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Old 01-25-2010, 12:16 PM   #11
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Re: What do you HATE/LOVE about your church nursery?

Our church just remodeled, and they did not put in a nursery (nor have they ever had one). Our priest has said many times that everyone is welcome at the service, even crying babies and troublesome toddlers. I my church.

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Old 01-25-2010, 12:18 PM   #12
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Re: What do you HATE/LOVE about your church nursery?

OK. Now for my actual advice since my last post was just a description of what our particular church has.

Definitely get a set of good sturdy hooks or a nice shelf (or both) to put near the door for coats and diaper bags.

I would totally go for a dresser type changing table (or even some built in cabinets with a countertop) because it is SOOOOO much more stable and will last longer than the standard changing table. A wall mounted folding one is good if you are short on space, too.

Purge the toys. Go through them and get rid of the junked up seriously dirty ones and keep the nicer ones that the kids actually play with. Figure out a good way to organize and store them.

What doesn't work for our church is the signing in and out business. It's just overkill when we know each other. Trying to enforce a snack time doesn't work for us either as every parent wants their child to have something different and then they don't all bring something and the kids are usually too busy playing to stop and eat anyway.

I would do away with the beeper system. Unless it is well maintained it does no one any good anyway. I can't imagine our church using them and can really only see them as necessary in a mega church type setting.
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:56 PM   #13
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Re: What do you HATE/LOVE about your church nursery?

I've been to a few different churches over the past few years.

Church#1 Oddly shaped, small room. Needed more quality toys and was for ages 6 weeks until they turned 2 for a small sized church. Had a good check-in system. No pagers, but each child had a regular number that would display at the front of the church digitally if they needed you. Worked well. Probably cheaper than pagers. Thing I didn't like is they often had a girl who had down syndrome in there working, which is nice, but they'd let her hold small babies and she did not do well with them. Would hold them like they were older and would walk around with them. Saw her almost drop one once. The nursery coordinator had strict guidelines with her when she was in there, but often she was in there with just her mom who let her do whatever she wanted with them. Sweet girl, but she should have been helping out with the older kids. Got to the point where I wouldn't leave my baby in there anymore if she was there.

Church#2 Never used the baby room, but it looked nice. Babies moved up to the first toddler room once they were walking until age 2. Then a room just for 2 year olds. Very large, nice church. Everything was kept very clean. They rotated quality toys and kept them in storage closets. Everyone had a card you used to scan your kids in and out and sheets would print out. Also had pagers. Very thorough system.

Church#3 Smaller sized church. Nursery is for up to 18 months and then 18 month - 36 months in the room next store. There's just a ledge for diaper bags and no hooks. They have a brand new pager system that is extremely nice. Weirdest thing is we recently started going here and suddenly received a notice in the mail of which days were our days to work in the nursery. I understand if you use it, you should work in it, but I never was told of this. Kinda bugs me. No one calls to make sure you know and no one ever checked to make sure we were there when we were supposed to be. Very odd. We only had two babies other than our own, but I don't like the way they schedule.
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:00 PM   #14
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Re: What do you HATE/LOVE about your church nursery?

I work in ours. It is for 18mo-3 years (when they are 3 in Jan they go on to the kid classes). The very little ones stay with parents, and the parents can come in while their kids acclimate to nursery. When things break, they are donated. Every once in a while a request goes out to the church members for toy donations, and more than replaces what goes out. We go get the parents if a child needs changed (and then the child comes back in the nursery after) or we can take them if they are old enough to go themselves, and we just wait outside the stall. There's gathering exercise (bubbles or puzzles or lacing or coloring or stickers), snacktime with reading aloud to them, free play, clean up, then lesson and song time at the end. My only issue is the junky food they are fed, but dd is allergic to red dye and doesn't get anything with that in it.
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Old 01-25-2010, 05:47 PM   #15
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Re: What do you HATE/LOVE about your church nursery?

LOVE: They respect the parents wishes. They will immediately page me if dd starts to cry. The workers are loving and consistent, not punitive at all. The parenting class at our church now is wonderful, no spanking, very very grace based and pro-AP. Babies aren't left in swings/bouncer chairs/cribs for long periods of time, and when I volunteer I always stick a kid in my sling and everyone loves it.

HATE: SMALL rooms. This can't be helped yet, but it's very hard if one baby gets upset to move away from the others to keep them from all crying. The toys could use a little updating, and definitely in the toddler room there needs to be LESS stuff and more age appropriate toys. The toys are donated, so we use what we get, but still. Some of the things in the toddler room are obviously not for toddlers.
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Old 01-25-2010, 08:31 PM   #16
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Re: What do you HATE/LOVE about your church nursery?

I went from a very small church (about 30 members or so) that welcomed the children in church but did not have a nursery to a church now that has several hundred members and the kids are welcomed but there is the option for the nursery. I love the nursery because Sundays while I love my kids to be with me worshipping the Lord, I also like to fill up my cup as well. So I do utilize the nursery and childrens' church groups.

For me to go to a nursery/childrens' church setting was really difficult especially where I did not know anyone. I am well aware of the fact that sadly in many many churches throughout the US there are child offenders working in the nurseries without people knowing it. That freaks me out..so I wanted to know that my children are safe at all times and that there would be a way to get a hold of me if something big or small were to happen. I wanted to know that people that were working with my kids were fit and able to and were decent people. I also wanted to know that the people who were caring for and teaching my children on Sundays claimed relationships with God and were established members of the church and there was good fruit.

