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#1 of 21 Old 11-22-2010, 07:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What are some things to look for in a church nursery? My son is 19mo (He'll be 20mo by the time we try out our next church) He's not verbal but knows a fair amount of signs. He can't have pasteurized dairy but can handle raw stuff (so we do it in a bottle since I had to wean earlier than I wanted) He's never been away from me and DH except to MIL...but he knows her, you know? Right now he doesn't handle being away from ME very well (like, if I get a 20min bath it's a really good night)

 

There is NO way we could take him into a service. He's too spirited...he screams when he's angry (which is a step up from the violence we were seeing) and has limitless energy. He won't sit and color or anything like that...

 

 

I have zero idea what makes a good nursery/kid area...


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#2 of 21 Old 11-22-2010, 05:27 PM
 
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When DS was that age, DH or I would go into the nursery with him to get him used to the area.  Here are the things I look for:

 

1.  Small classes of same age children.

2.  Plenty of teachers per child

3.  Clean area

4.  A way to contact me during the service (our church has pagers for parents)


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#3 of 21 Old 11-23-2010, 07:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I wrote a couple of emails and asked things like:

 1) Notification system (one gives you a number and will put it on the screen if they need you, one said nothing)

 2) How soon am I notified? I prefer ASAP.

 3) Activities for his age group? (I worked in a really small nursery that did nothing for children until they were almost 5...they were in the nursery with the babies. I'd like him to have some sort of activity...even if it's just a Jesus puzzle or something YKWIM?)


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#4 of 21 Old 11-23-2010, 09:13 AM
 
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I hope you find a good place for your child.  Sounds like he might be in the separation anxiety stage.  I am a stay home mom and I did a gradual leaving process with my dd. 

It would be important for me that all of the nursery workers let you stay in there as long as your ds needs you until he feels comfortable. 

 

My other concern was that they notify me if she begins to cry for me.  This was when she was about 15 months.  I didn't want her crying and begging for me and her feeling like I left her with strangers.   The good thing about my situation is that now  I know all of the workers very well and so does my dd. 

 

I volunteered to be in the nursery to help out and they put me on the schedule.  This was a great way to get to know the workers.  I sort of felt like since I had a kid who needed care, I should contribute in some way.

 

If at all possible, I would invite the workers either one by one or in pairs to come and have lunch or tea at your house.  This is a great way for your ds to get familiar with them.  This is how we got connected.  Many of the nursery workers have their own little ones, so we had play dates and went to the park together.  Now we really love each others kids.  It's a very sweet situation.

 


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#5 of 21 Old 11-24-2010, 07:06 AM
 
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my dh and my father would trade off with dd until she was used to the nursery.  this year i teach our first day school (sunday school)so, dd2 goes back and forth between us.  seh was 20 months when she started in the nursery, she is now 2 adn 3 months and she will go in there easily, but it took probably 6 months, but she has a lot of seperation anxiety

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#6 of 21 Old 11-24-2010, 08:29 AM
 
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Church nurseries are a hot bed of germs. The workers are generally not professionals that follow a strict code of hygiene but merely volunteers doing their best on Sunday mornings. Can you just skip church for awhile? It might be safer than having him come home with a different cold each week.

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#7 of 21 Old 11-24-2010, 08:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Church nurseries are a hot bed of germs. The workers are generally not professionals that follow a strict code of hygiene but merely volunteers doing their best on Sunday mornings. Can you just skip church for awhile? It might be safer than having him come home with a different cold each week.



We HAVE been skipping church...and it's becoming a problem. We both need to go. Not just for the "connect with Jesus" aspect, but for the "fellowship" aspect as well. We need to find young couples with kids...

 

I need friends that don't work with my husband (ie: People that don't have the same hours that I could possibly see during the day)


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#8 of 21 Old 11-24-2010, 08:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by philomom View Post

Church nurseries are a hot bed of germs. The workers are generally not professionals that follow a strict code of hygiene but merely volunteers doing their best on Sunday mornings. Can you just skip church for awhile? It might be safer than having him come home with a different cold each week.



