Church nursery/sunday school

Joy - posted on 01/01/2012 ( 4 moms have responded )

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

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 Christian Mommies too.)

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Elfrieda - posted on 01/01/2012

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My son is 24 months old, and every time there is childcare I leave him there. But our church isn't that big, and it's mostly the parents cycling through and taking turns taking care of the babies, so if someone doesn't show up, we're out of luck!



He cries a bit when I leave, but I just make some time and hang out with him for a few minutes, find a toy that he really likes, introduce him to the childcare workers, and ask them to ignore him a little while we chat and he hides behind my leg or has a semi-tantrum on the floor. (he doesn't like people to get all in his face COOCHEECOOCHEECOO, he wants a bit of space to get used to them first, which is totally understandable)

It's important to me to say "bye". I'd rather he cry when I leave than sneak away. Usually I wait in the foyer (unseen by him) for the 2 minutes it takes for him to be consoled, and then I go in to the service.



When I get back, he's having a great time, so I go in again and encourage him to help clean up the toys, and say thankyou to all the workers, and then I let him run around with other kids in the main area a little while I chat with people and keep half an eye on him. I think it helps the transition if you just go slowly.



Or is it just that the church time conflicts with her nap schedule, which pretty much guarantees that she'll never be at her best until her schedule changes? Or maybe she's hungry. Some small snack before you head home might help put her in a better mood, and also will end the nursery time on a positive note. "Now it's time to say bye-bye! Come over to the bench and you can have some Cheerios, and then we'll put on your coat."



I'm not sure when is the best time to introduce kids to the idea of sitting still in church. I think it's around this age, right? I sometimes keep my son with me and have some quiet toys for him, but if he gets too disruptive I take him out. I'm trying to get it into his head that we sit (or wiggle) quietly in church so that everyone can concentrate, but I don't want to expect too much, too soon. I also don't want him to be a brat.



I guess my suggestions would be to warn her what is going to happen ahead of time. (not too far ahead... tell her in the car that she'll be going to the nursery (or that she can sit with you until it's too hard for her to sit still and be quiet, and then she'll go to the nursery), and then when you're ready to leave also give her a few minutes notice.

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Joy - posted on 01/08/2012

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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.

Joy - posted on 01/02/2012

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The way the room's designed there isn't a place I can watch unobserved by her (unless she's engaged in an activity that keeps her attention away from the door/window.) The idea of a snack after church is a good one. Its about a half hour drive from church to home -and the last service (when my adult Bible study is) does go over the time she normally takes her nap.

I usually leave her for 2 services -the first one is several hours before her nap so it is separation anxiety more than needing a nap. She's usually good for daycare during the week when I leave because she knows the workers & children are always the same. At church there's a rotation between services & the kids aren't necessarily the same ones all the time. I think at church there's also more children per adult (daycare has a 2:1 ratio, not sure what the church's is.)

As for sitting still in church - our church has a 'children's church' that starts at age 3 to get the children used to singing and listening to the sermon while getting 'the wiggles' out. From what I understand (since I don't do a lot with it yet) it teaches them appropriate behavior per age level as they get older -and the older kids (10th grade+) lead some of those. From the times I have taken her to church & given her toys she can play with she ends up running up and down the aisles and yelling during sermons.

I do warn her ahead of time what we're doing. And there's a snack of donuts/juice before we go so that helps.

Nikki - posted on 01/02/2012

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Completely normal separation anxiety, all part of toddler development :) It's hard on us as parents but the one positive is that you can tell she enjoys it there because she doesn't want to go home!

Next time wait outside for 5 minutes and sneak a look at her without her seeing you. I am sure she will have settled fine and you will feel much better.

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