So when we were shopping for churches we were looking for a place that my children would have fellowship in a safe environment. (ours was a safe place, but we were the only family with children under the age of 14) So when I checked out the nursery, I wanted to see that the children were relatively calm well after the parents left. I wanted to see clean well kept toys, a potty close by, cheery and happy adults who loved kids. I wanted to be able to be contacted with big and small problems and I wanted to know what was going on with my kids while they were in there when I picked them up. But the biggest thing was I wanted to know that every single person who went into that nursery to work was background checked. I wanted to see clear and concise rules for us parents to follow and no wishy washiness, I wanted to know that just because we had relatives that attended, they could not pick up my kids from the nursery or other programs.

So I was told that everyone was background checked and that it was on file. In order to work in any area of ministry that deals with children of any age that has to happen first. Everyone that is recruited needs to be established members of the church. In order to be in teaching positions they need to have evidence of a relationship with Christ. The kids in the nursery have their name and a number assigned to them and their diaper bag, their diaper bags go into a cubbie with a number on it. I am given a tag with that same number on it. Only the person with the number can pick it up. (I have left instructions that unless that person is my husband or I, even with the number they are not to be released and that has been honored!) The rules for us parents are pretty clear, one family in to check in at a time, the age range is enforced and their wellness policy is enforced. They have people register if they feel like they are going to be coming back often, so I filled out a questionairre that asked general info like name, address, child's name, who can pick up who can't, allergies, any special instructions, phone number, etc. That goes on file and those files are kept in the nursery. No one is allowed in to the nursery unless they are dropping off or picking up a child or walking through the room to nurse in the nursing room. You must sign your child in and sign them out.
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Old 01-25-2010, 08:38 PM   #17
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Re: What do you HATE/LOVE about your church nursery?

The nursery staff at our church is so great. We are trying to get our one year old to be OK in the nursery during the service and they spent an hour walking her up and down the halls to keep her from crying. They come and get us if she gets going which I like but they try hard to help her cope. Sometime they bring her into the toddler room where our older child is so she can see her sibling and feel better. They are wonderful!
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Old 01-25-2010, 09:00 PM   #18
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Re: What do you HATE/LOVE about your church nursery?

Some other pp's suggestions were really great. I am only going to mention a few things in addition to those. Our coordinator has a half sheet with basic info and emergency contacts for each kid. These are posted where all the workers can see them. There is a cubby for each child's stuff and all the bottles and sippies are labeled with stickers and they come off with the first wash so that is not a big deal. They do go and get parents on occasion if a child is inconsolable or possibly acting wild with tantrums and I think that is best so the other children are not frightened by all that. There is a checklist of duties for the volunteers to do after the end of the service so the rooms are kept clean, trash taken out, etc. Only workers and children are allowed in the nursery (and nursing mothers) which is important because then you know exactly who is in there with your child. IF a parent wants to stay with their child but not in the main auditorium, there is an overflow room with a closed circuit TV. The coordinator also lists a very general lesson plan for the toddlers so the weekly volunteers can try and keep some schedule and consistency for the kids. The nursery is separated with 0-2 on one side and 2-4 on the other. I have only ever had one bigger issue with our nursery and it was a day where they had huge attendance yet there was not a backup plan for the flood of little ones packed into those two rooms. There were additional workers but it was still way too many kids for the smallish space. I came in to find my daughter just sobbing in the center of the room from all the activity. She NEVERS cries in nursery but there was no one to attend to her because there were so many younger babies there. I stayed in and helped for the morning even though I was not scheduled (I am a regular volunteer though). It was basically just a one time crisis that I have not seen after that, thank goodness. I think the most difficult thing for the coordinator would be to keep volunteers faithful and also deal with parents. Many of the parents do not ever send their kids to daycare or a babysitter and expect the rules to be broken for them and their kids. OR the kids cry the whole time because they are just not used to being away from mom. Eventually they do get used to it and have fun in there but it does take time.
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Old 01-25-2010, 09:01 PM   #19
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Re: What do you HATE/LOVE about your church nursery?

This thread has been interesting. I work in a church nursery and I LOVE it. I work in the infant room. The majority of *my babies* come every week so we know them and their temperaments. There have been a few little ones where I was so sad when they learned to crawl because then they move on to the next room...
We also get to know their parents to see if they're okay with our ten minute rule. If we can't calm them down in ten minutes we'll page you, but if you want your baby to have a 2 minute rule instead then we're fine with that.
We have these AWESOME recliners for nursing moms. I wish I had a grand to buy one!
I wish I could go to service sometimes but I think I get my fill in the nursery just as well.


Sometimes parents can be annoying though. Like the ones who think that we should have some sort of curriculum. Ummm these babies can't even crawl yet...get over it, lol. Or the ones who think they are above our security measures, yes we know you and we see you every week but we need your tag or we aren't giving you your baby!
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Old 01-25-2010, 09:10 PM   #20
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Re: What do you HATE/LOVE about your church nursery?

Don't like ours at all. It was literally a closet at one point. There are no windows. Its dark and the floor is cold because its this 60's industrial linoleum I think.
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