We HAVE been skipping church...and it's becoming a problem. We both need to go. Not just for the "connect with Jesus" aspect, but for the "fellowship" aspect as well. We need to find young couples with kids...

 

I need friends that don't work with my husband (ie: People that don't have the same hours that I could possibly see during the day)

 

ETA: It can't be any worse than my son putting his mouth on the shopping cart...which he does


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#9 of 21 Old 11-24-2010, 09:00 AM
 
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I ask that I be notified if he can't be consoled.  I do not want him left crying.  It's hard enough getting him to stay there in the first place, letting him scream isn't going to make that any better.

 

I also look for a place that enforces a sick policy.  We stopped going for a while when our oldest 2 were very little because we got sick every week and it got old.

 

I very much look for places that screen the volunteers and have a policy where at least 2 people must be present with the kids.  At our last church we didn't even change diapers, we called the parents in.  To protect the workers and the kids.  That church also had one way glass so you would stand outside and watch w/o upsetting the kids.

 

I also like there to be a division of ages/abilities.  I know that's not always possible in smaller churches,   But it's nice when the babies aren't getting trampled by running toddlers and 5 year olds are in a class where they can learn something and it isn't just a play time.

 

Honestly though, I've been a volunteer in several of my church's nurseries (we've moved a lot) and getting a group of 19 month olds (or a similar age group) to sit and listen to a lesson or do a craft or something is HARD.  You may need to relax about that.  We had curriculum, but with only 2 or 3 volunteers and the short attention spans of the littles it almost never went well.  Someone was comforting an upset child, someone else is shadowing the kid who likes to hit.  Etc.  We almost never got past the story.  We would sit and play and do puzzles and stuff, but it wasn't consistent, considering the needs of all the kids.

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#10 of 21 Old 11-24-2010, 09:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Honestly though, I've been a volunteer in several of my church's nurseries (we've moved a lot) and getting a group of 19 month olds (or a similar age group) to sit and listen to a lesson or do a craft or something is HARD.  You may need to relax about that.  We had curriculum, but with only 2 or 3 volunteers and the short attention spans of the littles it almost never went well.  Someone was comforting an upset child, someone else is shadowing the kid who likes to hit.  Etc.  We almost never got past the story.  We would sit and play and do puzzles and stuff, but it wasn't consistent, considering the needs of all the kids.


I totally get this. And he isn't the "sit and be quiet" type...but I'd at least want a Bible story read or Christian music to be playing or something, you know? The nursery I worked in does NOTHING for children until they're "old enough" to attend children's church. That bothers me a little bit.


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#11 of 21 Old 11-25-2010, 04:43 PM
 
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We stopped doing nursery when my youngest was 2.  I decided it was really important for them to learn to be a part of worship and they would never learn that unless I taught them. It sucked.  but the payoff has been huge.  Especially since we ended up at a church with no such thing as a nursery.  I spent a lot of time just outside the sanctuary working with her.  I did get a lot of fellowship this way.  It wasn't a loss by any means. I could even tune into the sermon and participate in worship.  

 

But honestly, all I would ask for is the no one died while I was in church.  I did not expect much of the volunteers or the sunday school "program".  when I dropped them in nursery I wanted an hour of touch free me time.  So long as the kid survived I was happy.  I know everyone was coming at it with their own standards etc.  I expected no poopy in the diaper but honestly preferred to change my kids myself and know that sometimes poopy happens at the last minute and no one notices.  So, when my kids were in nursery I spent a lot of time in there with them.  or checking on them.  So that is something I would ask for.  Are parents allowed to pop in and check on their kids, tend to them, hang out or do they only allow their nursery staff past the drop off point (I can understand this but it would not work for me).  Otherwise I would expect the room to be reasonably clean and allergies to be taken seriously (we usually put an allergy tag on the kid).  And I would want to make sure they were not disciplining my child.  Otherwise I am pretty laid back and happy to be the one responsible for tending to my childs needs and for coming in frequently to check on them.


