This is the second blog post in a series about the ministry of the Church Nursery as one of the first touch points and spaces in your church that serves your youngest members and guests. Did you miss our first one? Check it out here! Our next blog post in this series will be published on August 20.
When we work with, love, teach, and tend to young children, especially in a church setting, we are following Jesus’ words from Mark 10:14: “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.”
When you care for young children in the church nursery, you are ministering to God’s precious ones! If parents feel that their child is safe and well cared for, they will be able to participate in worship, fellowship time, and education without worry. The church nursery makes it possible for these families to connect – or re-connect – with their faith and with God. That’s an important responsibility!
Let’s make sure we are doing the very best for God’s children, and for their caregivers, by developing a system to check for needed items and to explain the procedures in a church nursery. Use this checklist as a quick view of what is needed for a well-appointed church nursery. It’s designed for nursery coordinators, children’s ministry leaders, and others involved with staffing and equipping church nurseries.
- Design a welcome sign or bulletin board that is visually engaging and lets parents know that it is not just a babysitting site – it’s one of the ministries of your church. Showing hospitality is biblical!
- Post signage so parents know where to sign in to register their child and make a nametag. Make it as easy as possible, including for parents who are signing in with one arm while holding their child in the other!
- Designate a place for labeling and storing diaper bags, car seats, and other baby gear.
- Select a method for staff and volunteers to receive background checks.
- Schedule a training session for paid staff to learn Infant and Child First Aid, CPR training, and review safety and security policies.
- Schedule a training session or provide training materials for nursery volunteers. Convey your expectations for their role in your nursery ministry.
Diaper Changing Station
- Post a diaper changing policy that includes who is allowed to change diapers, the steps for handwashing, disposing of the diaper, and sanitizing the changing table.
- Post a sign near the table with prayers, songs, or poems to share with the child during changing time. You can pray for that precious child while you change a diaper!
- Make sure basic changing supplies are always available, and plan a way for people to report when new items are needed (for example: sanitizing solution, paper towels, wet wipes, diapers, lidded trash can with liner).
Reading and Play Areas
- Create a reading corner where kids and volunteers can explore books together.
- Set up a spot on the floor with soft, washable toys where infants can safely play and explore.
- Place toys and playthings within toddler reach on accessible, childsafe shelves.
- Create an area where kids can engage their imaginations in make-believe with a stocked kitchen area, dolls, and dress-up clothes.
- Set up a table where kids can play and create. Include puzzles, manipulative toy sets, simple games, and art materials.
- All cleaning supplies must be kept in locked closets or above the reach of children.
- Doors need to be shut or latched to prevent kids from wandering but must be easily opened by adults in an emergency.
- Check annually to ensure you have an updated first-aid kit.
- Make sure cribs and other equipment meet all current safety standards.
- Post emergency information and information about food allergies where all can view it.
- Develop and post a regular schedule for cleaning toys. (Many washable toys can be placed in a dishwasher on the sanitize cycle.)
- Reinforce proper handwashing procedures.
- Let parents know your plan to keep the nursery clean. This is another reassurance that their child is being kept safe.
The church nursery can be a wonderful place for children to learn and grow in God’s love. It’s a place where children feel safe, secure, and loved by a well-trained, committed team of ministers who take their ministry to heart, loving and serving God by their commitment to God’s children!
This blog is excerpted from “A Checklist for Your Nursery,” just one of the articles in the Frolic Nursery Practices library available on Sparkhouse Digital – sign up for your FREE 30-day trial now to view! This content is also available in our Frolic Nursery Coordinator Guide.