Sunday, January 13, 2008

Nursery Time

Picture this, you and a two year old are placed in a small, bare, carpeted room for two hours. You do not really know this child. The child has NO idea who you are. Can you handle it? Sure. No worries, right? How about you and 2 two year olds? 3 two year olds ? 5? 7? 9? 12?

Are you screaming for MERCY! yet?  Welcome to Nursery.  

I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I came to my current ward 3 years ago and I've been in nursery 2 out of those 3 years. Which is pretty standard if I had been born 3 years ago, but I am twenty four.  

The first time I got called to nursery was the second week in the ward. I was newly married and my husband and I were asked to meet with the second counselor before church. I  was thinking I will happily accept any calling but nursery, please not nursery, anything but nursery. So of course, the second counselor asked "Would you be willing to serve in the nursery Sister M?" and I said, "Of course."  

I promptly cried the whole way through sacrament. That is how much I did NOT want to be in nursery. Then I went to nursery and I realized I fit in wonderfully. I didn't want to be there, the kids weren't so sure about coming either. I could really use a snack -I get grumpy without one - the kids felt the same.  I get antsy if I have to sit to long and I hate long boring meetings, the kids felt the same. 

I also had the great fortune of going into one of the most beautifully run nurseries ever to grace the planet.  The kids laughed, danced, and played happily. No one cried. No one screamed for their parents. The kids happily participated in a gospel centered lesson.  They sang gospel songs. They loved it and I grew to love it too.  

But running a nursery is still TOUGH work. I am a college graduate that works in Educational publishing and I still spend hours racking my brains for ideas and activities. Two year olds have about a 5-10 minute attention span so every Sunday I try to prepare about 12 different activities.  AND it's called "Terrible Twos" for a reason. 

Nursery can also be a very isolating.  It's hard to come up with those ideas and stay motivated. That's why I wanted to start this blog, to give nursery, one of the most overlooked places in the church, a forum.  

So Nursery Leaders Unite! Or if you aren't in nursery but have any ideas for activities or advice at all, I WELCOME your contributions. 


Amber M said...

You go girl. I think Nursery (and also Sunbeam) leaders need a chance to communicate. They tend to feel isolated from the rest of the ward and are often not sure how to relate to those tiny kids.

I, for my part, know that even though some people have a "magic touch" with young kids, it isn't beyond the realm of all of us, if we just care to learn how to be effective. I know I didn't have the talent when I started, but as I've spend time throughout my twenties in various nursery classes, I've cared enough to learn the skills to run a great nursery -- and now people act like I have that "magic touch".

And I'm not afraid of little kids anymore. They actually like me, and I really have learned to love them. People don't give two-year-olds enough credit. They really aren't babies, they are wonderfully able to think and do, if you just listen and respond to their words and needs.

valerie61 said...

I haven't been in the nursery, but yesterday in Relief Society the new nursery leader came in to explain a new program that I think is great. It's called "Nursery Grandma". Every 3rd Sunday a volunteer "grandma" comes in and reads or shares her favorite story with the kids and brings a store bought treat that goes along with the story. She had pre-printed postcards with the Nursery Grandma info on it, and each one had one date on it...for each 3rd Sunday and a magnet on the back. The volunteer signed up on a separate sheet next to the date she picked with her phone number and took the corresponding post card to hang on her fridge as a reminder. She also mentioned that she divided the nursery because there are so many kids, and the grandma presents her story once for each group.
Best of luck!

Livin' On Love with the Roberts said...

WOW! I LOVE your blog! I too am 24 and in nursery and you have SO many great ideas!!! I have so many questions for you! Do you want to trade some nursery talk?
My e-mail is
I would love to hear from you and swap ideas!!

Canamerican said...

Again, this is an amazing labor of love! You have taken something a little scary at first and made it beautiful and full of SO many ideas! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I will be dropping by often to get more ideas.