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#12 of 21 Old 11-25-2010, 06:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by neetling View Post

 

Honestly though, I've been a volunteer in several of my church's nurseries (we've moved a lot) and getting a group of 19 month olds (or a similar age group) to sit and listen to a lesson or do a craft or something is HARD.  You may need to relax about that.  We had curriculum, but with only 2 or 3 volunteers and the short attention spans of the littles it almost never went well.  Someone was comforting an upset child, someone else is shadowing the kid who likes to hit.  Etc.  We almost never got past the story.  We would sit and play and do puzzles and stuff, but it wasn't consistent, considering the needs of all the kids.


I've seen some programs that work well.  There seem to be a few things that are important - a routine, not longer than 15 minutes, a really focused lesson, and a lot of elements that are repeated in every lesson.  The same song, or the same way of introducing materials for example.  Also sup rising and interesting presentations with puppets, felt boards etc, and preferably twice per lesson with the kids being involved once - maybe sticking the things on the felt board for example.  A very simple craft if there is one.  And there needs to be a lot of momentum - it has to be presented really smoothly.

 

By focused lesson, i mean very simple.  Last year our nursery did the story of God creating everything, and it took the whole year.  Each lesson was one day of creation, that's it, and we gave each lesson about four times, for a month.  The kids were actually more interested with the lessons that had seen before, and they really remembered a lot too.


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#13 of 21 Old 11-25-2010, 06:32 PM
 
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How about instead of finding a good church nursery, finding a good church that doesn't batt an eye when a child is spirited.  A church that values children being part of corporate worship rather that babysitting so the adults can worship in peace.  it might take some searching, but churches like htis do exist!

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#14 of 21 Old 11-25-2010, 07:12 PM
 
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I may have posted about this before, but we used to run the children's programs in a former church.  A fairly large program, we had well over 100 children from birth to 5th grade.  For the nursery, all I can say is, it's so hard to run it and meet every parent's expectation.  You seem to be going into this very eyes wide open and reasonable.  

 

Honestly, my strongest concern was safety for the children and peace of mind for the parents.  Background checks for the workers, multiple workers during each service, training, etc.  Along with that, I didn't allow children younger than high school to volunteer or hang out if their parents were in for their scheduled day.  And, I was really careful about allowing parents to wander in - understand that I mean a difference between "wandering in" and spending a bit of time or multiple days getting their child used to going to the nursery.  Little ones like to escape, and they miss their parents, and if they see the door open, they'll run.  When they see grown-ups coming and going, they expect to see their parents and get pretty sad.

 

So, that's my take on the safety aspect.  From a leader's perspective, (and a mom's...)

 

We let the little ones watch tv.  It was running in the corner.  We used either a veggie tales dvd or a praise baby dvd so they were hearing good music and some bible stuff.  Once they were around 2, they moved to the next room and were taught a bible story, colored, sang and got to play.  Worked pretty good.  Then, at age 3, they moved up again to a great program that is expensive but awesome, tailored to 3-4-preK's.  It's video driven, has stations of coloring, blocks, etc, individual teacher time.  Awesome program.

 

So, for your son, since you're looking for a place that will give him some bible stuff, I say go to their web sites, check what they have for his age group or starting at age 3, and invest your next few months getting him acquainted with the people who will be leading him.

 

About the food, take what he can eat.  Kids need to snack, so for the hour of so he'll be there, they'll probably be given something.  I'm sure there won't be a problem with them giving him his own snack.  They're probably used to watching for allergies and stuff.

 

Security also can be addressed with a labeling system.  Many churches have a computer system that will print labels for their back with their name, yours, allergies, etc.  You have to have a matching label to pick him up.

 

All that said, you also have to find a church that will work for you, it would be hard to find one that has a great nursery but bad teaching or leadership.


