We all know Vacation Bible School takes a LOT of planning. You’ve probably spent hours researching Vacation Bible School tips, deciding on your schedule and theme, recruiting volunteers, and coming up with all kinds of creative ideas to keep your kids happy and engaged.
But, you might be forgetting something.
How are you planning to connect with parents? Adding one more thing to your to-do list during such a jam-packed week may seem crazy, but don’t worry!
We have a few tips that will help you seamlessly integrate parents into Vacation Bible School so they feel valued and included.
This is especially important if Vacation Bible School draws in non-churchgoers from your community. Parents may not have any other contact with church throughout the year, so this is your chance to make an impact.
Ready for some simple ways to get connected to parents during Vacation Bible School? Read on!
1. Make time to greet them
Don’t let the check-in rush interrupt your opportunity to greet parents as they drop off their kids. Look them in the eye, ask their names, ask how they are, and offer to answer any questions they may have about the day.
Continue to do this each morning – consistency is key. Assemble a dream team of greeters for drop-off and pick-up times in order to make sure every parent receives a personal greeting each day. Even the simple act of remembering their names will go a long way toward making parents feel valued. Plus, this is a great time to invite them to further engage with your activities for the week.
These volunteers should also be enthusiastic and knowledgeable about Vacation Bible School programming. It may even be useful to have one volunteer be the designated go-to person when it comes to questions about the church itself.
2. Give them a reason to linger
Most busy parents won’t say no to a free cup of coffee. Having a coffee cart or table set up by the check-in area gives parents a reason to stick around for a few extra minutes. Some may grab the coffee and go, but you’ll have the chance to connect with others who have a little time to stay.
A short conversation is all it takes to encourage any interest a parent may have in your church. With a warm cup of coffee in hand, they’re likely to be more receptive to learning about other ways to get connected throughout the year. Vacation Bible School week is a great time to have an extra outreach event planned as a way to offer parents a natural, interesting way to follow up with and return to your church.
3. Host a meal
A free meal is a great way to get parents to stick around. You can serve breakfast, lunch, or dinner (if you do Vacation Bible School in the evening) – whatever works best with your schedule for the day. Sharing a meal around a table is a wonderful way to connect with those who are already members of your church, or those who are only participating in Vacation Bible School.
Serving a meal every day can help establish consistency throughout the week and gives you a chance to really start building relationships. However, if a daily meal isn’t in your budget, just have one and make it really special!
4. Provide take-home sheets
Take-home sheets give parents a way to engage with their kids once they pick them up from Vacation Bible School. You can have slips printed out with targeted questions about the day’s activities that parents can review with kids on the car ride home.
You can also give kids take-home art or activities from the day that they can share with their parents. Anything that helps start a conversation and helps kids and parents connect!
5. Have “Take Your Parent To Vacation Bible School Day”
Kids would probably love the chance to include their parents in their activities one day. You could designate the final day of Vacation Bible School as a time for parents to join the fun. Not all parents will be able to join in, but it’s a great way to show them what their kids have been up to all week.
During this time, give ownership to the kids in your Vacation Bible School. Allow them to plan for when their parents join, have them lead an activity, or teach the lesson. Parents will love to see their kids engaged and learning, but giving ownership to kids also encourages confidence. It’s a win-win situation!
6. Throw an “End of Vacation Bible School” party
Having a send-off party is a fun way to close the Vacation Bible School week. This a great chance for you to showcase all you did during the week, and it gives parents the opportunity to see and experience all the fun their kids had.
Start your end of Vacation Bible School party with a large gathering of families and kids. Plan a program that showcases the kids and all the songs and memory verses they learned. Kids get the chance to teach their parents and can encourage them to interact.
At the end of the program, have someone deliver a quick sermon that concludes the week and is applicable to both kids and adults. Celebrate all that was accomplished during the week, recognize kids who made faith decisions, and invite everyone to return on Sunday. Keep the party going with a communal meal or potluck, or an exciting send-off!
These are just a few ideas, but we hope these Vacation Bible School tips help you connect with parents all week long!
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