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Children’s Ministry Illness Policy: How to Protect Students & Teachers

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Why do you need a children’s ministry illness policy? And what type of information should it contain? Read on to learn about best practices for keeping everyone safe.

I love fall and winter, when kids come to church and Sunday school in puffy coats. They’re like little ministry marshmallows. Then comes the harsh reminder that this also means it’s cold and flu season. Post-pandemic, that seems to be a bit scarier each year. All types of illnesses wreak havoc on our country and on parents’ sense of safety.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if those puffy coats gave off a mist of Lysol whenever they were squished? I may be on to something here.

As a children’s ministry leader, I realize how many kids (and germs) we come in contact with and how often. The average child gets between six to eight colds a year. So the immune system of every kidmin worker is probably working overtime.

Why You Need a Children’s Ministry Illness Policy

While working on our children’s ministry illness policy, I discovered it was outdated. You might ask why this even matters. It’s just a runny nose, right? I believe this subject is important because it reflects how we minister to families.

As parents come to church, especially those who visit, they want to know their children are safe and in great care. Most parents may not love the idea of being called back if junior is running a fever. Yet most appreciate the effort to keep everyone healthy, especially with kids’ best interest at heart.

So first, make sure parents know you have a children’s ministry illness policy (if you don’t, you should!). Next, tell parents why the policy is in place. You love their children and want them to be happy and healthy at church. Plus, you want to protect your workers.

Finally, be sure to enforce your children’s ministry illness policy. Steps 1 and 2 make this possible. Yesterday  at check-in, a child told me she’d been throwing up at bedtime but felt better now. As I reminded Mom of our policy, she understood, and we didn’t send her child to class. I called today and she’s doing much better, and we’ll see her Sunday! This is a hands-on example of how being prepared makes for a good outcome. Mom appreciated our concern and happily followed the procedure.

10 Tips for Using an Illness Policy at Church

Here are 10 ways to maximize your use of a children’s ministry illness policy:

1. Have a policy in place.

2. Regularly sanitize the kidmin rooms.

3. Learn to love Lysol.

It kills everything! We spray in between sanitizing days.

4. Provide guidelines.

Tell parents when children must stay home. Be specific about symptoms, such as green runny nose, fever, or vomiting within 24 hours. Also let parents know when it’s OK for children to return. Be sure to address lice in the illness policy too.

5. Post it!

Policies are pointless if nobody knows them.