Why Use Check-In?

Check-In lets you secure areas of your church for children. Authorized teachers and volunteers are allowed into these areas, but the only other adults permitted are parents and guardians with a security badge coded for the event.

Check-In is typically used for Sunday school classes, evening youth classes, children's church, children's parties, etc. You can also use Realm check-in for adult gatherings, but this guide covers only children's events.

The Physical Space

If your church already has check-in, you can probably just skip this section. If you're setting it up for the first time, please read on.

Consider the location of your children's area. If there is just one point of entry and exit, you'll only need to secure that location with check-in. There should be no other entries, or, if there are, make sure they are either secured with check-in or barred for access during class time.

Larger churches with a building dedicated to classrooms can simply secure each open door.

Wherever you set up check-in, plan for the possibility of lines, and make sure they won't interfere with other foot traffic through your building. It's difficult for monitors to watch children if a crowd forms. Parents, of course, will also appreciate a short walk between the parking area and where they drop off their kids.

Finally, it goes without saying that the more kiosks you set up, the shorter your check-in lines will be. As a rule of thumb, it takes one minute for three families to check in at a single kiosk (when everything is running smoothly).

Before You Start

Equipment and Software RequiredBoth are free. You can Install the latest versions of these now, but, if you launch check-in without them, a Realm popup window will also provide links to the correct downloads.

Check-In works with both Mac and Windows. If using Windows, make sure to use Windows 8 or newer. Check-in will not work with Windows 7.

Supported Label Printers (for Printing Security Badges)

A Dymo Labelwriter 450 Turbo printer using 30256-sized labels, driver (the software that runs the printer), and the printer set as the default printer for both your computer and browser.

The Zebra GK420d Label Printer, driver, and set as default. Use 30256-sized labels.

The Brother Wireless Label Printer QL810W, driver, and set as default. Use Brother-Compatible DK-2205 labels

Recommended for Quick Sign-Ins

A barcode scanner. Most kinds will work if they are of type Code 39 with hard-coded carriage returns, but we only support those sold in our store.

For detailed system requirements and links to much of the software listed here, see Set up Printers for Check-In.

Realm Group Setup Required

Realm check-in uses children's names from group rosters already set up. You may already have a group structure for your children's ministry set up. If you don't, you'll need to create a ministry area, Children's Ministry for example, with groups under it: Kindergarten, First Grade, etc. Only children on the group roster will be recognized for check in; however, two of the three check-in modes will let you add others as guests. More on that later.

If you haven't set up groups yet, see Groups.

Realm Group Events Required

Realm check-in also uses events already set up. You'll need to create events for each of your check-in service times in the appropriate groups. If you do this from the Ministry Area level, it will be quicker than creating the same event in each individual group. This will allow families to check-in their children to the correct service time.

If you've never set up group events, see Group and Ministry Area Events for details. In an ideal situation, the classes you want to secure with a single kiosk location will have their corresponding Realm groups in the same ministry area, and their class event times will coincide because they were created at the ministry area level. If they do not, you can still include them all in one Realm kiosk (explained below) and, therefore, one physical kiosk. Just add the groups to the kiosk one at a time, adjust event times, or rearrange your Realm group structure to accommodate the physical space. If you have additional classroom areas, be sure to secure them similarly.

Set up your Realm Kiosk

We'll be talking about two different kinds of kiosks. The first—a Realm kiosk—is set up only in Realm. It is a virtual kiosk. But you will use it on the computer set up at your physical kiosk—the station where you've probably set up your label printer and where parents come to drop off their kids.

Let's set up your Realm kiosks.

Before we start, make sure you have the permission Manage Kiosks set to Allow in one of your Realm responsibilities. If not, check with a person who manages Realm at your church.

