Controlling the Chaos: Tips for VBS Dismissal

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Dismissal at the end of your VBS day can be challenging and chaotic as children rush to join their parents. Security is very important, regardless of the size of your church, so curbing the chaos can help make sure every child is returned safely to the proper parent or guardian. But what’s the best way to release children to their parents?

What’s the best way to release children to their parents?


This question was recently asked on our Answers VBS Discussion Group on Facebook. And everyone had great suggestions! Here’s what you said (emphasis added):

  • We assigned a number to each kid, and that number was on the back of their name tag. The parent received a card with that same number and a list of people that could pick up the child. The parent or authorized person had to have that card or a picture of that card on their phone. As they exited the auditorium, we had workers there checking the #s the parents had and made sure they matched the name tag. The leaders then took the kids’ name tags, and we put them back in their leader bags later for the next day.

  • We had one person with a microphone announce kids as parents came to pick up. Everyone entered/exited through one spot in sanctuary. We basically had our own kids, so we knew who was picking up who. You could assign each kid/family a number at registration. Place number on the name tag. The person picking up must tell you the number.

  • We start each group in a smaller classroom. Where the parents drop off and then pick up. MUCH more orderly. Less chaos all the way around.

  • We have the parents come to the door with a card filled out listing all the children in the family on the card. A teen goes to get the children, and they are escorted to the parent. We do not allow parents in the sanctuary. Our sanctuary has three doors. We use one door for the parents to come to, and the two others are used for the dismissal of the children.

  • We have an announcer at the back. Parents come in with a card that has the names of the kids they need. The kids stay seated in their places with VBS music and leaders leading. As each name is announced with flair, the kids high five the teacher and exits. We had 175 kids last year. The exit took about 10 minutes in total.

  • We have the children stay at their home base with their leaders, and then the parents go to where their children are and sign them out, and we have someone standing at the entrance to the sanctuary making sure no one leaves without a parent or guardian.

  • If you have an area in your parking lot for a car line to form, car pick up is the best! We bring the kids out of our sanctuary into the hallway by the door we use for car pickup. The parents have their guardian pass, and we call names as they pull up. It’s so smooth and less chaotic than parents coming in.

These are some great ideas! No matter how you choose to dismiss your VBS kids, make sure security is a top priority Parents will appreciate the effort!

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