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I mean no disrespect here!!! I have a few really sincere questions that I have always wondered about.

I don't go to church (I'm atheist), but dh does (Catholic). Our ds (age 7) stays home with me while dh goes.

Dh says they have a nursery at his church that, apparently, is used by a lot of the parish members during services, from newborns to older kids.

Why do families go to church and then leave their children in a nursery? I mean, isn't church/religion supposed to be encompass the entire family? Is it so the adults can concentrate on what the priest/minister/officiant is saying? Why wouldn't that pertain to children? Is it to have that hour of totally quiet time without the child(ren) but with a free babysitter? Why do people send their children to Sunday school? Why not teach your children the Bible yourself? When do the nursery workers attend services (or, are they not members of that church)? Do officiants "insist" that young children have to be in the nursery?

Wouldn't it be better to stay at home as a family and spend that same amount of time (that would have been spent in church) discussing your faith/beliefs/religion?? Or, go outside and walk while looking at and praising the natural world you believe was created by a higher power? Why is it so important to go to a special building?

I don't mean for any of these questions to sound jabbing (I really don't!), but I am curious about this.
 

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I have wondered this myself. Our church does not have a nursery at all. Everyone from newborn to 99 yo sit in the same room. There are restrooms with changing tables and rocking chairs if someone needs a diaper or to rock. I just don't see the necessity of a nursery.
 

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I started out thinking that DD would just stay in services with us from the time she was tiny. That way she'd just grow up knowing how to behave quietly, right? After all, the pioneers did it that way (my favorite rationale LOL)

It worked until she was about six months old. Then she got mobile, and started wanting to explore everything. I spent the entire service keeping track of her, so that even though she was quiet and not disturbing anyone, I missed most of the service.

By 9 months, neither of us were enjoying services any more. She was babbling, and I just couldn't explain to her that now was not the time for it. We spent the whole hour frustrated with each other, which didn't seem healthy. So, I started introducing her to the nursery. It took about a month for us both to be comfortable with it (I spent that month in nursery with her, while she adjusted), but we've both got it down pat now.

I haven't decided when we'll bring her back in to services again. I love the idea of family worship time, but I have become concerned that she'll view services as "that boring, dreary time that I have to be quiet and not do anything fun and I hate" - not exactly the healthy attitude I want to encourage! Maybe there is something to be said for child-appropriate activities during worship time. I don't know - we'll cross that bridge when we get there.
 

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One of my personal requirements for a church is that it has Sunday school at the same time as the church service. I will not force my kids to sit through a service that is at least an hour long. I have horrible, horrible memories of being made to do it at the catholic church my parents made us all attend, and it helped turn me off from religion at an early age. We left our last church when they altered the format to require children to stay for the entire service.

My current church has the kids stay for the first 15 minutes or so, which concludes with a children's sermon, and then they leave for Sunday school. The part of the service they are present for is more aimed for kids. The later readings and sermon are not--they are much more cerebral. In Sunday school, lessons are presented to them in an age-appropriate way.
 

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I've always thought Church is for the family as well. However, I thought that the nursery was 2 fold. 1. no crying children during service and 2. bible stories and lessons geared toward children (less sophisticated)

We have friends who take turns going to church with their 2 kids.
One week the dad goes with 1 kid, the next week the mom goes with the other kid.
I've always thought that was odd.
 

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I'll try to answer them as best as I can.

We attend Catholic church and yes there is a nursery to use if you choose. It is not required that all children under x age be in the nursery but it is up to the parents. The nursery in my opinion is a place where parents can take there children if they become fussy or need to get up and stretch their legs. In church there are babies that cry and may need a diaper change, the nursery has a changing station set up to use and a rocker and toys. One thing that most people don't realize is that there are loud speakers in the nursery so that you can still hear the sermon. Parents of you ng children often sign up and take turns being in the nursery. I don't feel that its so the parents get a break from there child, but so that if the child is causing a scene and not sitting still they don't disturb everyone else from participating.

Sunday school, for us, takes place the hour before or after church, not during. This can give parents the time to have coffee and chat a while or we have church meetings. Yes, you could always sit at home and teach your child yourself, but for me it was so much more enjoyable having other children my age. When they asked questions I learned and we were able to have skits or activity time together. Also its about celebrating your beliefs with a group of people.

I guess depending on your religious or non religious beliefs you could go for walks or find something meaningful for you to do. But I can go for walk any time during the week. Sunday is the my time to gather with people of similar beliefs and faiths. I feel like I personally would be missing out if it were done around my kitchen table. Take here for example, you could always go about your own AP ways and do what you do. But its so much more enjoyable to talk to others who are the same way and by talking to others you learn more. If you have a question there are people you can ask and who want to help you. Hope this answers some of your questions.
 

