Friday, October 4, 2013

Nursery Know-How: 5 Tips for an Easy Church Nursery Experience

I recently started working in the nursery on Sunday mornings.  It had been a while since I was a nursery worker.  About 15 years, in fact.  I wasn't a mom when I first started working in the children's ministry.  In fact, I was 13.  But I loved it and I continued for the next 10 years until I was the person in charge of Sunday night child care at my church.  I learned a lot during those years.  But I've also learned a lot in the last few months as a mom who has a child in the nursery, and who also works in the nursery.

If you're new to dropping your baby off at the church nursery, you might find these five tips helpful:

1. Make sure your child's name is on the diaper bag and sippy cup/bottle.  Obvious to some, however, after working as a child-care worker for years, I know for a fact there are many nameless bags.  By the way, Sharpie marker easily washes off of bottles, however, stickers don't.  Preempt the sticker and use a Sharpie to write your child's name on the liquid delivering device yourself.

2. If your child has allergies to anything, make sure it is written on their name tag and verbally tell the nursery worker every time you drop off your child.

3.  My baby always falls asleep on the way home from church, and if the diaper wasn't changed, he wets through, so it is always helpful to me to ask when/if his diaper was changed.  No judgement if it wasn't changed, I just need to know so I can change it!

4. If you have any special instructions for the workers that you need followed through on, write them on the name tag; e.g. "put on ointment at diaper change" "change into pjs" "bottle at 9"

5. Finally, kids cry when you leave them in the nursery.  This is a part of growing up.  Trust your nursery care workers and don't hover around, peeking through the door to see how your kid is.  To ease your mind, you can let the workers know that if your child is still distraught (read: hasn't calmed down at all) after 15 minutes, you want to be notified.  Usually, kids calm down within the first five minutes.  Sometimes, the child will calm down just a little bit, but still be very clingy to the first person who held him.  And often the child will have moments where he remembers that his parent left him and cry for a few minutes.  Let me assure you, your child won't grow up feeling as if you abandoned him.  However, if you don't want to leave your child in the nursery, please find a church that is accepting of kids in the sanctuary.  Churches have reasons for how they operate.  A church that has a "no kids in service" policy usually has a great children's ministry.  The reason they don't want kids in the sanctuary is so the moms can actually listen to the sermon.  Moms have kid-radar-ears.  We hear a baby coo and our attention is immediately drawn away from the pastor and to the child.

Hopefully you and your baby will have a wonderful time during church.

Do you have additional tips?  Please leave a comment and let me know!