How To Make A Church Nursery Schedule

Creating the nursery schedule at church is one of my least favorite administrative tasks as a children’s minister. The next schedule is due out this week, so I thought I would share how I do it.

How To Make A Church Nursery Schedule

6 Steps To Making A Church Nursery Schedule

1. Revise The Old Dates

I’ve moved to a 6-week rotation for our church nursery. I simply open the Word document on my computer and edit the old dates by looking at my calendar. This saves me time because I don’t have to shuffle workers for 5th Sundays. It also makes the commitment level seem more manageable for the volunteers.

2. Review For Special Dates

While I have the calendar out, I look for special dates that will affect the nursery. These might be weeks when we cancel Sunday night church, or when we don’t offer a nursery because of a church-wide dinner.

3. Remove Any Outgoing Volunteers

I keep a master copy of the church nursery schedule in my office. I use it to make notes when workers need to come off, change their service dates, or I have new volunteers to add. It helps to keep these notes in a central location by actually writing them on my copy of the schedule. I just delete these names at first and leave the spots as blanks until the next step.

4. Fill The Empty Spots

Then I find workers to serve in the blanks on my schedule. I should probably write more in depth about finding volunteers, but for now here are a few time saving tips. How do I get volunteers for church nursery?

  • Identify and recruit new nursery workers before you need them. While drafting the new schedule, I often think of potential volunteers to add to my recruiting list. Why not contact these people in before you’re in a pinch?
  • Use a church nursery job description or volunteer handbook to set clear expectations. Having clear communication up front helps you avoid nursery burnout.
  • When I can’t fill all the nursery spots I will just write “Volunteer Needed” and send it out anyway. This lets usually results in a wave of new workers. Seeing the specific need in the bulletin is much more powerful than sending out a generic appeal for help. In cases where I still don’t have workers, I call the on my substitute list.

5. Pray For The Volunteer List

Why not take 10 minutes to pray for the nursery roster while it’s top of mind? Pray that God will bless them for their service. Ask for protection for their health so they don’t call in sick. Mention each volunteer by name. Then expand your prayer to include the hours of ministry represented on the list. Ask God to call out new volunteers with a heart to love and serve the little ones. Don’t waste this opportunity for specific prayer.

6. Encourage The Workers

Send encouragement with the nursery schedule mailing. I always like to send notes of encouragement to the volunteers included in their nursery schedule. This can be a great way to remind them how important their ministry is to the church.

  • Send a handwritten thank you note. Just something simple to say, “I’m glad God has your in our church and I’ve prayed for you this morning. May God bless you.”
  • Send an encouraging article. You can find some that I’ve written at the bottom of this page under “related articles.”

Some More Time Saving Tips

  • Keep a list of volunteers on call. These can regular volunteers who are willing to take an occasional second shift, or others who can only work on occasion.
  • Send the schedule in several different formats. We put it in the church worship folder (Sunday bulletin) 2 weeks at a time, post it around the church, and I mail ever people their own copy of the 6-week schedule. Some churches like to do reminder calls, but this is overkill in most small churches. If your congregation is tech savvy, you can email the church nursery schedule as well.
  • Use a one-page format (or smaller) and alter paper colors each month. Most of our schedules end up on people’s refrigerators, so I try to keep it as fridge-friendly as possible.
  • Put your contact number on the schedule. This gives people easy access when they need to make a change to their nursery commitment.

What Do You Think?

If you’ve found this article helpful, please leave a comment below to let me know. You can also ask a follow up question or share your own thoughts. Some of the best tips on this website come from readers, so don’t be shy. Click here to leave a comment.


Comments

  1. Sharon says

    These resources are exactly what I was looking for they came at the perfect time. I am going to be recruiting nursery volunteers in the fall. Thanks for all your help.

  2. tina says

    Getting and keeping people to be servants in the nursery and children’s areas, and from what I have experienced is in ALOT of churches. I have tried bunches of these helpful ideas, but the best one is to pray for the workers and pray that more people who have a desire to love children will step forward.

