4 Reasons Parents Avoid Church Nurseries


The 4 reasons parents avoid church nurseries may surprise you.

The nursery was perfect. Matching cribs lined one wall, each with crisp pink and blue checked sheets. Developmentally appropriate toys sat neatly on white shelves just waiting for tiny hands to hold them. A wooden rocker sat motionless in the corner with a soft, pale green afghan folded over its arm, ready to comfort and warm a tiny soul. The small room waited for small guests.

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Outside the nursery, a flurry of activity filled the halls. Children and their parents hurried by on their way to classes and services. Laughter and excitement bubbled up everywhere — everywhere except in the nursery.

Makes you feel sorry for the nursery, doesn’t it? This scenario may sound extreme — but when we surveyed parents of babies and toddlers to see whether they use the church nursery, we found that some never do. So why don’t these parents use our nurseries? Their reasons may surprise you, but they also may inspire you to make your nursery the place to be.

1. Health Hazards

One common reason parents resist leaving their little ones in your nursery is they’re afraid their small children will be exposed to otherwise-avoidable illnesses.

“My concern is that many parents will take a sick child to the nursery,” said one parent. “I also worry about whether things are cleaned and disinfected. I suppose I should just ask, but then I feel like the freaky mom who worries too much.”

Take Action: Help parents see that you’re taking measures to keep all your small friends healthy and happy.

Establish an illness policy. For example, require that children who have a fever, runny nose with yellow discharge, diarrhea, vomiting, or other symptoms remain with their parents. Require that parents whose children become ill retrieve their child within 10 minutes. Create an isolation area in your room so if a child becomes ill, he or she can be separated from other children while waiting for Mom or Dad.

Keep your room sanitized. Clean all toys before returning them to the shelves by rinsing them in a bleach and water solution. Keep changing tables sanitary. Use disinfectant spray liberally during peak illness seasons. Encourage hand-washing among children and require it of volunteers. Provide sanitizing hand gel at your entryway, changing tables, and restroom.

Post these policies and health-conscious procedures outside your classroom and in your promotional materials so parents know you’re working to keep kids healthy. next

4 Reasons Parents Avoid Church Nurseries
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  1. That’s it? That’s the post?

    OK, so my response is this.
    1) Train up a child….. Kids need to hear God’s word. No nursery.
    2) God made dirt; Dirt don’t hurt. Germs are how we create immune systems. Over-sanitizing leads to super-bugs. (and do they think the kids are not exposed in the main congregation?)

  2. Hi I am in Australia and am interested in your subscription. Just wondering 1. what would be my cost for this subscription, and 2. would this still include a printed version. I understand it would take a bit longer to get here but I am a bit old fashioned and while digital is great I also appreciate keeping the printed version in the office.
    Associate Pastor Dalby Baptist
    Childrens and Families Pastor

    • Christine Yount Jones on

      Stuart, the price is the same (and that varies depending on the offer we have going–right now it’s buy 2 years for $25). You would need to pay $7 extra for postage.

  3. Heather Vogtman on

    You have to hit next to see all 4 reasons..and I agree and either have implemented these already or have it in our plan to do so! Great resource, Thank you!

  4. I am on our church nursery committee. We have tried to maintain all of these suggestions and have a good attendance of 2-3 yr olds but our bed baby room is low. We prefer to use hydrogen peroxide/water solution for all sanitation of toys, tables etc.

  5. Agh, this is so hard for me. We have basically stopped going to church because we go to a really big church that isn’t really kid-in-auditorium friendly.
    I feel so trapped.
    I want to go to church. But relinquishing my parenting even for an hour and a half to an absolute stranger without the ability to focus on one or two children at a time makes me sick to my stomach.
    And our church lets kids cry, and tries to downplay it so parents will want to come back.
    I hate when they tell me he cried a little, but I can see his red puffy eyes, and lines of tears down his cheeks.
    I always just kinda figure we have to wait until he’s older.
    I wish there were a better solution.
    In the meantime, I just try to foster our relationship with God daily at home. And I pray

    • Christine Yount Jones on

      Stephen, everyone has to do what they believe is right before God. I know in our church, there are lots of loving people who enjoy taking care of little ones. And we won’t let them suffer! Maybe you could have a friendly conversation with your leaders.

  6. Genoveva Bueno on

    Stephen, the more you postpone, the less word the baby will get. Remember “Let the little children come to me”. Just LET IT go.
    I am a parent of 5 and have educated for over 20 years around the globe. I struggle still, with my two toddlers and rather have them on my lap at service than other times. But then, when I go into the classrooms with other children, or as a nursery coordinator…I feel so happy that parents LET THEIR CHILDREN COME TO JESUS. Because no matter how many tears a baby sheds, what he hears is the word of God, the voices of other children coming to Him, the reality that they belong to God (not to you), and that they end-up enjoying and becoming used to their new church family as the first steps towards loving their church!
    I know it hurts, but more is the hurt of keeping your family away from Jesus and the word, rather than letting go to your own fears and uncomfortable feelings.

    Surely we will not think that among the thousands that walked the mountains to reach Jesus, there were no children crying, right? How many of those would have been blessed to have people who care to speak them the same truths, but at their level, with food, with a hugging toy, with an activity, with others the same age…etc. In both scenarios, LET THE CHILDREN GO TO JESUS!

    In the long-run, when all has passed (because this is very short), you will be so happy you did it!

    God Bless you!

  7. I really wish the post was more exhaustive. Please cover current issues such as
    1 – Security cameras in nurseries – do’s & don’ts
    2 – Photography of kids
    3 – Security teams & how they should interact with volunteers

  8. Stephen,

    Trust your God given instincts. If your church nursery is not transparent or downplays a child’s crying, that makes them less than trustworthy. I’d do what you think is best.

    Your children will eventually be able to talk and communicate which makes leaving them a lot less scary as they can tell you about their day. Maybe it’s not the right time yet, or the right nursery.

  9. We don’t send our child to nursery because they learn about God in worship, where they see and interact with their family and church, worshipping God. I hate the pressure to send my child to nursery. I stumbled across this trying to figure out when nursery became an institution of the church. Children belong with their parents, if a church wants to have a nursery and a parent wants to use it that’s their business, but children and parents should all be welcome and feel welcome in worship. A child who is sent out of worship won’t come to appreciate worship as much as he will the value of being entertained every Sunday at church. No one cares for a child like their parent does and if your child is crying and clings to you maybe that is a sign they don’t want to be there but want to be and should be encouraged to be with you. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving them I wouldn’t. They learn so much from observing your love of God and you worshipping. They take so much of that in and it’s invaluable. Encourage questions and explain even to the youngest what is going on. Children love imitating their parents! Encourage that! Good luck to you!

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