Discussion Group Facebook page to create a discussion and help other VBS leaders and volunteers think through whether or not they should include parents in VBS and, if so, how to do so safely.

Do you welcome parents of visiting children to stay with their child for VBS? If so, how do you address child-safety concerns?

We got many great responses from you! Some churches run an adult class, so, if parents would like to stay for any reason, there’s something for them.

Parents are encouraged to attend our adult class, and all kids have parent info on their tag (where parent will be/phone number), so we can contact parents if a kid gets upset.
We started an adult class to address this issue. Also the staff use the round AIG name buttons while the adult class has name tags like the kids.

Others allow parents to trail their children, but they are careful to make sure safety and security are maintained.

To keep transparency, we allow parents to trail their children, but they are always in the presence of the teachers. As a parent, I wouldn't want to leave my kids at a church that told me I couldn’t see what they were doing.
We do not encourage them to do so, but do welcome them to stay with their child if they wish. They are allowed to travel around with their child’s group and watch, but under no circumstances should they be asked to supervise any children.
We do not specifically invite parents to stay, but if they want to they are welcome. They must check in with our registration team, show ID, and wear a name badge. Our security team is alerted to their presence, and they are watched closely (and discreetly) from a distance. Some members of our security team are trained to make direct contact with them. . . . It subtly points out that we are aware there is someone new on the premises.
We allow parents to stay if they ask. We just let them know that if they want to shadow their child that’s fine. However, if they want to help with the other children, we need to run a background check. Even then they are not left alone with the other children under any circumstance.
If they want to stay it is ok, but we ask them to complete a background check since they are in the building with other children. Everyone over 18 has a completed background check on file.

If you’re a VBS leader or volunteer, join our Answers VBS Discussion Group to ask your questions and offer advice and wisdom to others. We’d love to connect with you!

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