April 04, 2008,
M.C. asks from Bridgeport, CT on March 27, 2008
How to Help My Children Sit Quitely in Church.
I have 2 children Aaron my oldest is 4 years old and Alejandra is 2. I don't expect for them to be 100% silent nor sit for an entire hour and a half, but it's really hard to listen to the preaching when they are laying on floor, talking loud, crying, going under the bench, and taking things out of my diaper bag. I've tired bringing favorite activities, such as books, coloring books, favorite stuff animals, food etc. I've also started time out, but they come back and start all over. I need new Ideas, they will be much appreciated.
S.M. answers from New York on March 28, 2008
Hi there M. C. I am a grandmother of two and just had to respond to your plea for help. I don't know what church you attend but ours has a what is affectionately called the "cry room". There are speakers and large windows in the room so you still feel like part of the congregation. In lieu of that, do they have a child care room for little ones. If not, perhaps you could suggest same and maybe even help to get one started. Most churches now a days have some type of child care, just for the reasons you listed. Children of that age just can't be expected to sit still, be quiet, pay attention, etc. I realize some people are fortunate enough to have children who don't utter a peep in church (I've seen it maybe twice, ha ha), but for those of us who had or have normal little kids it can be frustrating. I took my grandchildren (4 and 13) to the cry room until they were old enough to realize what was going on or were nosy enough and wanted to see what was going on. And to this day we still always sit in the first 6 rows so the 4 year old can see what's going on. She loves the singing and the prayers. I am catholic so there is a lot of up and down, singing and praise to keep her occupied. I also know a couple who had 2 really "bad" little boys who took turns going to church while the other stayed home. Not the answer for everybody but it worked for them. Does you litte boy at 4 show any interest at all yet in church. Does your church have a Sunday School for them during church (in lieu of day care)?
I hope you find the solution. I know it's really hard to get something out of church for yourselves when you are constantly attending to little ones. And just remember they won't always be "little" and before you know it they will be in pre-school, kindergarden or CCD. Let me know if things get better or if you are successful in getting things started in your church. There are probably many many other parents in the same boat as you are.
Blessings to you and your family,
1 mom found this helpful
P.K. answers from New York on March 28, 2008
Every Sunday I see parents come in with toys and activities
to keep little ones entertained. I NEVER did that. They
learned at a very early age, this was a place where they
needed to behave. Not easy since they were all a year
apart. There were four of them. However, they did learn
that "the look from Dad" meant be still. In todays world,
children need to know that they cannot be be entertained
24/7. There is a time and a place for toys, coloring books,
and cars. Church is not one of them. Stay strong and they
will get it.
E.W. answers from New York on March 28, 2008
Hi M., we have a Kidz Club at our church for the kids (The Life Christian Church, West Orange NJ, ###-###-####) with lots of activities for them and also a Nursery for the babies so the parents can listen to the preaching, you should check it out if you are in our area. The kids are well taken care of and should they need you they will not hesitate to contact you, most of the time you cannot get them to leave at the end of their time there. I hope it works out for you.
H.P. answers from Rochester on March 28, 2008
M. ~ I see that you have many responses, so I will briefly share my experience. I have ALWAYS brought my children into church services EVERY week. When at my mother’s church I was asked to ‘send my child’ with the other children ~ as they do ‘child scripture lessons’ in another area removing all the children during the homily <when the priest talks>; I did so ONCE: Never again. ALSO, A very rude parishioners at a church told my child <almost age 2 at the time> to ‘shut up’ <YES, she actually said this during mass>: we no longer attend or support that church. Children are our future and the future of the church. Most parents are more annoyed and hear more noise than anyone else in the church. Children WILL make noise. You need to make sure they understand their ‘inside/quiet’ voice and when to use it. We now sit within the first three pews of the FRONT of church – NO Hiding in back – and we make sure the youngest can always see. She would rather sit quietly then have to walk all the way out of the church with everyone watching her get reprimanded for misbehaving. She watches all that is going on, who is helping the priest, where they go and what they do. It takes time – but it gets better!! <Usually, we still have issues with the older ones when they attend with us and they are over 18!!!> Good Luck, and God bless you for giving them a spiritual beginning.
