It is absolutely necessary to establish boundaries for how we interact with children. Remember, our number one goal is the safety and security of the children we teach. We are also responsible to protect our volunteers from false accusations or inappropriate appearances. Let’s take a look at two very important areas of safety:
Physical Touch Guidelines
Appropriate Touch Includes
- Gently touching a child’s shoulders, hands, arms, head and back to comfort
- Using a gentle touch to redirect a child
- Encouraging a child with high-fives, knuckle bumps, or pats on the back
- Sitting a crying preschooler on your lap to comfort them
Inappropriate Touch May Include
- Sitting older children on your lap
- Extended hugging or kissing
- Touching areas that would be covered by a swimsuit
- Any touching to express dominance over the child
Restroom Procedures and Guidelines
It is always best to encourage parents to take their children to the restroom prior to bringing them to class.
- Two unrelated adults could escort the entire group for a restroom break
- Assign a restroom monitor for all classes who remains outside the restroom door
- If pre-school children request assistance the adult may assist without closing the stall
- Ask parents of special needs children to define their child’s needs
- Diapering should include the use of disposable gloves. You may want to call a parent to change a child’s diaper.
- Call parents to assist if a child has an accident
Every church should have clearly defined procedures in place to protect both the children and the volunteers. These procedures must be clearly communicated to anyone working with children. Please stress the importance of protecting the children to everyone involved.
Are there any additional comments or procedures you would add to this list?
Keith Tusing is a Family Ministries Pastor with 20+ years of experience serving churches in Texas, Arizona and Florida. He has been married to his amazing wife, Julie, for 30 years and is the father of six incredible kids. His passion is to see Children’s, Youth and Family Ministries that encourage leaders to partner with parents in developing the next generation.