Then, follow the steps below.
  1. Log in to Realm.
  2. Click Admin then Check-In.
  3. Click Add Check-In Kiosk.
  4. Enter a Name such as "Kids' Sunday School" or "Sunday Night Youth". You will be able to use this kiosk again and again—whenever the groups associated with it have events scheduled.
  5. For Kiosk Type, select Group.
  6. Select Only certain groups can check in to this kiosk. You can also use All groups… It will make setup easier, but it will not be as secure.
  7. If you selected Only certain groups, click Add Group, then select a group or ministry area you want covered by this kiosk. Think about all the classes or events you want to secure with the physical kiosk that will be at this location. If grades 1-6 will be secured by a single physical kiosk, you should create a Realm kiosk that includes all those groups. More than one physical kiosk can use a single Realm kiosk, but a single physical kiosk computer cannot use more than one Realm kiosk at a time.
Choosing a ministry area means you can check in all the groups associated with it using this Realm kiosk. You can also click ⌄ next to a ministry area and choose individual groups.
  1. Click the drop-down list under Badge Template, and select Add New Badge Template.
  2. Give your template a name, like "K-5 Check-In Badge".
  3. Select the information you want to appear on each badge. If you want to include a security ID that must be matched between parents and children at pickup time, be sure to select Security ID. The Security Badge section at the bottom is what will appear on the badge given to parents. The image(s) on the right side let you see how much info will fit on your badges.
  4. If using badges, and you're connected to a running badge printer, click Print test badge to see if your forms are lined up.
  5. Click Save.
  6. Make any other selections you want to, then click Save again.

The Appearance tab lets you customize the look of your kiosk screen

Launch Kiosks and Test Equipment

You'll want to test everything out and run through some practice check-ins before your first launch.

Set up your physical kiosk with any computers (make sure they have all the software described in Before you Start), label printers, and scanners.

To launch kiosks, you'll need either the Manage Kiosks or the Launch Check-In Kiosks permission among your Realm responsibilities. If not, check with a person who manages Realm at your church.

With that said, let's give your check-in kiosks a try.
  1. Start up your computers and label printers.
  2. Open Realm on the computers you'll be using.
  3. If there is not an event scheduled for one of the groups covered by your Realm kiosk, create one temporarily—for the current day and time—by going to the group's Event tab. Also, note the names of one or two members on the group Roster tab.
  4. Click Admin > Check-In.
  5. Point to the kiosk you set up in the previous section.
  6. Click that appears to the right. Note that you can launch, edit, and delete kiosks from here.
  7. Select Launch Kiosk.
  1. Select a check-in mode:
    • Check-In-Only. Parents and children will be able to check themselves in. Guests (attendees not on the roster of the event group) will not be allowed to check in.
    • Check-In & Sign-Up. Parents and children will be able to check themselves in. Guests will be allowed to check in.
    • Assisted Check-In & Dashboard. Staff or volunteers should monitor these kiosks. They will be able to check-in attendees and guests. They can also edit the information on an individual's check-in profile and assign check-in numbers.
    Which mode(s) you choose depends on your church's preferences. Some churches only allow assisted check-in, others set up both types. That way, if attendees have trouble with self-check-in, they can visit an assisted kiosk for help.
  2. Enter the group member's last or full name and click Enter.
  3. At this point, you can also associate a barcode with this family. Click and follow the onscreen instructions. Once scanned, the barcode can be used to speed up future check-ins for this family.
  4. Select a specific attendee, if asked, and then select an event.
  5. Click Check In (number of) people.
  6. A confirmation message lets you know if the person has been checked in. A badge prints automatically at this time.
  7. Information printed on the badge is selected during the Realm kiosk setup. If needed, edit a kiosk to make changes to these and other selections.
  8. Attach the first badge to the child and give the second to the parent or guardian. Be sure to match the security codes on each badge when adults arrive to pick up the kids.
Tips:

1—Some churches rely on BOTH security badges and a list of all children in a class or area. As each child is picked up, they are signed out to a guardian with a matching badge, and checked off the list.

2—Many customers recommend placing badges on children's backs where they can't easily remove them. For older children, some also use badge holders with lanyards.

Timeline

Checklist

Troubleshooting

Last updated: April 26, 2018