S.B. answers from New York on March 28, 2008
Does your husband go to services with you? I have two ideas. First, seat the two of you between the children so that they don't interact with each other. They can play quietly with their toys and then a special lunch can be planned for them. You name the reward and/or consequence ahead of time. My second idea is what my parents did when I was growing up. Go to two separate services. If the 4 year old can handle Mass, then he goes with one of you while the 2 year old remains at home with the other parent. Then, swap. The second parent goes to service alone while the first parent watches both kids at home. With both of these suggestions, at least one parent needs to do a little double duty -- pay attention to the preaching and to the child. Ignoring the child for that long and expecting them to be quiet is not realistic, I think. Talk with them in a whisper for a few moments about what they are doing and to compliment them about being good for Mommy and Daddy. I'm rambling, but I hope this helps.
J.S. answers from Glens Falls on March 28, 2008
I have a 5 year old and a two year old that I take to church every Sunday, and not to mention the 8 and 10 year old. The best way to keep everyone quiet and entertained is to pack them each a little bag of quiet toys. For instance, for my 5 year old I bring a small box of crayons, a coloring book, a couple of his favorite reading books, a travel light bright, and a little bag of his favortie snack. For my two year old I pack a few of her favorite books, her little aquadoodle book, a babydoll and the bottle, and one of her favorite snacks (Goldfish Crackers work well and last awhile). My other two are old enough and like to pack their own little bag. Have your children help pack their bags so they are a little more involved and you know they will enjoy the things that were packed. Snacks are really helpful to have in the bags. I hope this helps.
L.H. answers from New York on March 28, 2008
Quiet time at home has revolutionized church time for me. My kids, ages 5 and 3, no longer nap, so we have quiet time. I put them in their rooms with books, coloring, or sticker books. The rule is they have to stay on their beds and be quiet until the timer rings. Once the timer rings, I sneak in a little treat to them (like a couple of Tic Tacs--something very small) if they followed the rules. Then we do it one more time.
I started with very small time intervals--10 minutes I think--and I increased the time by one minute every day. We are now up to 35 minute intervals, so they can now sit quietly and entertain themselves for an hour and 10 minutes easily. Incidentally, that's exactly how long they have to sit quietly at church. :)
A couple other thoughts. The more I bring to entertain at church, the more it turns into a three-ring circus. I now only bring one quiet activity (a book or coloring) and one small snack. I also try to make the quiet activity something that they don't have access to during the week so that they will be interested in it for longer.
Also, my kids do MUCH better if we sit up front where they can see. I have started using the "timer" in church, telling them to look at the clock, and when it gets to a certain number, we can take out the snack, or I might have a small treat that they can look forward to like that.
Good luck, and remember that it will get better and better the older they get.
K.W. answers from Glens Falls on March 28, 2008
I agree that bringing activities and snacks is a good idea. I did want to share something with you that one of the older women in my church shared with me one day while sitting in the nursery with my daughter. She said that when her children were young she often felt like she only came to church to go to the nursery until she realized that while she always felt like she was missing the service, she was really setting an example of discipline to her children. Every Sunday you go to church to worship. It wasn't about what any of them were getting out of it at that age, just that they were going and creating a pattern.
I sit in church with my 27 month old week after week watching other kids just a few months older sit calmly and never say a word. My child on the other hand can only make it 15 minutes or so before she simply needs to MOVE! She constantly talks to herself too. Perhaps allowing her to go to the nursery when she was younger was my downfall, or perhaps it's just her personality. She's been on the go and moving since the day she was born. We farm and the only times we ever sit still are during meals. The TV in our house is seldom on when she's awake (we catch the weather right before bed) and she doesn't have any interactive toys so we can't blame those things on her need to constantly move and have stimulation.
It does get better each week at churh. Talk to them ahead of time and explain what you expect (add little amounts of time each week). Reward them for their good behavior, but be careful not to bribe. A genuine smile, a hug, and a "Hey buddy you did a GREAT job today!" can go a LONG way!
