29 answers

Adult Church Service for 6 Year Old

Our church is going to limit nursery care to children 5 and under during adult church service. I am concerned that some of the topics that are brought up in the adult sermon would be disturbing to my 6 year old son. At what age is a child mature enough to handle adult sermons?

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Could you suggest having a children's church service at the same time. I've visited several churches and they've all had either child care or a children's church for school age kids. Often the kids are in the main sanctuary for the singing but leave before the sermon.

I understand wanting to limit the age in the nursery. However, they could make a divide in age without sending the kids into the main sanctuary.

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I won't let my 9 year old at "Big Church" because our pastor does talk about marriage/sex/etc sometimes and while she knows about sex, I think her time is best spent learning kid stuff. If your church isn't going to allow the kids anywhere else, I'd be sure that the messages that your son hears are going to be age appropriate.
And, I never learned much at adult service until I was 12-13. It was just boring until then.

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We always take our children with us and have never had any issues. I feel that making your children be quite for an hour is good for them. Ours even pick things up every now and then.

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I wouldn't think he would pay too much attention unless your pastor is a real dramatic yeller. I would allow him to read, maybe a children's bible story book or something so that he would be even less inclined to pay attention.

I"m in the minority in my church but i think kids should stay through the service and learn the routine of it, not necessarily to hear the sermons, but to learn how to act. at that age they should be able to sit for 20 minutes.

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I grew up in adult church listening to sermons and the ministers knew kids were there and preached appropriately. I had no problems and I actually grew more in that enviroment versus the children only environment these days where most of what they hear are "elementary" stuff or entertainment and cookies. You will get a chance to teach your son how to behave during services as well. All the best.

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My two older children are 4 and 5 and they attend service with us.

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We always bring our children with us to church and we have never had any issues.

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Our church has always limited nursery care to children 6 months to the day they turn 4. I have never heard in topics brought up in the adult sermons that would be disturbing to my children of any age. We do occasionally have special services where the men and women and children are all separated. This is when we would have more specific topics that might not be a good idea for children to hear. We also have marriage retreats for couples that the children are not welcome for couple topics. I sure your pastor will think about the children being present before bringing up a disturbing topic.

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I agree with most of the posts, so I won't repeat what they've said. I'll only add that even if there are what you believe is disturbing or inappropriate for your son, at least he's hearing about it in a controlled environment -- any questions he may have would be easily addressed by you, since you were there.

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Philosophically, I believe that my children belong in church with me; if I "reward" them by letting them play with their friends and new toys in what is basically a playgroup, how am I EVER going to teach them to sit through church? That said, we have also definitely used the nursery, particularly when we are teaching Sunday School or on the rare Sunday when we just can't deal with keeping our kids appropriately occupied. I think churches should at least recognize that there are children worshiping, particularly if they limit the nursery. I know we once showed up to the early service (which at our church is almost exclusively elderly folks) and our pastor freaked out a little; she had to alter the sermon because she talked about a man who had committed suicide, and instead of using blunt terms, for our children's sake, she used euphemisms that would disguise what she was talking about. Anyway--my point is simply that a good sermon is geared toward its audience, and a good minister should be aware of NOT turning people away from his/her congregation. If you are concerned about specific topics, I would sit down with the leader and say, "Our nursery policy says my children should be in church with me, but I'm concerned about my son's reaction when you speak about (blank)." And see what he says! I agree, almost all of what I would *want* preached at my church is appropriate for my children, but perhaps you're dealing with a very sensitive child (my son is, and he does NOT tune things out...he sure doesn't pay attention, but he IS listening, and he catches all the stuff he shouldn't) who will hear even subtle things. Because our 6 year old is sensitive, we talk about a lot of sensitive things very honestly--death, bad people, sin and forgiveness, war, even basic sexuality, etc. I think a 6 year old can handle those things, as long as they are honest and open and talked about in a non-threatening way. We talk about those things at home, so if and when they are broached in church or school, he can handle what is thrown at him.

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Robbie Castleman's book "Parenting in the Pew" has some useful suggestions for helping children connect with 'grown up' church services http://www.amazon.com/Parenting-Pew-Guiding-Children-Wors...

Ok, I see you have many answers already and with out looking at them I will give you mine. I have not attended many churches that offered anything for my son to do after the age of 5- until recently and now he's 10. He has always sat beside me and never paid attention- to any of it. Our church has bags for the kids with a book and an actiivty coloring thing and crayons- things to keep them occupied. I sat in adult church alone as a child as my parents were in the choir- and although I listened, I didn't understand much of what was said- so it didn't matter anyway.

Well, I don't know what denomination you are, but I was raised Catholic, and we didn't have any nursery or children's services, everyone was always in the main service. It didn't disturb me any. But maybe you should ask your pastor his opinion, ask him ahead of time what the sermon is going to be about, or volunteer to start something like Children's church for the kids older then nursery age, but younger than 10 or so. My current church is the Congregeation Church, and thought we have children's church/sunday school for the portion of the service that includes the adult sermon, my kids don't always go to the basement for this, if they are being good, and sitting still, I think it is valuable to have them stay in the main service and learn how to behave, by example.

Good Luck!

Jessie

Wow, what kind of church do you go to? The sermons at my church are meant for everybody, and I can't think of any that would be disturbing to a six year old.

Anyway, maybe he isn't going to listen. My kids get bored during church and they are usually quietly reading or drawing through the sermon.

