I’ve seen a decline of newborns to 6 month olds in our nursery ministry in the past few years. The trend I’ve observed is millennial parents are delaying putting their precious ones in the nursery. I witness posts like this, “Susie’s survived her first day in the nursery,” and Susie is almost 5 months old. Or, on Instagram, a pic is posted of Adam’s first day in the nursery and Adam is full on standing. #timeshavechanged We have a nursery area and a toddler area in our building and as I walk through on Sunday mornings, our nursery area is always empty. Which led me to pause, realize and identify this trend. I see our volunteers playing with the babies rather than holding them because the infants are no where to be found. Why do I care? Why does it matter? Well, my heart goes out to the parents of these precious ones. When I hear of a 5 month old’s first day in the nursery, I wonder,
- How were the parent’s being fed for the past 5 months?
In all honesty, as I “keep it real,” it’s easier to worship and take in a message without holding a baby and worrying about it’s needs. Being a new parent is a time one can truly benefit from worship and hearing the Word of God. It’s a time to be refreshed and ministered to.
- How can our Nursery be a safe place for families to feel comfortable leaving their children?
I had to reevaluate our nursery. I added a “Nursery Coordinator” to add and show value to this age group. I had to be honest with myself that I needed help. I just wasn’t giving the nursery the attention it deserved. Miss Anna has been a welcome addition as she keeps me up on the latest and greatest in the nursery scene. She’s a proud “MiMi” to two toddler granddaughters. Most importantly, she ensures week after week that we have ample help and enlists & trains volunteers that love our babies as if they’re their own. As I revisited our nursery system I realized we were missing a major safety net. Fingerprinting! We will live scan all our nursery workers beginning in 2014. We already fingerprint those who serve in the 2’s to 6th grade age groups. (If our volunteers get live scanned while their child is in the nursery…it makes it easier, one less step, for them to become Sunday school teachers. Haha!)
- How can our Nursery communicate, “Come on in! We’ve been waiting for you?”
I updated the nursery with soft play furniture and replaced the 20 yr old rockers with safe, comfy, upholstered gliders. Our seasoned volunteers were especially pleased. We also bought mini gliders for our toddlers so they can watch Veggie Tales in style. In order to help keep our carpet clean, we provide booties for volunteers to put on their feet or over shoes. We use Netflix now and we longer have to search for lost DVD’s. Did you know that parents these days don’t use the microwave anymore to warm up bottles? We provide a bottle warmer we bought at Target. We put a mailing label sticker on diapers letting parents know who changed it and at what time.
There’s much more I could discuss and I will as I enjoy my blogging journey in the future. For now, I’m curious about your nursery ministry. Is it just me? Or are parents at your church waiting to put their babies in your nursery and if so, how are you adapting?