D.Z. answers from Binghamton on March 27, 2008
I agree with Beths response. My children always go to "kids time" during church, where they get age appropriate Bible lessons and fun activities. I know that you may not have that option at your church, but would it be worth looking for a church that does so that you can actually get something out of the message, and your children would have a meaningful experience as well?
W.T. answers from New York on March 28, 2008
My name is W., and I'm a 31-year old pastor with an almost-3 year old. First -- thank goodness for you bringing your kids to church! It's so important for them to get the cadences of worship life into their hearts and minds as little ones. So many people say they'll wait until their kids are "ready" -- but for many families, that fabled time never arrives. Church is also the only place in society where kids see all generations interacting together.
THat said, our congregation is almost 20% kids, and I see families facing these challenges every week. Speaking for myself, I'd rather preach with noisy kids than have museum-silent church. I imagine most pastors feel the same way. Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them." This is important stuff!
A few suggestions... have 3 bags of Church-only toys (our Church has bags with finger puppets, clipboards that you can attach papers or kids' bulletins to color, seasonal stickers, etc.) I say 3 bags so you can rotate through and they remain special; and Church-only so that they maintain their appeal.
Also, many families automatically sit in back (the "bleacher seats") -- where it's hard to see the candles, flowers, choir, organ, and action. It's counter-intuitive to sit up front, but might hold their attention and give you opportunities to point out symbols and what the people are doing.
Teaching kids some of the responses is helpful -- the words to songs that are used often, or if you're in a liturgical tradition, you have lots of things that are spoken each week (the Lord be with you -- (kids motion with hands and say, "and also with you"). You can even teach them some sign language bits so they can "move" with the liturgy (like the first words of the Lord's prayer, or make the sign for Love or Jesus whenever they hear it). Or motions like making the sign of the cross (God be in my head/thinking, heart/feelings, and shoulders/strength/ doing). (Also, if the music is jazzy, you can have some shakin-eggs (buy them at a music store for $1.50 each) so the kids can contribute to the music. Collect them when the music ends.)
Another option is to bring something for them to draw or color as their "offering," which they put in the offering plate when adults put money in the plate. Talk to your pastor about whether there is a place these pictures could be posted, and let your kids know how God smiles when they make offerings of their time and talents. This could be a growing ministry for your congregation to value the gifts kids bring -- and the tellers will enjoy seeing the offerings over the weeks!
If their dad is involved, that helps -- let him know how important it is for kids to see that all the stars in their life find worship meaningful. If he isn't involved, hopefully he supports worshipful moments at home -- saying grace, night-time blessings, etc.) Every family has their own way of sharing faith.
Blessings to you and your kids. What you're doing makes a big difference -- giving your kids a community and hearing about God's inconditional love for them. It's Good News!
Peace and joy on your journey!
P.W. answers from New York on March 28, 2008
I agree with Patty K that children have to learn they can't play 24/7 and realize when they get "THE LOOK" from Dad especially and from Mom, you mean business. Instead of toys and food (church/temple/synagogue is not Gymboree or Chuck E Cheese)bring a notebook with writing instrument that 2 and 4 year olds can manipulate easily and tell them BEFORE you go to religious services that they are to listen to what is being taught and every time they hear a key word (for example God, Jesus or Moses or some scriptural character) or hear a scripture read they write a little check mark or some other symbol in their individual notebooks and whoever has the most check marks at the end of services gets to choose where you have lunch or what you eat for lunch or dinner that day. This will encourage them to pay attention as well as a little healthy competition. When my two girls were little (now 20 & 26), it was not easy, but my husband and I were resolved to raise them properly and they are to this day (not bragging)young women to be proud of who are still spiritually and religiously minded individuals on their own. So hang in there Mom. It is possible.
B.F. answers from Rochester on March 28, 2008
I used to let my children sit on the neel rest and use the pew as thier "table" so to speak. They could read a book, color or have a very quiet toy. If there was a problem our church had a crying room in the back. We could sit in there and see through the window, but it had a speaker system so if the kids were fussing we could still enjoy mass, but the other parishoners couldn't hear the kids. The boys didn't like being in there so they would make an extra effort to behave to sit out with everyone else. I also let them bring a small snack (cheerios mostly) and a sippy cup. They did stand up to sing with us and slowly but surely throught the years (around 6-7) the toys and books got put completly away. I won't lie some parishoners would scowl at the kids playing or coloring, my though is we are here worshiping as a family and managing our children so as not to interupt others.
