When we think of the lead communicators at our church, we often think of the person on the platform in the adult service or the student pastor addressing the crew of high schoolers in the student center. But when was the last time the nursery came to mind when you think about your best communicators? Not recently, I would guess. Still, as a volunteer, your role of serving in the nursery of your church brings you the opportunity to speak to an audience who is just as intent on what you have to say: your babies!
Now, I’m not saying that your babies are waiting for you to explain the fall of man or the plan of salvation as presented through the book of Romans. But these little ones will hang on your every word if you position yourself so they can see and hear you well. Your “talk” time with these little ones in the nursery will help them feel more closely connected to you with each week that passes. Being that consistent voice that talks to them each time they are in your care brings them a sense of security and comfort which research has shown is so vital to this phase of development.
The tone you use with little ones is more important than the words you choose when you are talking to them. At a very early age, babies can sense approval, cheerfulness, and even stress. It’s more important that you make eye contact than it is that you say just the right thing. Being close counts. Speaking to the entire room will work for a lead pastor, but if your audience is under 8 months old, their eyesight isn’t quite developed enough for that. Hold them close, or sit them in a seat where they can see your face. Little ones are engaged more when you use an elevated pitch as you speak. Happy words with a smiling face can make a big difference. As it turns out, that sing-song voice and inflected tone that we sometimes default to when speaking to babies is exactly what these very little ones love to hear.
In the first year, as your little ones are in your care, you have a great opportunity to help them make some of their early words faith words. As you talk with your babies, use words like God, Bible, Jesus, Love and Church. As your little ones grow, they will associate these words with you and the love and care that they feel when they are with you. You may not be listed on the weekly bulletin as a speaker for the day, but you are sending a message that can be just as influential to the development of your audience.