Does Your Church Nursery Make a Good First Impression?

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Your church nursery can have a bigger impact on church growth than you realize.  When young families visit your church usually the first place they stop is at the nursery.    A visitor’s first impression of your church may be what they observe in your nursery.  Your volunteers may be the first church members they meet.  A young family’s experience with the nursery may be a large contributor to their decision to stay at your church or to leave.  Of course we hope the nursery would not their only reason, but it could be of great influence.
Are you doing all you can to ensure your nursery department makes a great first impression?
Below is a quick self-evaluation checklist to reflect upon how well you are doing.
1. Approach with fresh eyes
Exit your building and reenter as if you were a visiting family.  Can they easily find where to take their children?  Are there signs posted to help them know where to go?  Once they find the nursery, does it look welcoming?  Is the registration desk organized and free of clutter?  Are the walls painted in warm and friendly color
2. Think about guest check-in
Does your child check-in system instill trust in a new family?  Do they have confidence the nursery department will be able to keep track of their child and know where they are at all times?  Are visitors confident you will be able to locate them if a problem arises and they are needed during the church service?
3. What do your volunteers communicate?
Do you remind your volunteers to come early and be in their rooms waiting for the children to arrive?  A visiting family would not be encouraged when they arrive at their child’s assigned room to find it empty of any children or adults.  Are you diligent to record how many children are in each room every week to ensure you maintain a manageable child to adult ratio?  Are your volunteers well trained so they are on the same page as to how they will properly care for the children?  Maybe now, at the start of a new calendar year, would be a good time to revisit your volunteer training program.
4. Consider safety and cleanliness
Are your rooms kept safe and clean?  Do you regularly and systematically check for broken toys?  Do you have a system for restocking the rooms with supplies such as snacks, tissues, wipes, cups, etc?  A suggestion for keeping the rooms clean would be to recruit a team of volunteers to deep clean the rooms once a month or quarter.  This can be done in a few hours on a Saturday.  The parents will be glad to see their children have a sparkling room to play in and your team of volunteers will enjoy a time of fellowship as they clean.
5. Walk through the check-out process
How do parents check-out their children at the conclusion of the church service?  Is there a way for your room volunteers to check that a certain adult is permitted to pick up the child?  Your system for checking-out is just as important as the system for checking in.
With the nursery it can be easy to fall into a rut and let things like routine cleaning and volunteer training slip, but this cannot be the case.  Children are precious in the sight of God and they are precious in the sight of their parents.  A well run, friendly, and clean nursery will be a welcome comfort to a family visiting your church for the first time and will be a blessing to your members and regular attendees, as well.

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