by Cindy Grantham/ November 25, 2015
Due to the very nature of its purpose, a nursery can be a raucous place! The crash of toys, little babbling voices, and, yes, perhaps even crying, can be heard at various times—or all at the same time. How can you and your nursery staff instill confidence in your church families and visitors so they feel leaving their precious little ones in your care is a good idea? Giving the required attention to the following areas will leave nothing but the most positive impression.
Five Essentials for a Confidence-Inspiring Church Nursery
1. Make it attractive. Decor that is visually engaging and geared specifically for babies and toddlers lends professionalism to a nursery space. Make sure that the room doesn’t have any safety issues such as open electrical outlets or cords hanging from blinds. Use bright but tasteful colors on walls, floors, and equipment necessary for caring for children. Add fun toys and your nursery will make children feel welcome and will engage parents in your ministry.
2. Keep it clean. Pay specific detail to safe sanitation procedures for both the room’s surfaces and the toys. Ensure that the space is clean and smells fresh. No one desires to leave their little one in a room that reeks with foul odors or harsh chemical smells
3. Staff it well. Ensure that you have scheduled adequate staff. Every children’s minister should be aware of the state guidelines that determine your adult-to-child ratios in a childcare setting. Additionally the staff should be properly trained on check-in procedures, parent contact guidelines, and basic first aid. Don’t forget to coach your staff how to greet parents and children. Consider that the nursery workers could be the first church members a visitor will meet. Remind them to be friendly, confident, and to ask questions. Parents will feel more at ease when they know that nursery volunteers took the time to be thorough and learn about their child’s needs.
4. Create a safe check-in system. A check-in system that garners confidence is a MUST. Many larger churches have elaborate electronic arrangements, but few smaller churches can afford a high-tech system. If that is the case in your church, it is still a necessity that you have a process in place that makes parents and nursery volunteers feel comfortable and protected. Name tags for the child and their possessions and information cards with parent’s contact details, list of allergies and other vital data are essential. Ensure that your volunteers have a way to contact parents during the service if needed. Lastly, don’t forget to have a safe system in place to match parents and children for pick up.
5. Pray over it. Lastly, the most important thing children’s pastors can do for their weekly ministries is to pray. So many times we get bogged down in the busyness of preparing and doing that we neglect our divine appointment. The impact of surrounding our volunteers, church families, and possible visitors in prayer will be felt in both the concrete and spiritual worlds.
These are a few of the essential points for creating a nursery setting that puts parents at ease and offers a safe and fun environment for children. The week-to-week implementation is not difficult once nursery staff is comfortable with the weekly procedures. Any amount of time spent creating a plan and training the workers will reap multiple benefits in the long run when parents and visitors sense the care, love and prayer you’ve put in to your nursery plan.