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Our church has a nursery, and "Sunday School" for pre-school age kids up to junior high.

They also have a room set up, directly behind with those funky windows, for parents that choose to worship with their young kids and babies.

My church stresses worshipping at "their level" meaning kids would get more out of it with a service or classroom type atmosphere, at their grade level. I dont think my 7 year old would really understand or fully grasp the adult service.

I do believe that families should worship together, and they can follow up and supplement at home.

I guess i look at it as I woundnt put my 7 yr old in a college math class.

I should also add that all three have loved going to sunday school, and the few times where they balked at going, I either stayed home or went to the "overflow room".
 

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I attend a very small, family-friendly chapel. We have a nursery/preschool class during Mass. It's made up mostly of toddlers and preschoolers who get bored and restless. They have Bible lessons and make crafts and play. Nobody leaves their babies there; but if ppl have a baby who gets loud during Mass, they'll often take them out to there for a bit, calm the babe down, and then come back to church.

I have four children who have all attended the nursery/ps class, from about age 2-1/2 to age 5; then we transitioned them back into the Mass with no problem. Our youngest has just starting attending Mass again with us; but I still send her out to the ps class when I'm singing at Mass and DH can't be there, just so I don't have to witness her older siblings trying to control an embarassing meltdown while I'm stuck up on the Altar and unable to do anything about it.

Having said that, I do think that babies and young toddlers should stay with a parent during church services for security and comfort. As for older toddlers and preschoolers - IMO it's a personal decision best made by each individual family.
 

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IMO, the nursery issue isn't one about church, but rather about society's wishes to separate children from parents. Just as a person would get a baby sitter to go to a movie or (sometimes) dinner, they use a nursery to watch the children during service. Just as in many areas, the church still uses an "antiquated" system: most restaurants are family friendly, and ppl bring kids to movies. in my church we can do either, but the nursery is used to teach children (yes, even babies) about God. We read them stories and do crafts with toddlers and up, to instill the stories and values of God and the Bible. So, at least in our church, the nursery is not a "holding tank," but rather a school where children learn about our religion. Babies are welcome in our church (older kids, too, but there is no special handout/kid's toy offered to them).
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by grahamsmom98
Why do families go to church and then leave their children in a nursery? I mean, isn't church/religion supposed to be encompass the entire family? Is it so the adults can concentrate on what the priest/minister/officiant is saying? Why wouldn't that pertain to children? Is it to have that hour of totally quiet time without the child(ren) but with a free babysitter? Why do people send their children to Sunday school? Why not teach your children the Bible yourself? When do the nursery workers attend services (or, are they not members of that church)? Do officiants "insist" that young children have to be in the nursery?
Our church has two options for babies who are too young for the official Religious Education program. They can go to the nursery, which is a playroom staffed by a hired professional caregiver, or they can stay with their parents in the sanctuary. A "children's corner" at the back of the church has floor pillows, a kid-sized table and chairs, coloring books and crayons, and a couple of dolls.

When my baby was tiny, she slept in the sling all through church. Now that she's a little older, I usually take her to the nursery because I don't think it's fair to her to expect her to be quiet, or mostly quiet, for an hour. I stay with her in the nursery because she's not ready to be left alone, which is too bad because I miss the service. But she's too young to get anything out of the service, except maybe enjoying the music. It doesn't seem fair to require her to be there.

Why have a Sunday School? Because they present material in an age-appropriate way. Once Alex is three, she'll start going to "children's chapel" worship services which allow all the children to be directly involved in worship participation. Then she'll have Religious Education classes which teach her religious concepts in a simple and age-appropriate way. We'll also discuss our religious beliefs at home, but RE will be a way for her to be exposed to new perspectives and to share her religious development with other children. As children grow older, I think they often benefit from having adult mentors who aren't their parents or their parents' close friends. Church and RE are places where Alex can find adult mentors who share our core values.