  3. Sib says

    Great idea for 5th Sundays! My team likes to have a consistent Sunday scheduled each month and those 5th Sundays have been a real challenge to staff. I can’t wait to try this! Thanks for all you do. Your ministry is such a blessing!!!

  4. Rosemary says

    This list is quite helpful. I especially love the suggestion to write notes of encouragement/thank you notes to the faithful workers. Although I say thank you often, I believe everyone likes to get a card every now and again. I will certainly utilize this tip!

  5. Mitory Machuo says

    Thank you for this! Very help full to me. I was just started to rise up for nursery in church. I’ m getting there, God is helping me to find a way, here I am with all these guidance from you. Thank God for his mercy n glory.

  6. Sarah B says

    Thank you for this! This was so insightful and helpful. We have policy at our church that you must find your own sub (from the scheduled volunteers per semester). In the weekly email reminders (sent out 2 weeks in advance), the email states, “If you will be unable to serve on your assigned day, please email me the name of your sub.” That also puts the responsibility ont the individuals/ families. Thanks again!

  7. says

    Having their names in the bulletin each Sunday always cuts that out. Then we just replace those who don’t show more than once.

  8. Tammy says

    hi, thanks for posting this. I was wondering how you deal with people who dont show up for there post or “forget” that is an issue at our church and so our nursery/childrens ministry director is constantly haveing to babysit each week to make sure that people are where they need to be. Is this something that is just normal or is there a solutions??

  9. Jessica says

    Wow, this is so helpful! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am praying that God honor you and bless you for making this information available for free, again thank you!

  10. Christina says

    i’m new to making schedules and found this SO VERY helpful, especially dealing with 5th sundays. I’m going to try the 6 week rotation! if i can find a few more volunteers. thank you for the abundance of information.

  11. Romy says

    Cindy~

    We do background checks! It is not worth the risk! I also agree that serving with little children needs to be done on a more regular basis. Those little ones need to see a familiar face and it makes the parents feel better about leaving their little one.
    Serving shouldn’t be convient and easy. I believe the workers would be suprised how much they looked forward to seeing those little ones!

  12. says

    Great article!! This is probably the biggest challenge to any Nursery Director, and I think it has some very valuable tips. One thing I would add would be how we deal with 5th Sundays (a blessing in offerings, a frustration for staffing.) We tried “Take the 5th” theme on Sunday, encouraging people to just work 4 times a year. Then for the spots not filled, I told my team they would work 13 times a year, not 12. There are 4 months a year with 5 Sundays. The first month, our 1st Sunday crew works the fifth Sunday as well, the 2nd month, the 2nd Sunday crew works it… etc. Then, to help them look forward to it, TREAT THEM. On the fifth Sunday, I know most of the people are going above what they are compfortable with, so I bring muffins and fruit and such… instead of being a burden, they look forward to it!

  13. Leonie Hall says

    I am in the process of starting a Nursery. Our Church is small and it is a challenging process. Thanks for the information you provided. I find it very helpful and I will certainly be using some of the ideas you suggested. Be Blessed.
    Leonie.

  14. keritha providence says

    this information has been very helpful , seeing we about to restart our nursery which was out for some time workers seems to get tried of lack of commitment thank you for this blessing

  15. elizabeth goldie says

    that was a beautiful write up. this will actually help me concerning the nursery church in my parish. i should be able to appreciate the workers/volunteers to get a better service. kudos
    God bless you

  16. Darlene Williams says

    I really appreciate being able to go to a website and taking the ideas back to my church. I am an elementary school teacher and service provider at my church to children ages 2-6. Wow, this is a lot! I used your example of the Service Description to create one for my group of volunteers. It really helps to be able to use tips and ideas from other Christians. Thank you for sharing and may God bless you and yours!

  17. Melanie says

    Our church is using Nursery Nanny (http://nurserynanny.com) for our nursery scheduling.

    The auto-schedule feature is nice – takes a lot of the guess-work out of creating a good schedule from month to month. Volunteers get emailed about their assignments and can accept or decline from the email. If someone declines the website will send out another email looking for someone to fill in.

    Anyway, thought maybe someone else might find this useful – it’s saved me a lot of time!

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