Child check-in - configuration guide

In this article

Introduction
Configuring your Brother label printer - Mac
Configuring your Brother label printer - Windows
Configuring the Child Check-In settings in ChurchSuite
Configuring 'kiosk mode' in your web browser

Introduction

ChurchSuite's Child Check-In system is purpose-built to help churches register and check children and young people into groups quickly and securely, and then just as easily check them out again at the end of the session, helping leaders manage their session and ensuring that each child is returned to the correct responsible adult.

The Check-In system can be used to check in your regular children, serving team members and visiting families. It can be used at your church's central child registration point in both staffed or unstaffed configurations, or for leaders to run "in room" check-in/out on a portable device, or a combination of both. The Child Check-In system adds child attendance records to your ChurchSuite Children module, providing churches with the all-important safeguarding records and comprehensive attendance reporting so that churches can easily monitor growth in this vital area of ministry.

When used with a compatible Brother label printer, the Child Check-In system can be used to print child name badges, parent pick-up badges, room badges and team badges. The Check-In system can also be used without badge-printing, perhaps for a mid-week youth gathering where you simply want to maintain an accurate check-in/out register of attendance.

The system is incredibly versatile, allowing churches to effectively manage adult-to-child ratios, and any restrictions you may have around each group's capacity (preventing further check-ins once capacity is reached).

Importantly it's easy to use - your leaders, parents and visiting families will love it!

In this article we cover configuration of the Child Check-In system - configuration includes:

  • Installing and configuring the Brother label printer drivers on your Check-In device*
  • Configuring the Connect Options in the Children module's settings
  • Configuring your browser for kiosk mode on your check-in device*

*Not applicable if using the ChurchSuite Android Connect app (see related article). See the related support articles for further information about Check-In Operation - opening a check-in session and checking children in and out - and the Check-In Admin Area that your ministry leaders will use.

Supported hardware: check-in device

Wired configuration

Where speed of processing queues of parents and children is crucial, we recommend using a "wired" printer connected to a Windows check-in device or computer by USB - badge printing is quicker with wired printing. A Windows device running full Chrome works best as Windows Chrome supports the use of kiosk mode and silent printing. Make sure your Windows version is supported by Brother's printer drivers.

Wireless configuration

The system can also be used in a wireless configuration with compatible hardware (check-in device and printer). The device must be either a Windows device running Google Chrome, or an Android device running the ChurchSuite Connect app (available from Play Store).

Incompatible hardware and known limitations

Android: Except for Android devices running the ChurchSuite Connect app, Android devices are not suitable for browser printing due to constraints in Android's native Google Print, which does not support kiosk mode or silent printing.

Kindle Fire: The Kindle Fire is not a suitable check-in device as it doesn't run true Android or support a Chrome browser with silent printing.

Chromebook: The Chromebook is not a suitable device as it is not an Android device and runs Chromebook OS, rather than Android OS. Badge printing is therefore not possible on a Chromebook.

Windows: For Windows devices, make sure your device's Windows operating system is supported by Brother's printer drivers - for example, devices running Windows Surface are not currently supported by Brother.

iOS: The ChurchSuite Connect app is currently only available for comparatively less expensive Android devices. An iOS Connect app is expected to be available in the future. Currently iOS devices are not suitable for badge printing from a Safari browser environment due to the constraints of the native Apple Air Print which doesn't support kiosk mode or silent printing.

No printing requirements?

Any device (Android, Windows or iOS) with a browser can be used for Child Check-In where badge printing is not required and also for child check-out.

Supported hardware: which printer?

Before using the Child Check-In system for badge printing, you will first need to install and configure the Brother label printer on your computer. ChurchSuite supports the Brother QL-570, QL-710 and QL-720 (no longer available) and the newer QL-700,& QL-800, QL-810W and QL-820NWB models. We recommend Google Chrome as the preferred browser for running Child Check-In in a browser on a Windows computer - Chrome for Windows supports silent "kiosk" mode printing so that labels are printed without the usual on-screen print confirmation messages. Certain other browsers can also be used - see our related support article "Silent printing and kiosk mode alternatives for Child Check-In".

Big labels or small?

The instructions in this support article are for the 205 Small size label. If you want to use the 205 Large size label instead, follow the same instructions but set the width to 62mm and the height to 100mm.

Printing costs

"205" refers to the Brother continuous label stationery you'll need for your QL printer - part number DK22205 (or non-branded equivalent); and is available inexpensively from a number of online resellers. A DK22205 continuous label roll is approx. 30.4m (30,400mm) long and will therefore produce 304 x 100mm length large labels, or 1048 x 29mm length small labels, or 706 x 43mm length Android Connect app check-in labels. In calculating your anticipated costs and stationery needs, remember that labels may be printed for child name badges, parent pick-up badges, room badges and team badges. All badges will all be printed on the same size label - it is not possible to set different size labels for each badge type as the size is governed by the printer driver and not ChurchSuite.

