Thursday, September 06, 2007

Nursery Nightmares

I love babies. I think they are great. I love my friends who have babies. I love new parents. And I love having babies and their parents at our church, I do. Yet the great struggles in my ministries are related to our nursery. Nightmare is too strong a word (it did make a good title) but it has been an on going frustration. When I came on staff last year this was an area that was addressed as "needing improvement". I struggle to find the best practical solutions, yet I think I have created more issues. I feel over my head most days.

Last weekend I stayed with one of my dearest friends and another couple. Both families had babies. We talked about different concerns they had when visiting a new church and childcare in general. I enjoyed learning their thoughts and perspectives on the subject. They raised issues I hadn’t even considered, making me realise I still have a lot to learn.

Anyway, the point is I want like to hear others thoughts on nursery topics. Not sure if this will be a series, a semi-regular event, or done after this post. If it continues it will be a different area concerning nursery. Today’s subject…the check-in and out. What is your experience? What has worked? What hasn’t worked? Should churches use tags, stickers, or sign in forms? What have you read, heard, or thought on the subject? Anyone can comment but please say where your experience comes from (like parent, volunteer, children’s pastor/direction, innocent bystander…) Thanks!


matthew said...

we just do a sign in sheet. everyone basically knows everyone. but we live out in the country.

we do require our nursery staff to have been in the church at least 6 months. And we require that they've taken our training seminar.

Steph said...

As I told you Liz, (but putting here for anyone else who might be considering this issue), I wouldn't leave my daughter in a nursery unless I personally knew the people who worked there. That means not until I had been part of the church for a few months, knew how the nursery was run and knew Hana was comfortable in there. I would probably spend the first week or two in there with her, (once I decided to use the nursery), and when I visit a church I plan on having her stay with me in the service.

As for sign ins and such - I think a number system works great just for the fact that it's easy to get ahold of the parents via powerpoint etc. if there is a problem. I also think it's vital that everyone working in a nursery (even the high school helpers) has a police check done.

Personally I want to have the option of keeping my baby with me in a service until I feel she's ready for something else. But keep in mind I'm not one to use babysitters - I think Ben and I have gone out wihtout Hana 3 times in the last 10 months (and one of those was not a good expeirnce for anyone!!). I think young babies should be able to stay with their parents (mother mostly) in whatever form is comfortable for them - in the service, in a mother's room etc., but that for older babies/toddlers having a staffed nursery is important.

Just some random thoughts.