Quote:

Originally Posted by grahamsmom98
Wouldn't it be better to stay at home as a family and spend that same amount of time (that would have been spent in church) discussing your faith/beliefs/religion?? Or, go outside and walk while looking at and praising the natural world you believe was created by a higher power? Why is it so important to go to a special building?
It's not the special building, to me, it's the *people* in the special building. We go to church to hear perspectives which we might not have thought about before, to enjoy music and rituals which help shape our minds for religious experience, and to be part of a community of people who are trying to live by the same values that we are. Our church is a multigenerational community, a place for each of us to build strong friendships which support our faith and encourage us to grow spiritually. Church isn't "better", necessarily, than home discussion or enjoying the natural world, but there's no reason why we can't do all three of those things.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Starr
One thing that most people don't realize is that there are loud speakers in the nursery so that you can still hear the sermon. Parents of you ng children often sign up and take turns being in the nursery. I don't feel that its so the parents get a break from there child, but so that if the child is causing a scene and not sitting still they don't disturb everyone else from participating.

I agree with the speakers in the nursery so you can hear the sermon. That's what it was like in the church in which I grew up. The nursery was for the really small kids who couldn't sit through a service. There were attendants there to watch them, but the adults could still "participate" in the service by at least hearing the sermon. That's part of the reason I was so surprised by the cartoon blaring TV in the nursery that we were in the other week. I understand the need to play, move around, make noise, etc. for a young child (hence the need for a nursery), but a TV?

BTW, I like the practice that the previous poster spoke of about having the younger children in the service up until after the children's sermon and then providing them with more age-appropriate lessons and activities.

And regarding the necessity of a nursery, I have a high need 14 month-old. He enjoyed the music at the beginning of the service, but once you get into the sermon, it would be torturous to try to contain him while he fussed and cried. It's nice to have a place to take him that he can enjoy. We wouldn't leave him alone, though, so we were hoping to at least hear the sermon on the aforementioned speakers which didn't exist. It was pretty disappointing to have Dragon Tails blaring instead, which only increased the chaos in the room, upsetting my child. Also, in this particular nursery there were quite a few older kids (like 5 years-old) that I didn't think needed to be in there. At that age they can entertain themselves with coloring books or other things. Because of the older kids there was a lot more noise, chaos and aggressive behavior as well. But then, I guess if you have toys and TV, why would you want to be in the service just quietly coloring or doing some other quiet activity?
 

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I brought my babies to the sanctuary with me when they were very small and could nurse and sleep happily. Now I bring them in for the singing at the beginning, scoot them down the hall to the nursery and make it back for meditation and lesson and then scoot back to get them in time for the ending singing.

I think a lot of it has to do with the type of church/service you attend. I attend a Unity church and that hour of meditation and listening to inspiring words is a rock that helps get me through the coming week. It is really the only time during the week that I take solely for myself.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by grahamsmom98
When do the nursery workers attend services (or, are they not members of that church)?
This was a problem at our church - the workers never got to attend services, and quickly became burned out. It was hard on the people, and bad for the quality of the nursery, as well.

So our leadership made the decision to offer two services on Sunday morning. People may only serve (whatever capacity) in one of the two, so they can participate in the other. It's makes for long morning for some people, but it's better than burning out our most eager volunteers.
 

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We have Sunday School for all ages, different rooms, then Morning Service, Evening Service and Wednesday Evening Service. The kids go to Jr Church after their Sunday school class, spend Evening Service with us, and on Wed. they go to Kings Kids, a children's program with singing, games and bible learning. They have a ball.

I absolutely LOVE our church nursery. I think DS3 has more fun in there than he would in the service. Our 2 older sons go to Jr Church and Sunday school that is geared toward their level. During the evening service, the older ones come in with us, and the baby still goes to nursery. No one told us we HAD to do this. We choose to do it. I cannot speak for others, but I love the fact that I get "fed" too. It is hard to concentrate on the sermon/bible study with babbling and screaming children in the service. In my opinion, a "well-fed" (scriptually and spiritually) Mom makes a better Mom. I like to call it "Recharging my batteries".

Why not stay home? Well, I am not an atheist or someone who wants to stay home. I believe in God and believe in worship. I do not want to stay home. I want to go to church.

Also, we DO teach our family at home. We have little bible lessons and stories and music. I homeshool our oldest and part of his curriculum is Bible study.

I did not take offense to your post. In fact, it is nice to have someone ask instead of hearing how horrible you are for taking your children to church or how bad you are to teach them the Bible and about Christianity. Very refreshing.
 

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i love our church nursery...then again, i don't leave haye alone. actually, nobody does. the parents go to the nursery with their babies. there is live video feed from the sermon so you can actually be included in what's going on, and it's nice to just sit on the couch and be able to talk to other moms if you want. i don't agree with sending my baby to a nursery though, i wouldn't feel comfortable.
 

