Establish and consistently enforce sign in and sign out procedures.
Determine who will bring and pick up children. Provide a system of identification so that you know the appropriate person is picking up each child. Before parents leave, volunteers should know the following information: child and parent names, allergies, and cell phone number. Many churches also require parents to give permission for the child to be assisted with restroom/diaper needs or a phone number to contact parents to assist their children.
Develop policies and procedures for volunteers and the care of children.
All volunteer staff must complete a ministry application and referral form, as well as, background check. You can find a sample application packet at children.cogop.org.
All volunteer staff should be trained in nursery ministry. Training can include reading the nursery handbook and all posted guidelines, working alongside a trained nursery volunteer for a specified period of time, and attending regularly scheduled training meetings for all ministry staff.
Have clear policies regarding the care of children. These policies include feeding of children, who can assist children with restroom/diaper needs and the proper procedures, emergency policies, etc. Make sure every volunteer knows what to do if a child is choking, if there is a fire, or if there is a threat to security. Have a telephone available to nursery staff so an emergency can be communicated as quickly as possible.
Have an appropriate volunteer to child ratio. When there are fewer children per adult, children are happier, more attached to their caregivers, have less tantrums, and have more advanced language skills. Caregivers who are responsible for less children are also more responsive to the needs of children. A good ratio for nursery is 3-4 infants or toddlers to one adult and 4-6 two year olds to one adult. However, even if you have fewer than 4 children in the nursery, have two volunteers in the nursery at all times. This allows one volunteer to care for an injured or upset child while the other volunteer looks after the rest of the children. It also protects each volunteer from accusations of child abuse.