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Christmas is coming fast and for most churches that means an increase in visiting families. But wouldn't it be great if those "visitors" became "regulars?" (Why yes...yes it would!) Great, then we agree! Believe it or not, what happens in your children's ministry can have a huge impact on retention. Unless you’re an extreme extrovert, you probably know the terror of walking into a room filled with people you don’t know. It’s the same for kids. Unfamiliar places filled with unfamiliar faces can be downright scary for them! You can help, though. If you follow a few simple steps, you can put these visiting "Christmas kids" (and therefore their parents) at ease. In fact, you might be the difference between a family sticking with your church or disappearing forever. So here are 5 ways you can help retain the Christmas kids:Greet new kids right away: The most awkward moment for new kids is the moment they walk through the door. Strike fast! If they’re younger and smaller, get down on your knee at eye level. Introduce yourself to the new kid, ask them their name and engage them in conversation. You’ll probably see the anxiety draining from their face. Show new kids around the room: If a kid is familiar with their environment, they will feel much more at ease. Show them around. Point out the different areas of the room and tell them what they’re for. More than that, tell them what’s going to happen over the course of the hour.Introduce new kids to others: New kids will be happy to have a leader who connects with them, but at some point, they’ll want to feel like they have a friend their own age. Personally introduce them to other kids. During small group time, introduce them to the whole group.Give new kids a good sendoff: A good sendoff can go a long way in encouraging a kid to return. Try any or all of these: “It was nice meeting you”, “You’re a lot of fun”, or “I hope to see you again”.
Connect with the new kid's family: During pick up time, keep an eye out for the new parents. Introduce yourself and thank them for coming. Tell them a little bit about what you did over the hour. Tell them how great it was having their kid join you and let them know you'd love to see them all again. This brief moment of connection can mean all the world with retention.