Stop your printer sleeping!

By default, Brother printers are preset to sleep and power down after 60 minutes of inactivity. Ordinarily, this isn't an issue, unless your church has multiple weekend services where the printer may switch off in between services and check-in sessions, resulting in possible connectivity issues or queued unprinted labels that cause a bottleneck. This Brother support article explains how to override the default sleep settings and disable the inactivity power down.

Resolving Brother driver issues

If you experience issues with your computer not communicating with your Brother printer, you may find Brother's Printer Driver Information Cleanup Tool helpful for removing previously installed drivers so that you can perform a clean install.

Supported hardware: wifi & internet considerations

Child Check-In relies on uninterrupted internet access during a check-in session, as your child attendance data is written back to your Children module from the Check-In system in real time. Churches will experience unavoidable connectivity issues if either the connection between the check-in device and printer, or the check-in device and the internet, is lost or unreliable. We recommend you use a dedicated router with its own private network for your mission-critical processes like Child Check-In.

Many churches offer attendees public wifi at their services and events, however this will likely create connectivity issues if that public wifi is handled through the same router or access point that Child Check-In is using. This can happen during check-in/out where higher than usual numbers of people congregate in one area to drop off or collect their children, placing additional load on routers or access points in close proximity. Most routers and access points are only capable of handling 30-50 simultaneous connections, with priority given to the newest connections, and the oldest connections disconnected first as the router load balances the connections. This means that while your leaders have success connecting to the internet when they set up the Check-In system first thing in the morning when there are hardly any connections, lost connectivity could be experienced as people begin to arrive and connect to your public network.

To minimise connectivity issues in environments where you provide guest wifi access, we strongly encourage you to protect your mission-critical IT processes by keeping them on dedicated hardware i.e. a dedicated router/access point located in close proximity to your Check-In system, with a private WiFi network and no public/guest connections through that hardware.

Suggestion: Portable MiFi solutions (or tethering to a phone's data service) are inexpensive and may be helpful in your context where 3G/4G signal is good. 3G/4G may not be suitable in low signal rural settings, or where your building walls block or limit mobile data signal strength.

Configuring your Brother label printer - Mac

While ChurchSuite's admin-facing system can print labels on a wide variety of label stationery, the Child Check-In system requires a specific printer that prints on continuous label stationery - the Brother QL-700. The Brother QL-800, QL-810W and QL-820NWB are also compatible.

Step 1 of 2 - Installing the Brother printer on your Mac

First, insert the CD that came with the Brother QL-700 printer into your Mac. If you are on a Macbook without a CD/DVD drive, you will need to download the printer installation files from Brother's website.

In Finder, navigate to the manufacturer CD/DVD and open it (or the downloaded file), and open the Mac OS X folder.

Double-click to open the folder Brother QL-700 Driver (or the QL-800/810/820 folder).

Then open the folder that corresponds to your version of Mac OSX. To find out which version of OSX you are running, click the Apple menu in the top left-hand corner of your screen and select About This Mac.

Double-click to open Brother QL-700 Driver.pkg.

Complete the installation process by following the steps in the installation app.

Step 2 of 2 - Configuring the Brother printer for ChurchSuite on your Mac

Having installed the device drivers in Step 1, you must now configure the printer - to set the default printer and change the default paper size on the device you are running Child Check-In. You can only configure the printer for ChurchSuite if it is correctly installed (see above). The following instructions assume you are using Google Chrome.

Open Google Chrome and press Cmd+P to bring up the "print" dialog. At the bottom, in the left-hand column, select Print using system dialog...

From the drop-down Paper Size menu, select Manage Custom Sizes....

On the next screen, locate the "+" symbol and click to Add a custom paper size.

Your new "custom paper size" will now appear in the list above, called "Unknown". To rename it, double click it and enter "ChurchSuite Labels 205 Small". Press "Enter" to confirm the change on the list.

Next, click the Width field (next to Paper Size at the top of the Custom Paper Sizes dialog) and enter 62, and enter 29 into the "Height" box (millimeters).

Click OK to save the changes, or alternatively, click "+" to add a further new custom paper size; perhaps for Large labels - see below. Close the "Custom Paper Sizes" box when you are finished.

Having set up the custom paper size (label), you will now configure the default printer and assign the default paper size to that printer. Begin by clicking on the "Apple" menu in the top left-hand corner of your computer screen and select System Preferences.

In the System Preferences dialog, select Print & Scan.

Find and click the Brother QL-700 printer in the list of printers (or the 800/810W/820NW).

