Just because communication
with babies isn't easy doesn't mean it's impossible. Babies can
take in way more than we give them credit for being. I read
a study the other day by French neuroscientists that claimed
"babies at age 5 months have the ability to perceive objects in
adult-like ways, even though they cannot tell us."
I encourage ministries to look at
infant/nursery age level as more than childcare, but an amazing
time of growth for a child's first steps in understanding God's
love. Think about it this way-what's the earliest memory you have?
In that memory were you walking? talking? doing something on your
You learned certain skills and concepts before
you could even remember specific events. Although you didn't form
long-term memories, you never forgot certain lessons you learned at
such a young age. That's how transformational the stage from birth
to 2 years is. And that'show important your ministry is.
One of the best ways to communicate God's love
is through touch. Here are a few ways to use the power of touch
with the babies in your ministry.
1.Comfort Babies. Pop quiz: What's the better
way to calm a fussy baby-simply holding them while sitting or
carrying them while walking around the room? The research is in and
experts say walking while carrying fussy babies is
the way to go. Next time you need to help a child relax, pick
them up and walk together. Why not set up fun
and colorful picture windows to walk to around your room?
Babies will love the ride while looking at different pictures of
2. Let Them Touch. It's key to allow babies to
explore on their own and experience things in tactile ways. For
your youngest kids, come up with some one- or two-line simple
sentences to use with their toys as they touch them. ("The toy
sheep is soft. God made sheep!" for example.) For toddlers, as you
tell them about the Bible, use sensory items to help reinforce the
lesson-a spray bottle for Jonah, feathers for the birds around
Noah's Ark, or a piece of furry fabric when talking about how God
made all the animals. Hands-On Bible Curriculum does an incredible
job with this for the Toddlers and 2-Year-Olds by using Bible
Storyboards to help Scripture come to life.
3. Speak Their Language.While we are on the
topic of using our hands, remember that kids can start to learn
sign language at a very young age. Why not take the time to start
them teaching signs that relate to important spiritual concepts?
Gently guide babies' hands to help them get the hang of doing the
motions. Here are a few to get you started:
• Jesus -touch
middle finger to opposite palm; repeat with other hand.
• Bible- hold your
palms a couple inches apart, with fingers spread and your middle
fingers slightly inward. Rotate your palms in a staggered circle,
then close fingers together and align your pinkies to make a book
• God- hold your
palm straight vertical, fingers together, thumb towards you. Bring
your palm from above your head down the center of your face.
• Love -hug your
• Church -Cup your
left hand upside down in front of your chest. Make a C shape with
your right hand, and set it on top of your left hand.
April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month. It goes without
saying that there are harmful touches that should never happen.
Nursery workers must be gentle with young ones and you must always
take precautions when finding volunteers to work with them.
If you're interested in background checks and
screenings, I recommend Shepherd's
Watch from Group. Screenings are affordable and accurate, and
they will help keep your families safe.
How do you make your nursery and baby ministry
more than childcare? Do you use sign language in your ministry?
What tips and tricks do you have when working with babies? Let us
know in the comment section below!