Monday, November 9, 2009

Things Your Nursery Leader Won't Tell You . . .

I was reading my new copy of The Reader's Digest and they have a section called, "Things Your ----(fill in the blank) Won't Tell You."

In that vein, here is my Nursery Leader "Things Your Nursery Leader Won't Tell You"

(With a new ward, my husband and I were called as Nursery Leaders. I will be be going on 6 plus years there, which I don't really mind, since I have always been in there with my kids. I have the calling down to science now and I do get great satisfaction from running an organized Nursery.)

Nursery is a class not daycare. If a child doesn't want to be there and cries and is upset longer than about five minutes, he really needs to go back to you or you need to stay in there with him. While it may not look like we are "doing anything", we are. We are teaching them many things--how to sit and interact with other kids in a group setting, how to be reverent for longer periods of time, how to share, how to pray, how to wash hands (before snack time), Primary songs, how to be nice to others, and many other such skills. It is very disruptive to everyone if your child is crying and wants you. If they settle down quickly that is one thing but if they don't, he should be with you or you need to stay in there with him.

If you are staying in Nursery to help your child, help, don't chat with your buddies. I can't tell you how frustrating it is for workers to have parents come in to stay with their child but during lesson time, singing time, etc., they sit in the back and chat and don't help.

If your child is under 18 months, they really don't belong there. Many parents try to bring their child in before they are 18 months saying they are trying to get their child "used to it." No, they are too young and often can get accidently hurt by older kids and have a hard time participating. They also need a lot more attention then the older kids and we need to put our efforts on the kids in the class, not them. If you want to bring them in a month early and stay with them, that is OK but know we are working with the kids who are old enough to be in there.

If your child is sick, please don't bring them. This should be obvious but it is not. More than once, I have brought a child back to their parents to have them argue with me they really aren't "that sick" or "they aren't contagious." Truth be known, you don't really know if they are contagious or not and as workers, if we feel your child is too sick (or we don't want to wipe their nose 20 times an hour), than they really shouldn't be there. We don't want others to get sick or for ourselves to get sick or bring it home to our own families.

If we bring your child to you for misbehavior, please keep them with you for the rest of church. Sometimes a child is just having a hard time at church and they take it out on others. If we bring your child to you and explain they just need a break from Nursery today, then please don't keep them out for a few minutes and then bring them right back in. We won't bring them to you unless we really feel it is beyond what we can handle that day (and personally, I always take a vote among the leaders to see if we all agree on that fact, so it is not just me making the decision), then please just take your child for the rest of the day.

We don't judge your parenting, so please don't judge how we do Nursery. We honestly try very hard to make Nursery a very positive happy experience for your child and all of the children in there. It is hard to handle many toddlers at very different development levels and keep everyone happy. It can be very discouraging to get "complaint" phone calls later. While we have been asked to serve, it still is a voluntary and it makes it hard to go back week after week if we think people are upset with how we are doing things. Feel free stay in and help and make polite suggestions, or even offer to be the a Nursery worker but please don't complain.

And please when talking about church callings, please don't say, "If I ever get called to Nursery, I will turn it down." There is a reason why I have been in Nursery as long as I have. I have been in Primary presidencies and seen how many people have turned it down often for the reason that "they just don't want to do it." It really isn't that hard of a calling and truth be known, it makes me feel like a "chump" that I am willing to do it and others are not.

11 comments:

Alissa said...

I was very impressed with the Nursery organization, and I am sorry for breaking rule #3. It won't be a habit.

I totally agree about parents coming in and chatting. (Hopefully I'm not guilty...) It drove me crazy when I was nursery leader. There was one father who would come in every week, even though his kid was fine, and chat it up with the other father/mothers. I felt like I couldn't run it well with them talking cars and the like.

I'm glad to have you as the nursery leader. Too bad Ella will only have <2 months with you.

kel said...

AMEN, sister!

David said...

LOL i never knew there were so many things about nursery that could get on a person's nerves!

David said...

oh also, my tooth just chipped tonight, i need your dentist husband to fix me up! lol

Erika said...

Did you say 6 years?! I want to print this out and give it to our nursery leaders to post ;-) I'm sure I'm guilty of a few of them. I totally appreciate all of the work our nursery leaders do. No complaints here! Hopefully you don't get too many complaints either. Hello...volunteer...!?!

Paige said...

My husband loves being in the nursery.

Gabriela said...

well said. The kids in your nursery are very lucky to have you. :)

Jane Anne said...

When I was stk. pr. pres. there were a couple of wards that posted signs on the door that listed things the children shouldn't have if they wanted to come to nursery that day. Like, green runny nose, cough etc. or whatever you feel should be on it. Everyone knew beforehand what to expect. I don't know if it really worked or not, but who knows?

michelle said...

I was shocked when I was in a primary presidency and learned how hard it is to staff a nursery. My way of thinking is that if you have ever had a child in nursery or want to have a child in nursery you better pitch in occasionally! Love the family pictures!

Amy E. said...

Well said, Janice. I am in the primary presidency right now and we are constantly trying to keep a nursery leader in. Wish you were here!

Carrie said...

I love your list! And you are a saint for serving in the nursery for 6 years. In one of our wards they started a policy that they would only have people serve for 6 months in the nursery. The problem was that we had 5 nurseries and the parents of many of the children in there felt they "deserved" a break from parenting. Needless to say, the 6 month thing didn't last too long because it was nearly impossible to keep all 5 staffed.