Yes...I agree with everyone else. Typically my church doesn't have any "disturbing" messages for children and my children have always come with us, but if there was something along those lines, I'd rather my child hear about it at church - where they are also being taught how to deal with it and have you there to help explain and instil your morals at the time. (As opposed to them hearing about it through their friends, on TV/internet, or wherever else their young impressionable minds pick things up).

What sort of things does your church talk about that children shouldn't hear? We're Catholic and we've never taken our 3 year old to the nursery, mostly because we feel that she should learn what church is really about, not just have an hour of playtime, and we've never found anything to be disturbing.

I guess I'm confused at what would be preached at church that would be unsuitable. Church is after all a family institution. My kids (5,3, and 1) have always attended church services with us. We usually bring some coloring books or magnetic books that they can do quietly in their seat. Even if something was mentioned I didn't think was age approriate I don't think they would really notice. They're not exactly listening to everything at this age anyway.

Our church limits nursery care to children 3 and under. My kids have been in church with us as much as possible. Now that they are older, they are used to sitting in church and behave well. I have never felt anything any of our pastors say in church would be disturbing to my children. If you feel the sermons are disturbing... maybe you should look into a different church.

My 5 yr old and two yr old both attend service with us. We are United Methodist, so I am not sure how that compares with your denomination, but I can tell you that most of the services is geared toward adults while a small part titled, "The Children's Message" relates the kids to God. Given the world we live in, I would be more concerned about how my children handle the other 167 hours of the week as compared to the one hour we spend in church in worship.

I havent read any of the previous answers but this is my rule of thumb...if they are old enough to go and sit in school they are old enough to sit in church. I have two girls ages 4 and 7 and they both have been sitting in church since they were very small...Occasionally going in to the nursery if they were acting out at times. I think its good for kids to sit and listen to the preacher and participate in worship service. Hope this helps!

My church does not have a nursery so my daughter has attended with us since the day she was born. She is now nearly 4 years old. We have had no problems.

Some things your child will just tune out because he doesn't understand or care. I would make sure you bring some quiet activities so he can draw quietly while you are worshipping. As far as the age, I think around 10 is where kids really get interested in their faith, have questions and are able to sit through a sermon comfortably without fidgiting.

M

Some churches have what they call Children's Church. You could ask if your church has any plans to start one. I don't think little kids get much out of morning worship, to be honest. A child centered version with singing and stories is so much easier for them to understand.

All my best,
D.

I teach Sunday school for preschoolers and take my 3 year old granddaughter with me. We sit in church since there is not someone down in the nursery and she does just fine. I bring things for her to do, colors and coloring books, teddy grahams and a sippy cup of water. Sometimes she talks during the service and I just remind her that it is the minister's turn to talk. Our minister told me once that there is 3 things they love to hear in church: 1. Amen from the parishiners, 2. Checks being ripped from the checkbooks and 3. Babies and Children talking. He was just pointing out that they love having the younger generation being in church and learning about God and that is what we are going for isn't it? As for as the "disturbing" things you could hear, I can't think of once a sermon made me worry about my granddaughter hearing. We are Methodist and everything is done in a positive, loving way.

I'm wondering the same thing as Kristen R. I think its odd that the topics of the sermons aren't in a sense.. family friendly I guess. We're Catholic and take our 1 1/2 year old to Mass with us weekly. I really haven't heard a topic yet that is unsuitable. I will say though, that is one of the things that Father is very good at at the church we attend. Its never fire and brimstone but rather thought provoking.

Do you have any other options that your son could participate in? Have you voiced your concerns that you're not completely sure that the sermons are appropriate for your son to hear. My opinion is that the information you're expressing here is also important for the church staff to know. Not that they're going to do an age appropriate sermon necessarily, but maybe it could be toned down so it isn't as harsh. Your son may have questions, sure, but hopefully if you voice your concerns then your son is less likely to be afraid or disturbed by what he hears.

The nursery phenomenon is new. Our parents and all older generations where in adult church from birth. Ask any of them if it was disturbing. I also wondered this as I read my daughter bible stories which often deal with death, fighting, and war. Then I realized, we baby our children way to much. i grew up on bible stories as did most Americans. Again, I think we over baby our children today.

I think that it is wonderful that your church is having children join with their parents for church. I know a lot of churches are moving this way since they are finding that not having children attend church with their parents is harmful to their faith development. At our church, even the youngest babies are encouraged to attend with their parents and it works well. For more information, you might want to check out this website: http://www.ncfic.org/
They have a new film coming out which covers this topic.

I am confused
I don't understand what it is that your child can't hear at church.
Are you upset beccause there is some particular topic that you have been privy to, or do you just not want to have your child with you in church.
If he is not ready to sit there and be accountable, what does he do at school, and what undo pressure do you put on his teachers.
If he can handle a hour sermon, what happens to an all day situation at school?

If there are things in church that make you uncomfy, maybe you need to re-evaluate your choice in ministers. Same religion, different church ;may be a solution.

Guess I have not had an experience that I culd not have my child in church.
If you have that expeerience....I really would look at it more in depth.

By the time I was 5 years old I was attending church service with my parents and never found anything disturbing. My daughter is 5 and attends services with us as well. I would never think of sending her to the nursery. By that age they should be listening (at least a little) during service. My daughter does color, etc. She does listen enough that she gets something out of it and will ask questions during service or on the way home. If there are things being discussed in your church that you feel your 5 year old shouldn't hear, perhaps you need to re-evaluate if that is the right church for your family.

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