More than one church growth writer or blogger has written about the importance of the church nursery, especially if we want to reach young families. Here are some of the problems our Lawless Group consulting teams have seen in nurseries:
- No established drop off/pick up plan – The church has no policy or procedure in place to make sure that the proper person picks up the right child, etc. They just assume that they’ll always know everybody, so no plan is necessary.
- Untrained workers – The workers haven’t been equipped to take care of little ones. They don’t think about allergies, germs, cleanliness, and basic first aid.
- Uncovered outlets – You’d hope that no crawling child would stick something in an electrical outlet, but it can happen.
- Only one adult in the room – Permitting times when only one adult is in the nursery is an invitation for trouble because of the potential for abuse and the possibility of emergencies (and . . . for churches who do understand this issue, the two adults in the room should be unrelated).
- Minors in charge – Teens may help in the nursery if the church policy allows, but only under adult supervision. They should not be in charge.
- Unsafe furniture or toys – It’s amazing how often our team finds toys that are broken, toys with tiny parts, or older furniture that appears to be dangerous.
- No background checks for volunteers – Background checks are no guarantee of future problems, but they’re a necessary precaution for all workers. Anyone unwilling to complete a check should not serve in this capacity.
- Nursery doors with no windows – It’s logical and wise to make it harder for anyone to “hide” when working with preschoolers and children. Typically, we see this problem in older buildings.
- No gloves when changing diapers – A church nursery seems to be one of the easiest places to spread germs (for one reason, parents bring their sick babies to church). Gloves are at least one precaution to avoid spreading germs.
- Uncleanliness – We’ve seen cribs that are dusty, sheets that are stained, counters covered with crumbs, and carpet that hasn’t been vacuumed.
- No means to sanitize toys – Some toys in nurseries go from mouth to mouth with no intervention to clean the toys. That’s a problem.
- Safety hazards – These vary – e.g., no posted emergency exit plan, poisonous materials or medicines not stored securely, drapery or blind cords within reach of children, plastic bags too accessible, etc.
What would you add to this list? Let’s help each other.