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#15 of 21 Old 01-09-2011, 11:21 AM
 
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Hi,

  I am a new nursery director, at my church, here in Chicago area, and I was trying to establish a no diaper changing policy, and notify the parent when the baby is need of a change.  You had mentioned your church did not change diapers either.  Would you mind telling me the name of the church/ and or the location ie state or city.  I can't find any churches around here that have that policy.  thanks so much!

  Nursery mom

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#16 of 21 Old 01-11-2011, 05:52 PM
 
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My church has separate nurseries for babies and toddlers.  Both are well equipped with appropriate toys and furniture.  The toddler room is set up with "centers" (a loft/slide, kitchen, dress up, train table, blocks, sensory table, etc).  It also has a bathroom with a toddler sized toilet and sink.  Both nurseries have their own outside area with plenty of age-appropriate outside toys.  The toddler room has lots of natural items (wooden toys, baskets, etc).  All child care staff is paid and fully trained with background checks and everything.  It is the same staff every week, and the lady who runs the program also runs a private day school that is on our church grounds.  They use positive discipline, and only use "no's" and timeouts in cases of hurtful behavior (ie hitting).  There are little windows that parents can look through and the workers are ALWAYS interacting with the kids.  It is more of a free play time, but I'm okay with that.  As for notification, there is a place to leave a cell phone number on the sign in sheet and parents are asked to keep their phones on vibrate.  There is also a place to leave a note about where the parent is going to be (i.e. the church service, a class, etc.) so that if the parent can't be reached by phone for whatever reason, a worker can come find the parent.  Parents are also asked to sit toward that back of the sanctuary on the outside of the pew so they can be found easily.  The church is really good about their sick policy and parents at the church are also generally very respectful about keeping their kids out of nursery if they are sick.  fwiw, our church nursery is also strict about enforcing itself as a peanut-free zone.

 

Nursery Mom,

I guess I understand the reasoning behind trying to start a no-diaper-changing policy, but as a parent, that would honestly be a turn off for me.  It would be totally different if I decided to have my child with me in the service, but if I decide that I want my child to be in nursery while I attend church, I would expect that to be part of the nursery worker's duties.  I wouldn't want to get called out of church just because my child needs a dry diaper.


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#17 of 21 Old 01-12-2011, 10:22 AM
 
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My church has separate nurseries for babies and toddlers.  Both are well equipped with appropriate toys and furniture.  The toddler room is set up with "centers" (a loft/slide, kitchen, dress up, train table, blocks, sensory table, etc).  It also has a bathroom with a toddler sized toilet and sink.  Both nurseries have their own outside area with plenty of age-appropriate outside toys.  The toddler room has lots of natural items (wooden toys, baskets, etc).  All child care staff is paid and fully trained with background checks and everything.  It is the same staff every week, and the lady who runs the program also runs a private day school that is on our church grounds.  They use positive discipline, and only use "no's" and timeouts in cases of hurtful behavior (ie hitting).  There are little windows that parents can look through and the workers are ALWAYS interacting with the kids.  It is more of a free play time, but I'm okay with that.  As for notification, there is a place to leave a cell phone number on the sign in sheet and parents are asked to keep their phones on vibrate.  There is also a place to leave a note about where the parent is going to be (i.e. the church service, a class, etc.) so that if the parent can't be reached by phone for whatever reason, a worker can come find the parent.  Parents are also asked to sit toward that back of the sanctuary on the outside of the pew so they can be found easily.  The church is really good about their sick policy and parents at the church are also generally very respectful about keeping their kids out of nursery if they are sick.  fwiw, our church nursery is also strict about enforcing itself as a peanut-free zone.

 

Nursery Mom,

I guess I understand the reasoning behind trying to start a no-diaper-changing policy, but as a parent, that would honestly be a turn off for me.  It would be totally different if I decided to have my child with me in the service, but if I decide that I want my child to be in nursery while I attend church, I would expect that to be part of the nursery worker's duties.  I wouldn't want to get called out of church just because my child needs a dry diaper.

