What I would like to do is share my experience on this subject, for what it's worth.... I guess just another opinion : ) I also would like to defend those parents that do chose to send their children to these ministries......yes ministries, that's what they are. I have used/needed to use them. This is my story:
When I began to attend church on a regular basis I had 4 small children ~ ages 7-to a baby. I had several older & more mature Christians as well as some family members that encouraged me to keep my children with me in church. They said the children needed to hear what I was hearing, learn what I was learning, sings hymns to the Lord that I was singing. We needed to be together. I trusted their wisdom. In all honesty, I was never big on putting my children in nursery because they didn't like it, they would just cry and get upset and wanted to be with mommy. So I didn't put them in there. I chose to keep them with me after listening to others advice/encouragement on the subject.
My 3 older children all did well in church, were never difficult, but the baby on the other hand was not, especially the older he got. It was okay for awhile though because I had family there to help (my husband did not attend church with me at this time) . If I needed to step out with the baby they were there to help by supervising the other children. It all worked out quite well until...........................these family members found a new church to go to. I didn't go with them to the new church for a few reasons , one being that my husband didn't want me to. He didn't go to church with me but didn't mind me going , so I decided to just stay put. So there I was every Sunday/Wed. sitting in the pews with 4 little ones. The littlest a toddler by this time became more & more difficult and disruptive during church. I would have to walk out with him often and was leaving my 3 other children sitting in the pews by themselves. I wouldn't take them all out with me everytime the little one would get rowdy, could you imagine the disruptiveness that would cause : )My toddler wouldn't go in the nursery, he would get so upset.
One time I put him in there and when one of the nursery workers had turned her back for a second to help another child he had opened the door and went running down the hall (sreaming) to the sanctuary. She caught him just as he opened the door to the sanctuary. So I'm sure you could see my dilema. Sit out in the hallway with my little one while my 3 older children sat in the church service by themselves, unsupervised. I became more & more discouraged and frustrated....leaving church in tears because I couldn't handle the situation myself & I wasn't hearing the service. Discouraged.....I gave up and stopped going to church. I wasn't hearing the word and losing out on the benefit of the encouragemnet it brought to my heart. What good was I to my kids if I wasn't hearing the word?
I knew the answer to this problem was not to stop going to the church, so I did what I had to.... I decided to put my children in childrens' church. The good thing was that my church ministered to me with a Christian love & allowed my toddler to go into childrens' church with my older kids even though they usually left the younger kids in the nursery. He was very content to be with his siblings & behaved very well because the class was more on his level.
Every family has a different situation or circumstances and it's not "a one size fits all " solution or choice . It doesn't make you less Godly or less loved by God or less of a parent if your children go to nursery/children's church. If you find yourself in a similar situation be encouraged and don't give up : )