19 answers

Help She Wont Sit Still!!!!

So I know that this is normal for a child especialy at her age but I need help at possibly helping keep my 18 month old daughter entertained at church. We go to a small church that doesn't have a nursery. We sit in front because my dad plays in the church band and is always up and down so its easier to sit in the front. Well my daughter runs around and gets into everything and I am always up trying to get her to sit still. I take her lots of toys and juice and snacks and none of it seems to work. Our preacher will bend down and play with her for a minute while she is walking around but I feel that this is a distraction for everyone. If I hold her and keep her from getting up and walking around she throws a fit. I am exaughsted. I don't get to enjoy the sermon but I don't want to stop going to this church because I love it and the people there. I need help. If anyone has any advice please help! ..... I had an answer about getting a babysitter but that is out of the question. None of my family has time to watch her. I never have time for myself and I want to go to church but there is no way to have someone keep her for me.

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Ok I have had a few answers about getting a sitter and there is no way I can get one. Noone is available to watch her. I am also a single mom so a hubby taking her outside is out of the question. I dont have alot of things that I can do. Thats why I wanted advise on how to keep her happy during the sermon.

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Yeah, I haven't heard a sermon since I became a mother 3.5 years ago. I don't want to disrupt those who are trying to worship so I take my kids out.

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She won't. Very very few children her age will. I would strongly second Peg's suggestion of starting a nursery group within your church.

In some very small communities where there are only 2 or 3 families with young children I've even seen the service split in half, with parents trading off who's watching the children for the first half or second half. Because, you're right, without a "lump-baby" (what my psych prof called those sunny disposition children who are content to just sit and have the world come to them... instead of the curious/ active/ inquistive "I'm going to go insane" children), you will NOT get much or anything out of the service. So even 1/2 a service would be better than none... yes?

I'd talk with your pastor/ father/ priest/ deacon/ etc about setting one up.

5 moms found this helpful

Years ago our church was small and didn't have a children's program. Parents who wanted one started one, and it's been going strong ever since. Unfortunately, the program is usually run by parents trading off on 3-month periods, because most non-parents are not comfortable knowing how to control and accommodate children's needs. But at least the parents get several months each year to sit quietly during the worship service.

It is asking a lot for a young child to stay quiet for an hour. Many 4-year-olds barely manage, and die of boredom if required to do so. Not exactly the experience you want kids to take away from spiritual education.

5 moms found this helpful

I agree, may be time to suggest a child care program.You could lead it and get it started.

It is not fair to expect that young of a child to be seated for really length of time. Her attention span is about 1 minute. It is also not fair to parishioners who may be attending to find some peace. I am sure they are being kind, but for some people it can be quite stressful.

Maybe a babysitter at home every other week?

4 moms found this helpful

I was afraid my daughter was disruptive, and I'm sure she actually was, but one day a lady who looked vaguely familiar came up to me in the grocery store and asked me if I wasn't the lady from church with the husband and little girl. She said she always shook her head when we took our daughter outside and she wanted to tell us not to worry when our baby was making noise, because "that baby's just praying!" I'm sure in a church without a nursery, people are used to active children, and they all understand that it is a phase that will pass. If instead they're having unkind thoughts about your child, perhaps they will be moved to help start a nursery.

3 moms found this helpful

Oh my, girl I feel you!! And honestly a child 18 months old has about 1.5 minute attention span, not a lot you can do about it either, your child is a normal, inquisitive toddler and sitting for 1+ hrs is just not in their make-up. I went to a small church that I still love dearly when my first was born. We made if for about 2 yrs but ultimately it didn't work out bc there just wasn't anything for the kiddos. What I suggest is having an open discussion with the Pastor about seeing if some of the other members of the church will take turns watching your, and any other child that might show up or be born;) If there is no other place for the kids to go, just having people rotate as the assigned person will work fine. You just need someone who isn't trying to hear the sermon to play with your child and keep her interested in something other than running everywhere. If she has the full attention of someone, I think that although she will still make noise, she will be less disruptive. If there is another room, then whoever is assigned can just go with your and any other children and play there. Even if only one or two volunteer and you also take a turn, that would mean that only every third week you would not really get to participate. If it is a small church others probably realize that this need has risen up and if the Pastor just puts it out there in a positive way that the youngest member of the church needs some special care, I think it will go just fine. I am guessing that you can handle her during praise and worship because she can run and dance, so you are only really asking for help for the sermon time. She is a member of the church too and has needs, the church is a family and should be happy to help out their tiniest member;) Hopefully more kids will come and the church will grow and have a full fledge kids program but until that time a simple co-op of people helping to care for the young ones should work.:)

3 moms found this helpful

You may need to step out and find another room for her to play in. You may not hear the sermons each week but you'll still get the fellowship. Maybe you can sit in the back during worship or part of the sermon, but don't worry, this too shall pass very quickly. =)

2 moms found this helpful

Even though you want to sit with your Dad, I think it would help all your sanity if you sat at the back and gave her some space to be able to get up and move around a little. Going to church is like going to the movies for little ones. It is too long to expect them to behave like an adult.

My expierence with small churches is the children are a blessing to the adults. They usually dont mind the distractions, but instead are happy the children are being raised by parents that care enough to bring them to church.

Does your church have a magnification system for the hard of hearing? If so, wear the system and take your daughter into the foyer and let her play while you listen to the sermon.

Is your child the only little one in the church? If not maybe it is time to consider a nursery service. You could even organize it, have a rotation where the moms partcipating take one sunday with the children in a Sunday School room so the others can enjoy the service.

You may not be as alone as you think.

Best of luck

2 moms found this helpful

Kids that age, do.not.have long attentions spans, nor do they have impulse-control developed yet... so they cannot sit still. Nor at-will. It is developmental. Not a reflection on yourself as a parent or her as a child.
Kids, do that. Especially when real young like that.
Also, it may just be too overly stimulating for her... and all the people around, the noise, and what not. This alone, can make a kid/young toddler... just NOT be able to sit quietly.

Maybe just get a babysitter for that time?

The expectations of her, has to be age appropriate. And yes, when frustrated, a baby/young toddler will throw a fit. A child this young does not even have 'emotions' fully developed yet, either. Nor social skills. Nor manners. Nor the ability to know how to manage... their frustrations. They don't have coping skills, automatically, at this age.

Or, your Husband, will need to take her outside.... when she can no longer sit there, quietly. That is what many parents do.

Kids this age, cannot even sit in a restaurant, still or quietly, at this age.

Or, maybe just you go to Church.... and Hubby/your girl, stay home? So you can enjoy the sermon....

Or, if your church has bible study groups... attend that, when you can without your girl. Just 'your' thing and Mommy time to do.
Or, if your Church sells the Preacher's sermons on tape, which is what some Churches do, then listen to it that way.

But ultimately, your girl is normal.
They cannot sit still nor quietly at this age... and not for awhile.

all the best,
Susan

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