Use these 4 quick ways to build bonds with little ones when they first come in your church nursery.
Very young children often have a difficult time away from their parents at church. Since your time with little ones is brief and only occurs once or twice per week at best, it’s not unusual for children to experience separation anxiety. Here are ways you can overcome this stress.
- Engage the child quickly. Find a way to immediately get the child involved in your room experience so anxiety ebbs away. Plan ahead for a child you know is struggling by having something tactile, musical, or highly visual in hand that you can use to engage the child. Hands-on activities ease stress.
- Find a quiet space. Many times a quiet activity is a good way to calm a child and gain trust. Whether it’s watching birds out the window or pretending to pet a stuffed bear, quiet activities are often soothing and calming for young children.
- Point out other children. Toddlers especially are observers. When a child is unsure of his or her surroundings, seeing other children having fun, doing activities, and engaging is a sign that all is well. Often a worried child will soon join in.
- Introduce puppet buddies. Young children love puppets. A simple hand puppet greeting can quickly ease a child’s stress. It’s also a great way to engage a child in a friendly way so he or she forgets worries and realizes our room is a friendly, happy place.
Hilary Romig is a children’s minister and author living in Ruidoso, New Mexico.