The nursery is among the most important ministries in any church. Nursery workers give children their first taste of what church is like. If the church nursery is run well, the nursery workers also give parents a much needed opportunity to enjoy their time of worship knowing that their children are being well-supervised and are in good hands.
Make sure the nursery area is safe for babies and toddlers. Baby proof the nursery area by covering all outlets and gating off any areas where babies shouldn't go. Take stock of the room. If there's anything small enough to fit into a baby's mouth, get it out of the room. Make sure all cribs, playpens and toys are up to current safety standards. Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission's website to make that sure none of the baby toys or furniture were recalled for safety hazards. Look for, and remove, anything else that could potentially harm a baby. Finally, make sure the nursery is clean. Disinfect all surfaces and toys. Also ensure that all trash -- especially diaper bins -- are emptied and removed.
Nursery volunteers are among the most valuable assets that any church has. Make sure to schedule more workers than you actually need to run the nursery in case someone is sick or doesn't show up. Train your volunteers and make sure they know what's expected in the nursery. Put policies in writing, especially policies regarding bathroom use, diaper changing and whatever clean-up is expected of the nursery crew. Run background checks on all volunteers through your local police department. Such checks are generally free and most workers who have the children's best interests at heart won't object to them. Keep the church nursery schedule on a rotating basis to avoid burning out your helpers.
Decorate the church nursery in child-friendly colors, which can be bright and bold or pastel, depending on whether you want the church nursery to be a place for little ones to relax or to romp and play. If you can't repaint the nursery, use kid friendly wall decorations to achieve the same effect. Have child-friendly Christian music playing in the nursery well before parents arrive to drop their little ones off. Most importantly, make sure your nursery workers put on a smile. No one wants to leave their baby with someone who isn't happy about taking care of the child.
Make sure the nursery is fully stocked. At a bare minimum, you should have cribs, a diaper pail and a changing table. Ideally, you should also have baby swings, bouncers, walkers, baby toys and a small refrigerator for snacks, juice and bottles. Make sure the nursery is stocked with diaper wipes and diapers in all sizes. Most parents will drop off a diaper bag with their babies, but you'll want these kinds of supplies just in case a parent forgets or doesn't pack enough.
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