Church nursery/sunday school

Joy - posted on 01/01/2012 ( 9 moms have responded )




Does anyone have problems leaving their little ones at the church nursery/sunday school? -and then returning home? If so any suggestions?

First, I should mention I try to use positive discipline as much as possible and don't like to use CIO methods. So I would prefer advice along those lines if possible.

My daughter's 2 -almost 2 1/2 years old. My church is a large church & has a room designed for the younger two year olds and another one for the older two year olds that are a step up from the nursery but not quite at the level of Sunday School. Every Sunday when we go to church my daughter wants to go to 'Mommy's church' instead of the two-year-olds.

I tried that a few weeks this last December. She loves the singing and likes to dance to the music (which is fine with me,) but when we get to the sermon she starts running up and down the aisles and being generally disruptive despite what I tell her to do. So I end up picking her up and taking her to the 2 year old nursery/sunday school anyway and I miss the sermon (which I can catch online later.)

Then when I leave her at the sunday school/nursery she has a tantrum and I have to leave to her crying - and I hate CIO, but the volunteers say she settles down a few minutes after I leave. Today I skipped 'Mommy's church,' but there was still a tantrum. Then when I pick her up she doesn't want to leave the church and we have another tantrum on the way to the car!

Any suggestions?

(I'm cross posting to Positive Behavior Strategies too.)


[deleted account]

I work in our church nursery. There are two of in there and we call this the "Lets make Mommy and Daddy feel bad time." The kids will cry and as soon as you leave theres nothing. Try talking to the nursery workers about things you do at home to calm her when she is upset. If you give her a drink or a certain toy. It might even be she likes to put things together and they can help work at calming her. If you know you have done the best to share what tools you use it might help you deal with hearing her cry for a min.

We always remind the child that Mommies and/or Daddies never go away (depends on who dropped them off since we don't always know family background) and will be back in a few minutes. After a few weeks of being reminded then the child might fuss at the beginning but calming is easier.

Summer - posted on 01/04/2012




I just wanted to say that having a child that is really attached is a GOOD thing. My oldest son, now 3 1/2, would not be left in the nursery. He just never stopped crying, and when we returned would cling to me for hours, I was really worried we would never get to sit thru a service again. (we pretty much only leave him with grandparents or family so being left in a roomful of strangers just didn't work!) We just kind of relaxed about it, and figured he'd go when ready. We stopped attending as regularly and when we did brought lots of Quiet toys and took turns walking around with him outside. It was lame sometimes but all of a sudden he loved church and we recently went again and I talked to him about going to play with the toys and then mommy would come get him, and he just waltzed right in there like he had been doing it all his life. I think respecting his experience and letting him do it when he was ready was the right answer.

Children SHOULD feel anxiety when left by their parents, it's hard wired into them. Around 3 1/2, they can grasp the fact that your not leaving them forever. If she really stops crying right after you leave and is fine, I think that's great, but I also don't see any harm in waiting a year of two either.

Susan - posted on 01/02/2012




We've been taking my daughter to the nursery since she was four months old (she's now almost 3.5 years). There have been many times that she doesn't want to go and cries and cries as we leave. Usually by the time we got to the end of the hallway, we could hear her stop crying. The teachers said she was fine and she seemed happy when we returned to pick her up. It's just that initial separation that makes them upset. Once they learn it's a short time and it's fun and you're coming back, they usually don't mind staying. Personally I would just keep taking her and making her stay. Like Carla said, she knows if she cries, she'll get her way so you have to stay firm. Yes, it can be heartbreaking when your child cries when you leave, but you said the teachers said she was fine so it's probably worse on you than her. And if she cries when she has to leave, it means she likes it there. Just stay strong and good luck.

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Joy - posted on 01/08/2012




Update: She cried when I left her this Sunday again, but leaving was 'easier.' I didn't rush her to go to the car, but mentioned a few times that I had snacks waiting for her at the car. I let her meander through the older kids' classrooms, but there wasn't a tantrum getting her into the car. I think I just have to be patient and let her mature at her own pace instead of rushing it. -a lesson I am repeatedly learning with this one (who is my first one.) Thank you, everyone who helped.

Angela - posted on 01/03/2012




Smaller Church communities don't have these nurseries or suitable provision for very young children. Your daughter is very lucky. My own church has a Junior Church/Sunday school for kids aged 3½ to about 15. It's a small Church and sometimes there might be only 8 kids in the Sunday School.

Linda - posted on 01/03/2012




2 is difficult no matter what. My children sometimes cried in the beginning, but they also stopped. I think you should pick a routine and then stick to it so she knows what to expect on Sunday morning. Is there a reason why she can't come to church with you for the singing, and then you could drop her off before the sermon and come back to your service? I know a lot of moms who have done that. If not, then I would just bring her to the same room every Sunday...she'll eventually get used to it.

Joy - posted on 01/02/2012




Thank you Anne & Carla. My church is really big. We just moved to a new location in September to accommodate everyone -and we're still growing. (Big enough that there's a patrol car out at the church entrance & we have to have volunteers directing parking.) So talking to the pastors about having the little ones leave after the singing won't work.

What we do have is a children's church from ages 3+ that mimics the adult church but there's more singing & physical activity to get out the wiggles. At that age the Sunday school classes start becoming more like the adult Bible studies we have too. 2 year olds have a setting that is not quite a nursery & not quite a Sunday school.

We can bring little ones to the worship service, but its up to the parents' discretion & supervision. As I said, I have to remove her after the singing because she becomes too disruptive (even if I bring books & toys.) So when I take her to the nursery/Sunday School their usually in the middle of things -and I miss the service. Or if its one of the Sundays when I'm teaching (I sub-teach for the 1st - 5th grades) she can't join me anyway. She'd also find my adult Bible study a little boring (though I've warned them that she may show up there one Sunday instead of her class.)

Carla - posted on 01/02/2012




These are the times that tear a Mom's heart out, aren't they? But you have said that she settles down a few minutes after you leave. The little darlings have already found out that if they cry up a storm, they can manipulate the situation. She throws a tantrum when you take her to her class, she throws a tantrum when you leave church.

I like to see the little ones in the worship service. Maybe talk to your pastor and see if the children can be in service until song service is over, then give the mothers/fathers a few minutes to get the kids to their classes, or have the teachers gather the children and take them to their classroom. Children HAVE to be taught how to act in a church setting. If you give it to them little by little, it won't be such a struggle, and maybe if she's allowed to participate in the song service, there won't be so much drama. Worth a shot.

God bless, honey

Anne - posted on 01/02/2012




Honey this is just a "normal" part of being 2. One thing I would do with our daughters when they were that age was to talk about how much fun she was going to have in "HER" Sunday School Class. Yes at 2 all most 2 and a half her class is not the same as say a 3rd grader in Children's church but I am sure you understand what I am saying. If she has a problem separating from you maybe a small item of yours that she could put in her pocket to have when she needed it would help. ANother thing I would do with our daughters was to give them several Kisses that I "put in their pocket" that they could get out of their pocket and put on their cheek when they felt sad. I will be Praying for you and your daughter.

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