Tips for Nursery Volunteers

If you go to our church, there is a good chance that you’ll spend at least a little bit of time working in the church nursery, especially if you have children of your own. In fact, it takes approximately 35 people per week just to provide care for children ages three and below. I’m thankful for each and every one.

Since so many of our church members serve in this area, I thought it would be helpful to post a few tips for those who volunteer in the nursery (Feel free to add your own to the list by posting a comment):

  • Listen to mom. Take a Christ-like, servant’s-heart approach to mom’s instructions for her child. She knows that baby better than anyone. If she asks you to feed him a 6-oz bottle with 2 parts apple juice, 1 part water, heated to 64 degrees, between 10:34 and 10:38 am…try your best to do it. Serve mom with a joyful heart.
  • Smile. My daughter went through a short phase when she would cry if we put her in the nursery. So we asked her to be a “big girl” and go to nursery with a smile on her face. You can be a “big girl” (or “big boy”) too, right? Serving the in the nursery is a joy and a privilege. Never, never complain to parents that the nursery is “such a chore” or that “the kids were exhausting!”
  • Pray for the babies. There is more potential packed into the church nursery than any other room in the building. Take some time to pray for each child as you are changing diapers or cleaning up toys.
  • Limit the perfume. Every once in a while, my son comes home from church smelling like “Petunia Musk” (That’s a perfume name that I made up; any affinity with the name of your brand is purely coincidental). It’s kind of weird… I’m just saying.
  • Sing songs. Even very young babies enjoy listening to you sing. And it’s a great time to start filling their minds with scriptural truth in song.
  • Read books. You’ll probably have a few kids in the nursery who will want to do nothing but run (crawl?) around and play. But others will enjoy listening to you read a book. Try it!
  • Play. What I’m getting at is…don’t just sit there! Play with the kids if you’re able.
  • Communicate. Humbly communicate to parents if there has been a problem with their child, and be gracious. Speak the truth. But speak the truth in love. Also, make sure you keep the Nursery Director or apprised of issues that have come up during your time in the nursery.
  • Encourage your fellow-workers. Your life is preaching something to the person serving with you in the nursery. Start the service thinking about how you can be uplifting to that person. And don’t gossip.
  • Wash your hands. Or use hand sanitizer.
  • Thank mom and dad. They trusted you with their most precious possession–thank them for the privilege!

Did I miss anything? What kind of tips would you offer to those who serve in the nursery?

5 Responses

  1. Jake–thanks for this article. I have so many thoughts swirling around in my mind (no smart comments from bergey or roberts please!! :))

    Often times, the “good” baby gets little attention because the baby that needs a little more attention takes precedence. One idea is to sit near the baby that is quiet and doesn’t make a fuss, and talk with that baby while you’re working with the other one.

    It’s hard not to have our favorites, but strive to treat each child the same. God’s love for us is unconditional, and we have an opportunity to show that same love to the children in our care.

    As children go through their various stages, some will go through separation anxiety. Talk with the mom and know what her preferences are. If she’s okay with the child “crying it out”, strive to keep the mom in the service and do your best to work with the child. If you aren’t successful, ask your co-worker to take a try. Work together.

    I personally am so thankful for the team of workers that are currently serving in the Nursery department. Their faithfulness is such an encouragement to me, especially the workers that don’t have children in the Nursery, but see the need and want to be used.

    I am also thankful for two ladies that help on a regular basis by “running” Nursery on Sunday PM–Audra Tompkins and Wednesday–Cheryl Griffith. It has been a blessing to get to know these ladies, and to see how the Lord has brought us together to serve in this ministry.

    A few weeks ago, I had an opportunity to help in Toddlerland on a Sunday morning (this would be the 2-year old class.) What a joy it was to see the children that were once in Nursery, in this class, singing their songs and eagerly learning what Miss Mandy was teaching them from God’s Word.

    Serving in a ministry…whatever ministry the Lord lays on your heart…can be such a blessing if you’re sensitive to the need…and respond.

  2. Since Jake included children 3 and under as nursery, let me comment on behalf of Toddlerland. Make the most of your time in with the children. While it is considered a nursery type ministry, these children soak up all that you do with them. We are so thankful for the extra time workers take to prepare and come up with their own ideas to make their night special for the kids. We have 3 services a week to provide things for the kids to do. The extras that the workers prepare is a special blessing for our 2 and 3 year-olds instead of just the same stuff every week! Thank you to the many workers who minister on a consitent basis and have taken what some consider a “difficult” age to minister too, and have loved and faithfuly ministered to our young children in special ways.

  3. The nurse in me can’t help but add – If you are sick FIND A REPLACEMENT! The parents will not appreciate you sharing your germs with their whole family.

  4. Sooo thankful for all the nursery workers who have taken care of my little ones over the years here at Bethel.

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