Infants and Toddlers at CTKS
Welcome to Christ the King Somerville, we are so glad to have you and your child be a part of our community. We firmly believe in God’s pursuit of our children’s hearts and we consider it an honor that you would allow us to join you on this life-long journey of teaching them about their rescuer. Whether your child is with you upstairs in the adult worship service or downstairs in the nursery, we hope to create an environment where parents and children can worship their creator. Below we have compiled some answers to some frequently asked questions.
I am new to this church and I have a baby, do you have a nursery for infants or do they stay in the service with their parents?
Great question. We do have a nursery downstairs for ages 0-3 years. You are welcome to sign them into the nursery and if your child needs anything during the service we will text you. Or, if you prefer, your child may remain in the service with you- we consider children to be such a gift to our community and love seeing their faces in the adult service as well.
I hear there is a nursery downstairs, what is that like?
Our nursery is for infants and toddler ages 0-3 years old and is a place where the littles play, wiggle, and learn about their creator is a safe and caring environment.
What will my child do in nursery?
The infants and toddlers are cared for by the nursery workers. They play with toys, sing songs, have a snack (cheerios), and engage in a short bible story time with a children’s bible and figurines. If you have an older child in one of the classrooms, your infant/toddler will be learning as closely as possible the same stories as the older children so that siblings can talk with their families about what they learned.
I would like to observe or join my child in the nursery before leaving them there, is this possible?
Yes, please. Leaving your child in a new place with new children can be destabilizing for you and for your child. You are welcome to just come and observe or to remain with your child downstairs to see how it feels before leaving them with us.
What age is best for leaving my child in the nursery?
Since we have a variety of developmental levels in one space, most parents prefer to bring their child to stay in the nursery when they are able to sit unsupported. This allows the children some level of stability around some of the toddlers who are beginning to learn to walk. However, if your family would benefit from coming before your child is able to sit independently, we would love to make that happen—we want your family to be able to worship in whatever way is best for you.
Who will be caring for my child in the nursery?
We have a combination of paid workers and trained church members who care for the children. All workers and volunteers have been background checked (CORI) and have gone through an orientation on our network child protective policies. The protective policies include safe nursery practices such as only a child’s parents being responsible for diapers and toileting toddlers as well as maintaining two-deep leadership with at least 2 adults always with the children. For our infants, we always keep a 3:1 ratio of children to staff and pull down extra workers as needed. We love having our paid workers for consistency with the littles and we love having our own CTKS members be a presence in the kids so early on. We hope to develop short and long term relationships between the children and the adults and we think that the nursery is a great, structured environment to start those relationships. We also have our upper elementary/middle school kids working as assistants in our nursery to help facilitate relationships across age groups in our kids and to give them the chance to serve the littlest in our community.
I am not ready to leave my child in the nursery yet, but they are very wiggly in the service, could I bring them to the nursery for a little bit to let them move around?
ABSOLUTELY. We enjoy having parents join us in the nursery for a little bit of time or for the whole service. Having infants is a gift to our church and we would love to serve your littles and you so you can best worship. Bring them down, play, and join us for as much or as little as you choose.
My baby needs to nurse/take a bottle, is there anywhere I can go to feed them?
You may feed them wherever you and the baby feel the most comfortable. You are welcome to feed them in the main sanctuary or in the nursery. If you are looking for a more private place, we have several options. Unfortunately, due to the design of the church and the fact that we are one of multiple churches that rent space from this building, we are unable to fully designate a space for this. While none of the following may be ideal, we have tried to create and identify places that are good options and list them below. We are sorry that we do not have a lovely, more designated space for parents of littles—we are hoping and praying for a larger church to meet this need. Meanwhile, we are using every nook we can. Options include:
· Pew in the main sanctuary
· Upstairs balcony- we are trying to set aside a space here for parents to use
· Folding chairs set up in the lobby
· Small kitchenette off the nursery-pull a chair in from the nursery
Where can I change a dirty diaper?
We have a changing pad set up on a cabinet in the nursery. It is stored in the nursery closet, if you do not see it out when you go downstairs, ask a nursery worker and they can get it for you.
If my child is having a particularly fussy day and I am having a hard time soothing them, is there a place we can go?
Having an infant or toddler at church for evening hours is really hard—it is dinnertime and bedtime for some of these littles and we are so grateful that you are here in spite of all the challenges. We would like you to be wherever is working best for you- children’s noises are a part of community life and we love a little noise. However, if you are looking for somewhere other than the main sanctuary, a good option for the first part of the service is to join your child in the nursery. Please feel free to use the nursery for its toys, its snacks, and its big open space. Once the sermon has started and the kids’ classrooms start in the basement, we try to limit crying in the nursery so that the older kids can hear their teachers. Therefore, once the sermon has started, the best place to be is the lobby of the church. The doors to the lobby are closed during the service to make it a bit more soundproof and there are speakers to this area so the parents can still hear the sermon while the doors are shut. Some parents have taken the littles outside for some fresh air on the front steps on warm spring, summer, fall days. We know that these options are not ideal and we will continue to hope and pray for a larger church building. Until then, please know your baby is very welcomed here--both in their joyful phases and in their less joyful ones. We are so thankful to have you and your child with us, we look forward to us all growing together.
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to Christine Stone, firstname.lastname@example.org . This is a dynamic process that we hope God will speak into and we would love to have your voice in it as we grow.