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Wanted to add that in our church nurseries, the moms all take turns volunteering. It is fun, actually. I like working with the babies and toddlers. I used to teach the 3 yr olds during the Morning Service and it was a blast. I NEVER had but one who cried and we had lots of fun.
 

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I used to do childcare in my UU church nursery when I was in HS. I wouldn't have gone to church otherwise, so I wasn't missing out on anything. My mom would sometimes go to services, and we would go on Holidays and had attended sunday school there.
Before the service the kids would pull on the huge cord to ring the bell, during the service we'd play with the kids in the sand table, paint, read, or they'd climb and play on the loft/playhouse. Their family would come get them for coffee hour. I never thought that the purpose of it was to separate family and child, some things are more appropriate for the kids, I would never have wanted to be in the service when I could have been playing.
I became quite close with a lot of the children, would babysit for them, and when I went off to college the parents all pitched in and gave me money for books, etc.
 

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dd spent all of last sunday's service in the nursery because we had never attended that church before and i wanted to get a feel for the tone of the service without worrying about interrupting anyone elses service. i the future i will probably go get her at the half way point (when they only children join the service after sunday school) so she can get used to going to church. the first half of the service can be very hard for children, i remember, but the second half is more interective.

when she's old enough, dd will attend sunday school. i have fond memories of sunday school. it's more child appropriate. the sunday school teachers and the nursery aide all attend the church. the nursery aides go to the early morning service so they are still very connected with the church.

i have never attended a church where children were required to go to the nursery. i'm sure there are such churches out there. i would never leave dd in the nursery if she wasn't happy so i wouldn;t attend a church where children at the service was frowned upon. i think though that it can be more comfortable for everyone if children have a children's space at church.
 

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First, the need for a nursery and/or the use of a nursery can vary vastly with each church -- even within the same denomination. Or even within different times/services at the same church. So you will get lots of different answers depending on who you ask.

For us, the need for Sunday School and nursery care is multi-faceted. We attend a large, traditional church. The service is 1 1/2 hours long and is filled with a lot of times when a child's noise, natural as they are, aren't welcomed by the majority of worshippers. Since those with children are in the minority, this isn't likely to change. I don't want my kids to associate church and God with being glared at by some elderly parishioner who is tired of hearing my toddler ask "why". Would I love it if everyone was more tolerant and the kids felt more welcome? Sure, but I am not capable of changing that many people's attitudes and I love this particular church for enough other reasons that its not worth it to me to try.

Its also not fair for my children to disturb other's worship. Not being distruptive is a sign of respect for others needs. And no way no how are my two highly active kids going to sit quietly through the service without making any noise or motion that might disturb the person next to us. Its just not fair to demand that of a child.

Those of us who do not have the gift of teaching appreciate those who do. I couldn't home school or home Sunday School. I do spend time giving my kids my values and believes, but there are better people than I to put the basics into kid-friendly terms, to design hands-on activities that cement the concepts for them. Plus, this gives them the idea that other people care about them and their faith and connects them with other adults (Sunday School teachers) in the church.

At our church, the nursery attendents come from a licensed/bonded/trained sitter service to ensure safe quality care, so they don't attend worship at our church. Sunday School teachers are volunteers, mostly parents, with a gift for teaching. The children (other than 0-3 nursery kids) start in the church, leave after the opening prayers, and come back in for communion with their families. The Sunday School teachers thus get to receive communion but miss the lessons and prayers. They either rotate so they don't do this all the time or come to a different service if they feel they are missing the more formal prayers. About 6 times a year the main Sunday service is designated a family service, everything is shortened, and kids lead and participate throughout the service. This gives children a chance to experience formal worship without asking more of them then is appropriate. There are also special services at Christmas and Easter for the entire family.

Finally, the one item that I haven't seen addressed at all. My children started in the nursery at a very young age (like 6 weeks) because both my husband and I feel called to sing in the choir. This is our special gift and the way we worship and give back to God and to the members of our church. In this large, formal worship that we participate in, a child in the choir pews would be a significant problem for everyone. I couldn't sing if I were worried about kid noise in the middle of a 10 minute latin motet. Nor could the conductor conduct if he were distracted.
 

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I think some children, particularly really little ones, might find the services boring and not a place where they can play and be a little loud. A nursery allows a child a place to do those things without disturbing anyone, and without being "Shhhsh'ed" all the time. As kids get older they likely would go to Sunday school or some other religious educational service of their own as well as fellowship with the adult community/their parents. That's my experience anyway. It's just not particularly respectful of anyone, the other church goers or the child, to have an bored restless child that wants to play in a quiet service. Just my IMO.
 
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