Tonight in church I sent my four year old and two year old into the nursery. My almost six year old came into church with me.
We sang, and I held the hymnbook with him. I ran my finger under the words for the first verses, and he did it for the last (he didn’t sing, but he was reading). Several times I explained something that happened or was said.
I have long known that having young children close in age all in the church service is stressful. I am easily distracted, and even when they’re good I’m not paying attention to the service like I should be. Tonight I observed that having the two younger girls in the nursery gives me another benefit. It allows me to spend my time helping the one child who is getting something out of the service. When they’re in the service I tend to ignore David (because he’s quiet usually) and keep my attention on the girls. The trouble is, he can’t follow the hymns on his own, and he doesn’t always play attention. He sometimes has questions that he won’t ask if his sister is between us.
It won’t be long before David doesn’t need the scrutiny. By the time the girls are ready to profit most from the service, I’ll be able to focus on them. For now, the nursery is my friend.
Diane Heeney says
I am with you, sis. I have been guilt-tripped in the past by other parents and even pastors regarding the sanctity of “keeping the family together” during services. I, like you, am easily distracted…which translates into leaving church w/o being fed. I love the nursery. I love the ladies who are willing to minister there. My gratitude for having this resource helps me to have a positive attitude when it is “my turn” to serve there. Church nurseries are the next best thing to Magic Erasers. 🙂
I wish more churches would have nurseries for preschoolers. At ours, they head to the service when they turn three. My three-year-old is not yet ready to benefit from the service. It ends up being a detriment to both of us, I feel.
Don’t lose heart, Nicole. I don’t think in most cases that sitting through church is harmful for youngsters. It can actually be good for them to struggle to learn to sit still and be quiet, even though it can be nerve wracking for parents. One day she’ll surprise you that she actually heard something that was said. (I’m preaching to myself here, too!)