I am actually trying to get my church to change it's policies on diaper changes.  I don't think it's good for the child to have various people changing his or her diaper every sunday.  I want my child (and every child) to learn that their body is their own, and having any old person change the diaper sends the message that big people can do what they want with your underclothes and your body.  I don't understand why it would be a turn off for you to maybe have to change your babies diaper during a church service.    I think a daycare situation is different - it's the same people daily working with the child.  But a church nursery - even in the best of situations has a much higher turn over, and is only once a week.  Please think about what is best for the child, not most convenient for the parent.

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#18 of 21 Old 01-12-2011, 02:07 PM
 
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My church has separate nurseries for babies and toddlers.  Both are well equipped with appropriate toys and furniture.  The toddler room is set up with "centers" (a loft/slide, kitchen, dress up, train table, blocks, sensory table, etc).  It also has a bathroom with a toddler sized toilet and sink.  Both nurseries have their own outside area with plenty of age-appropriate outside toys.  The toddler room has lots of natural items (wooden toys, baskets, etc).  All child care staff is paid and fully trained with background checks and everything.  It is the same staff every week, and the lady who runs the program also runs a private day school that is on our church grounds.  They use positive discipline, and only use "no's" and timeouts in cases of hurtful behavior (ie hitting).  There are little windows that parents can look through and the workers are ALWAYS interacting with the kids.  It is more of a free play time, but I'm okay with that.  As for notification, there is a place to leave a cell phone number on the sign in sheet and parents are asked to keep their phones on vibrate.  There is also a place to leave a note about where the parent is going to be (i.e. the church service, a class, etc.) so that if the parent can't be reached by phone for whatever reason, a worker can come find the parent.  Parents are also asked to sit toward that back of the sanctuary on the outside of the pew so they can be found easily.  The church is really good about their sick policy and parents at the church are also generally very respectful about keeping their kids out of nursery if they are sick.  fwiw, our church nursery is also strict about enforcing itself as a peanut-free zone.

 

Nursery Mom,

I guess I understand the reasoning behind trying to start a no-diaper-changing policy, but as a parent, that would honestly be a turn off for me.  It would be totally different if I decided to have my child with me in the service, but if I decide that I want my child to be in nursery while I attend church, I would expect that to be part of the nursery worker's duties.  I wouldn't want to get called out of church just because my child needs a dry diaper.

I am actually trying to get my church to change it's policies on diaper changes.  I don't think it's good for the child to have various people changing his or her diaper every sunday.  I want my child (and every child) to learn that their body is their own, and having any old person change the diaper sends the message that big people can do what they want with your underclothes and your body.  I don't understand why it would be a turn off for you to maybe have to change your babies diaper during a church service.    I think a daycare situation is different - it's the same people daily working with the child.  But a church nursery - even in the best of situations has a much higher turn over, and is only once a week.  Please think about what is best for the child, not most convenient for the parent.


I do think about what's best for my child.  Honestly, if I didn't trust the workers at a church nursery to handle something like a diaper change, then I probably wouldn't leave my child there.  Also, I consider the fact that in our case, church only lasts an hour and the likelihood of needing a diaper change is pretty slim... DS has never needed a diaper change (or to potty, now that he's PT'ed) during that one hour.  And if he did, I think it would be hard on him for me to come in, change his diaper, and then leave again.  In that situation, I probably would not go back to church, and would just take him home.  I will allow for the fact though, that our church is not in a situation of high turnover in the nursery.  It's staffed by the same paid workers every week.  They know DS, DS knows them, we know them, and we trust them.  And maybe if we were in a situation where that wasn't the case, I'd feel a little differently.  But the nursery/children's programming at our church is one of the reasons that we're there. 

Also, I guess I don't see how it's any different from having an occasional unrelated babysitter.  Someone who babysits a few times a month.  I pick people to watch my child based on whether or not I trust them.  And if I hire someone to babysit DS, so that I can go out to dinner with DH (or whatever), I wouldn't expect to get called in the middle of dinner to come home and change a diaper or help him go potty.  


