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Family/Child Check-In

The Family/Child Check-In system is designed to help your preschool or children's departments be more efficient. As such, it performs several important functions:

  • Check children into a group or class
  • Generate a label for children that includes their name and other important information, such as allergies, medical issues, or special needs
  • Provide emergency contact information and special instructions from the parents
  • Facilitate the check out process by ensuring that only authorized people can pick up a child.

Additionally, you can use the Check In screen to mark other family members present for their groups or classes. When properly utilized, you can quickly check in an entire family, mark them present for an event, print the children's info labels, and print the parent's pick-up label. For a family already entered in your database, this entire process can take less than 10 seconds. Here's a list of a few things that you'll need for an effective check-in station:

  • A computer with a high-resolution display (we recommend at least 1200 pixels across and 1000 pixels down)
  • A browser without any extra toolbars, plug-ins, etc. that may reduce the amount of usable screen space
  • A printer (we recommend a dedicated label printer, but you can use a standard printer too). If you use a label printer, any brand should work as long as it can use label tape that is 2 inches or wider. Dymo and Brother labels printers work well, although you may need to install the printer drivers from the manufacturer's website for the labels to print correctly.
  • A friendly person who can smile and make people feel welcome.
TIP: We recommend using the Check-In screen as part of a volunteer or staff-manned check-in station. While this process is easy enough for the average person to check in their own family, you will want a friendly, welcoming face to assist newcomers and regulars alike.
To begin, go to the Attendance screen and select a Group Category and date, just as if you were entering attendance for that event. If the date you want to work with does not yet exist, go ahead and create it. attendance screen checkin Next, click Family/Child Check-In on the Attendance screen's toolbar. This will open the Check-In screen, which completely covers the attendance screen. (To return to the Attendance screen, click on the blue 'X' or click Refresh on your browser). The Check-In screen is divided into three columns. The first column contains a search box, and when a family arrives, you can begin typing the name and then select the family's name. You can type either a first or last name in the search box to locate a family. attendance screen checkin
TIP: If a new family arrives who is not already in your database, you can quickly add that family by clicking the Add a New Family button at the bottom of the first column. This screen allows you to quickly add each family member to your database, and gives you the option of assigning each person in the new family to a group or class for this event.
  When you click on a family's name in the list in the first (left) column of the Check In screen, the second column will display the names of the individuals who are members of this family. A check box will appear next to each person in this family. (No check box will appear if that person is not assigned to a group for this attendance event). You can mark a person present for this event by checking the box next to their name. attendance screen checkin Additionally, you can click on a person's name, and the third column of the Check-In screen will display information for this individual. This is where you will enter allergy information, notes, and emergency contact information. attendance screen checkin

At the top of the third column you will see the group or class that this person is currently assigned to for this attendance event. If the person is not assigned to a group or class, you can select a group from the list. This will create a new attendance record for this person for today's attendance event, plus it will also add them to the roll for the group that you selected. This means that the person will automatically appear in this group for new attendance events that are created in the future. Also, a check box will now appear next to this person's name in the second (middle) column of the Check In screen, allowing you to mark them present for this event.

If a person is already assigned to a group, you can quickly change that person to a different group or class using this same group selection box. The change takes place for this attendance event, plus for all future attendance events that are created.

The third (right) column of the Check-In screen is also where you will specify allergies, medical issues, special instructions and emergency contact information for this child. Most of this information will appear on the child's Info label, as well as on the Check-In List Report.

Once you have provided or updated each child's information, click the "Mark All Present" button to check all the family members present for the current attendance event. You can also check off the names that are present one by one. Once you have marked the individuals present, you can click the "Print Labels" button to generate the Child Info labels for the children in this family.

Note: When you click "Mark All Present" or "Print Labels", the program automatically records the check-in time for the selected family members.
  The Child Info Labels contain important information about the child. It will display the person's name, any allergies or medical issues and emergency contact information. It also display the family's unique Security Code. This Security Code will match for all family members, and it will also be printed on an additional Parent label that you'll give to the parent when they drop off their children. attendance screen checkin
TIP: For smaller children, we recommend placing the label on the child's back, which provides less opportunity for labels to be taken off or lost.

Unfortunately, the world we live in today is full of evil people who seek to do harm to children. In a smaller church where everybody knows everybody, you might be tempted to not use the Security Code feature found on the Info labels and the Parent label. However, we recommend that it be utilized to ensure that children are only released to authorized individuals. Often the volunteers who are on duty during check-in time are not the same volunteers who are present during pick up time. Using our built-in security processes can help to ensure that children are always released to the correct person.

For the system to work as it is designed, you'll want to print the Info labels and Parent labels each week. (Alternatively, you can save resources by printing and laminating your labels and reusing them for a longer period of time). You will secure the child's labels to the children, and provide the Parent's label to the parent who drops the children off. Be sure the parent knows that this label will have to be returned at pick up time in order to collect the children. Make it you policy that you will only release children to the person who provides the Parent label with the correct Security Code.

The Parent label has the family's Security Code, but it does not contain the family's name or the names of the children who were dropped off. This is by design. This means the person who shows up to pick up the children:

  • Should have a parent label with the security code that matches the security code on the children's labels, and
  • They should know the names of the child(ren) they are picking up.
If additional security is needed, you might ask to see identification to verify that it matches the family name. If you do not need to include the Security Code or Parent labels, you can turn these off in settings, described below. By default the Check-In screen is in Check-In mode, but you can switch to Check-Out mode using the selection box in the top right corner of the screen. Check-Out mode provides you a way to record which children were picked up and it records a time stamp of their departure. Additionally, you also have the option of specifying the name of the person who picked up the children. Not all churches require check out mode, but it's there if you need it.  
TIP: You can also type a family's Security Code into the search box to instantly view that family's information.
  In the top right corner of the screen you'll find two icons. The Settings icon gives you access to options for the Check-In screen. Also, it allows you to specify which Groups or Classes are in your children or preschool department. The program will only generate Child labels for the children in the classes you specify here. attendance screen checkin

You have the option to "Automatically display the Print Dialog when generating labels". When this box is checked, it eliminates the need to first preview the labels, as well as reduces the amount of time necessary for checking a family in. However, you may need to make some adjustments in your browser to ensure this works correctly.

The labels are generated in PDF format, and most browsers have a built-in PDF viewer that allows you to view and print PDF content. However, you may have a third-party plug-in that disables the browser's built-in PDF functionality, which may cause this feature to perform unexpectedly. In general, if your browser downloads a PDF file instead of displaying the print dialog on screen, you need to adjust your configuration. You may need to either enable the browser's built-in PDF functionality or remove any third-party PDF viewers or plugins. Typically, this feature works well in Chrome, Safari, and Firefox with their default settings. It is designed in such a way that, after pressing the "Print Labels" button, you should only have to press "Print" on your browser's print dialog for the labels to begin printing.

The Print icon in the top right corner of the Check-In screen will generate a check-in report showing who was present, along with their allergy information, important instructions, and emergency contact information. It will also display their check-in and check-out times if available. You can use this report as an in-class supplement to the information on the children's labels, or to view information and follow-up after-the-fact.

If you are wanting to utilize printing with a device like an iPad or iPhone, make sure you select the manual printer setting. This has to do with how AirPrint functions and sends the file.

To exit the Check In screen, click on the blue 'X' in the top-right corner, or refresh your browser.