If you've never left your toddler in the care of others, you might find that it can be traumatic for both parent and child. But eventually, most parents opt for having their little ones play in the church nursery for at least a portion of the worship time. Here are some tips for making this separation easier:
- Ask about the church's policies regarding child-care workers before you leave your child in the nursery. Be sure the church does criminal background checks on nursery workers and teachers, and that at least one worker in each room has CPR and first-aid training.
- Arrive early so you can avoid the busiest drop-off time. This will give you a chance to meet the people caring for your child, look at the facilities, ask any questions, and explain any special care your child might need.
- When it's time to leave your child, a good care provider will help you out by taking your child, encouraging him to wave bye-bye, then distracting him with a toy or a group game. If you're not getting the help you need to leave, take a moment to introduce your child to a nursery worker and help the two of them get used to each other before you go.
Your know you're getting older when your teen tells you your church's "contemporary music" is lame. But before you dismiss your teen's concerns, keep in mind that music is one of the key ways teenagers express their emotions and the music they hear in church has a big impact on their ability to enter into worship. Here are some ways to help your teenager enjoy worship music.
Reminisce. Think back to when you were a teenager. You probably didn't like some of the music in your church, either. Encourage your child to be respectful, even if he doesn't like the music.
Give some history. Introduce your teenager to some of the pioneers of contemporary Christian music like Randy Stonehill, Larry Norman, and Keith Green. Even if he doesn't particularly care for their music, help tour teen listen for the ways these early musicians influenced the songs we sing in church today.
Listen with your heart. Talk about the role music plays in worship. Discuss not only how the lyrics affect us, but the mood of the music as well. Encourage your teenager to respectfully introduce the church music director to other, more current music that still reflects the mood of the worship service.
Brad Lewis, a member of the CPT Advisory Board, lives with his wife and two sons in Colorado Springs.
Copyright © 2003 by the author or Christianity Today/Christian Parenting Today magazine.
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