In the bottom left-hand corner of the box, click on the padlock icon that says Click the lock to make changes to unlock it - you may be required to enter your computer's administrator password.

Next, locate the Default paper size option. From the drop-down list select your newly-created "ChurchSuite Labels 205 Small" (or, if you want the the larger labels, select "ChurchSuite Labels 205 Large"). Confirm also that the default printer is set to your Brother label printer. Finally, click the lock in the bottom left-hand corner again to "lock" the changes you have made. You can now close the System Preferences dialog box.

The Brother printer is now ready to be used with the Child Check-In system. Before proceeding, check that you have configured the Child Check-In settings in the Children module options - see later in this article.

Configuring your Brother label printer - Windows

While ChurchSuite's admin-facing system can print labels on a wide variety of label stationery, the Child Check-In system requires a specific printer that prints on continuous label stationery - the Brother QL-700. The Brother QL-800, QL-810W and QL-820NWB are also compatible.

Step 1 of 2 - Installing the Brother printer on your Windows computer

First, you will first need to download to printer installation files from Brother's website.

Begin by selecting the model of label printer that your wish to install the drivers for. Click Agree to the EULA and Download to download the drivers for your select model of label printer.

Click on the downloaded file to open it and begin the installation process.

When asked, accept the licence agreement and follow the on-screen instructions. When prompted, select the printer model you wish to install - either QL-700, QL-800, QL-810W or QL820NWB and click OK.

When the installation is complete, click Finish.

Step 2 of 2 - Configuring the Brother for ChurchSuite on your Windows computer

Having installed the printer software, you must now configure the printer and set the default printer and change the default paper size on the device you are running Child Check-In. You can only configure the printer for ChurchSuite if it is correctly installed (see above). The following instructions assume you are using Google Chrome.

Working on the computer you intend to run Child Check-In, click on the Windows Start menu and select Settings icon.

Click into the Devices section.

Click into the Printers & scanners section in the Devices menu.

Click on the entry for your Brother printer, followed by the Manage button.

Click the Set as default option.

Next, click on Printing Preferences and in the pop-up window that opens, use the Paper Size drop-down menu to select the default paper. Select either 62mm x 29mm or 100mm x 62mm options, depending on whether you are planning to print out the check-in badges for your children's groups in either our ChurchSuite Labels 205 Small (62mm x 29mm) or ChurchSuite Labels 205 Large (100mm x 62mm) formats, then click OK.

Having selected Small Address Label, check that the Width now shows 62mm x 29mm.

Click Apply and OK to save your changes.

The Brother printer is now ready to be used with the Child Check-In system. Having installed the printer software and configured the printer driver defaults, you can now proceed with configuring the Child Check-In settings in ChurchSuite (see next section).

Configuring the Child Check-In settings in ChurchSuite

Having configured the Brother printer and set the default printer and printing preferences (see previous sections), there are a number of helpful Child Check-In settings within ChurchSuite that will enable you to customise the system to suit your needs and the experience of leader/parents/visitors when they use check children in or out.

In ChurchSuite, and beginning in the Children module, click the module settings - the cog-wheels in the top right-hand corner of the page - you'll need Manage module or Administrator permissions to access this.

Select the Connect Options tab - this has all the settings related to Child Check-In.

Choose the default Gathering that Check-in will use - probably your Sunday services Gathering - although you can override this to select a different Gathering when you open a Check-In session.

Specify the Check-in Ticket Size for the printed badges - this will be either the small or large labels size that you previously configured as the default in the printer settings. It's important that the label size selected here in ChurchSuite match those set for your printer. Again, you will be able to override this and select a different label size when you start the Check-In session, if you need to (however, you must change the printer defaults if you do this).

Next, set whether the Check-In Code is to be Auto-generated by ChurchSuite, or whether a check-in code will be Manually entered by your leaders when a child is checked in. For example, if you are using pre-numbered wrist bands, you can manually enter the number of the band that you give to the parent. Remember, the check-in code is what you will likely use in order to match against the child when returning a child back to the correct responsible adult during check-out at the end of the Session.

Selecting Auto-generated by ChurchSuite will create a unique 'pick-up' code that will be shown on both the parent pick-up badge and all child badges printed for that family. A unique code is generated for each family's children and it is unique to the date and Gathering children are being checked in to - it's therefore not possible to use an old or discarded pick-up badge in future Sessions! Both "auto-generated" and "manually entered" pick-up codes are recorded with the attendance data that gets automatically added back in the Children module >Attendance, so you'll always have a record of check-in codes and date/time stamps.

You can also set the default Check-In Process setting, selecting between one-stage Register & Check-In (a one-stage check-in process), or two-stage Register first, Check-In later. For further explanation about one-stage and two-stage check-in see the Check-In Operation support article.