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#19 of 21 Old 01-16-2011, 08:57 PM
 
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I didn't read all the replies, but the church I went to when my kids were little had a "cry room" that was at the back of the sanctuary.  Parents could take kids there and there were large glass windows looking into the sanctuary and the sound was piped in, so you could still hear and see the service while being with your child and not disturbing anyone - it was a brilliant system! Maybe there's a church like that near ya'll?


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#20 of 21 Old 01-19-2011, 09:48 AM
 
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On diaper changes: our church has a policy that no men do them (DH thinks this is weird, but it is what it is). I have the only CD baby in nursery and I tell them that if they aren't comfortable changing it and he needs to be changed, let me know - they do notification via #s on the screen.

 

We meet in an elementary school at the moment, so some of the things, like windows into the class rooms just aren't feasible. We have a 0-2 group, a 2's, and a 3/4's. We start doing some more structured things around age 3. We do sometimes, have Christian music on.

 

I second volunteering in nursery, you get to know the other volunteers, the kids that play with yours, and other parents with similiarly aged children. Plus by going through it yourself, you learn what the screening process is, if there is any. (sometimes what they tell you, and what they do are two different things)

 

child to teacher ratio is also important.

 

As for when to call parents, this is so much a case by case basis. We have had parents COMPLAIN because we asked them to come soothe their child. We have parents that wonder why we did not come get them sooner. This is why it is important to have some consistency in the staff/volunteers.

 

Germs: any where kids gather is a hotbed of germs. we all do our best. I know, for us, we wipe down the toys between services. Since we are meeting in an elementary school, which is also a hotbed of germs, somethings just can't be helped. Do ask about a sick policy. We ask that parents with kids with green snot, fevers, or other signs of obvious illness be kept out of nursery. DS has been in nursery almost since he was born (maybe 8 weeks old?)  and I never have noticed an increase in illness after church. He stays pretty healthy.

 

In a nutshell: ask lots of questions and offer to volunteer. at the very least, see if they will allow you to stay in with your DS for the first time he's in there, to observe and what not. If they don't, I don't think I would be back. (unless they had some really stellar reason)


Katrina - Mama to Gabriel  sleepytime.gif 11/20/2009 and Norah vbac.gif 10/11/2011- married to Wayne - geek.gif novaxnocirc.gifbfinfant.giffamilybed1.gifcd.gif&nbspand now new baby Theodore born 3/11/13 vbac.gif

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#21 of 21 Old 01-24-2011, 07:07 AM
 
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This was my DS.  He is turning 3 this week, but was nonverbal until age 2.5.  He could sign as well. There was no way (still isn't) he is sitting in church. He is LOUD when he wants something.  We are working on that but its hard to work on that during church and really, he is 3.  He doesn't need to hear a full length sermon.  When he is 4, he will do children's church.

 

He had major separation anxiety from BIRTH!  My mom kept him while I work and he would go to no one but me, DH and her.  I actually left the church that I was attending because I wanted either me or my mom to stay in the nursery with him to let him get used to it.  They said I could but she couldn't.  I got lectured by the children's pastor and the nursery director that he would never separate if I didn't drop him in the nursery and let him cry.  I told them they were full of it and I quit  . 

 

So I found a new church.  Explained the issue.  Was told I could stay in the nursery and if my mom wanted to switch churches she could too.  (She didn't quit.)   After several months of me staying with him and going to the bathroom for short periods, I finally did it and left him for the whole hour.  He did fine.  Fussed a little the first time but since he was used to the room and the nursery workers he was ok. 

 

So for me, what I looked for was flexibility and understanding of our specific needs, not some hard-nosed attitude and parenting advice.  I get a text if he needs anything (very rare - one time I forgot his diaper bag and the worker asked me if I had any diapers - they ended up using some spare ones from the nursery closet.)   I am on the nursery worker list now, we usually put in a veggie tales dvd or read bible based books.  There are other non-bible based toys in the nursery which is fine too.  

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