Continuing through the settings. Next, add an optional custom Welcome Message to be displayed on the Child Check-In screen to greet parents - this might, for example, include simple instructions for parents/visitors.

Next, set your preferred child Search Field restrictions. By default, parents can search for a child by first name, last name, the full or last 4 digits from a telephone or mobile/cell number, or by scanning the family's barcode.

For churches with unstaffed Child Check-In kiosks, you may choose to further safeguard children's identities by restricting the check-in search fields, perhaps disabling name search. By disabling name search, parents are prevented from random name searches like "John", which would otherwise display a list of all matching children with "John" in the child or linked parent name field. On the other hand, particularly with a staffed Child Check-In kiosk, or for large numbers of children, having a broader range of Search Field options will make it easier and quicker for your leaders to locate and check in children.

Note about search field restrictions

During an active Check-In session, leaders can use an Unlock search option (on the drop-down arrow button shown below) to search against all fields (name, phone and barcode), should a parent not be able to locate their child using a more restricted search. The Child Check-In system PIN will be required if one has been set (to set this, see later in this article). The search method will automatically lock back down after performing an unlocked search.

The next section of Connect Options relate to customising the child and room Badges. A visual example of each badge is shown. As you check and uncheck the various options, the example badges are updated so that you can see what a printed badge will look like. It is not possible to customise the Parent 'pick-up' or Team badges.

The Visitors settings determine which fields of information are requested from visitors when they check in a visiting child. You can also set which fields to Make required. For further information see also the related support article on Managing the details of your child check-in visitors.

Visitors are not automatically added to the Children module. Instead, a separate log of their attendance is maintained in the Visitors report in the Children module's Reports section. Visitors are deleted automatically if they have not checked in for a certain period of time. Using the Delete visitors after setting (see image above) you can determine how long visitor details are retained on the system before being deleted if they have not checked in for this period of time.

Next, set whether any of your Custom Fields are to be visible in the Check-In Admin Area that your leaders will access. This might be useful if you have particular 'check-in related' custom fields that you would like your leaders to be able to reference when they are in the Admin Area.

Add an optional Success Message that is displayed on the screen after a parent successfully checks in their child while the badges are being printed. For example, you could display instructions on how parents/visitors should collect their children at the end of the session.

The final Connect Options relate to the Check-in Admin Area. This is typically accessed by leaders or the person responsible for the check-in session. The Admin Area is where leaders can overview an active Check-In session, to see which children are registered and/or checked in. It's also the place they can also view parent contact details, important medical notes, special needs, custom fields and photo/video consents for children, and much more - all without needing access to the Children module. The Admin Area is also the place your leaders will go to check out children at the end of the Session. See the related support article for further information about the Admin Area.

By setting an Admin PIN you can restrict access to the Admin Area to just those who know the PIN, making it known to just those leaders who need to know. Once set, the PIN will be required to access the Admin Area and also to unlock child search restrictions (see earlier).

Having reviewed the Connect Options click to Save the changes before navigating away from the page.

Configuring 'kiosk mode' in your web browser

"Kiosk mode" enables the Child Check-In system to operate in a more secure, full screen mode (to prevent unauthorised access to other areas of the computer) with "silent printing" (skipping the usual print prompts or user-confirmation questions) to simply print badges without interruption or intervention required by a parent or leader. This is most easily achieved using Google Chrome on a Windows device, which readily support silent printing and kiosk mode. See the related support article for 'Kiosk mode' alternatives in other browsers.

Using Windows Explorer, locate the Chrome application on your device.

Right-click on Google Chrome and select Copy.

Clicking onto your desktop, right-click and select Paste shortcut. This will become the shortcut Chrome link that you will use for launching Child Check-In in the future. Right-click on the newly-created Chrome shortcut and select Properties.

Select the Shortcut tab.

In the Target field, position your cursor at the end of the field's content and replace the part that says \chrome.exe" with the following: \chrome.exe" --kiosk --kiosk-printing https://account.churchsuite.co.uk/connect"

...where account refers to the first part of the URL of your ChurchSuite account. For example, if you access ChurchSuite using the URL kingshope.churchsuite.co.uk, your account would be kingshope .

Note all the spaces in the above Target link - they're important! Click OK to save the properties for your shortcut. Next, ensure Google Chrome is not already running on your computer (use Task Manager to close all running instances of Chrome.exe, especially in Windows 10 where Chrome services continue to run even after closing the application!). You can now open a new instance of Google Chrome in Kiosk mode using the new shortcut link on your desktop.

Note: To exit Kiosk mode, press ALT+F4. Please remember this, as this is the only way to close Google Chrome when you are in Kiosk mode!

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