I wonder for your older child if small inconspicouis earbuds and maybe an mp3 with some children's songs wouldn't be inappropriate. I'm not talking like watching a tv show on it or anything (although on some he could). You would have to decide what your comfort level with that is.
Also my boys ar 6 yrs apart so fortunately I wasn't trying to handle two at the same time. Good luck!!!
R.R. answers from Rochester on March 27, 2008
Being in an Amish community I know that it IS possible to teach your children to behave (not be perfectly quiet or still, but not driving you crazy either). I've also heard lots of stories from missionaries who say that other cultures have children who behave quite well at a young age for a longer time than that!
Well, my 3 yr old and 9 month old aren't there yet, but we are working on it and I can share what's helped us most so far...
By far, the best help has been to practice at home. My husband and I did several practice churches where we would sing a few songs together and then listen to a teaching on cd and help them practice sitting relatively still and trying to listen. It also helps to have a regular time each day of this... when possible. Then they are used to it and know what's expected.
I am also trying to get the children used to peace and quiet. In our hectic society we are so used to constant entertainment- children always playing, music or tv or computer on- how will our children ever learn to be patient and give their attention to something that's not "entertaining" when we never give them the example at home? I'm trying to implement small periods of time where we sit together in the living room with no tv or music on, and they play next to me while I knit and talk with them, and that helps them get used to not always being stimulated or excited by media. I realized, if they see me using every waking second to work around the house, do activities, and talk on the phone or listen to music, they will never learn to value a quiet time without brain clutter and busyness. I also have to make an aberration from their typical routine to make sure their nap and snack times are closer to service time so they are not cranky and hungry.
Lastly, I have had to make peace within myself by giving up my "right" to listen to service uninterrupted. I've made up my mindset that I will grow more spiritually by demonstrating patience and selflessness when I need to step out with a teething baby or to change a diaper and put the child's needs over my own preference to be undistracted, and that my children will grow more spiritually and in maturity by seeing the example of our behaviour in church. Being together as a family is important to us, and it's nice not to be separated as we worship. I find that even if I miss out on some of service, God makes it up to me in special moments of spiritual renewal and clarity throughout the week.
D.P. answers from New York on March 28, 2008
My church has a special "Children's Mass". They make it more interactive and invite the children to sit at the altar around the priest for a part of the service. It breaks the service up and gives the kids something to look forward too. Also, a priest once told me that he loved the sounds of the little ones in churce because he knows that they are the newest little members-that and that not everyone is sleeping. I try to remember it when by children are getting loud.
C.F. answers from New York on April 04, 2008
Take them to a church where they can be in sunday school, they are happier & you get to hear the message. C.
M.G. answers from New York on March 28, 2008
If your church has a sunday school room for children their age, you can first stay with them for the next two sundays or so until they get the hang of it. Then you can leave them with the Sunday school teachers/assistants who are very much willing to keep them busy during church service. mrv :)
V.C. answers from New York on March 28, 2008
Hi M.... Why don't you try brining some paper and penciles with you to church? A coloring book or two? They can sit on the kneeler and put the coloring book on the pew, it won't keep them quiet for the entire service but it will give you a little piece.. THats what I did for my kids until my oldest was 5, then he went to kindergarten in a Catholic school, so I required him at that point to fully participate in Sunday mass with no more doodling.
M.T. answers from New York on March 28, 2008
Hi M.. Although church/religious services are certainly important to many families, I think it's important to remember that these are very young children. Many churches and synagogues have a children's room, where parents and young children can see/her the services without disrupting other worshippers. With such young children, especially a 2 year old who is incapable of reason or much self control, do not expect behavior at church or anywhere else that you would not at home. Could your children sit relatively still and quietly at home for an hour and a half? If not, they aren't going to be able to pull this off in church either. If there's a children's room, I'd say hang out there and gradually decrease the amount of time you spend observing the service from there and increasing the amount that you spend in the main sanctuary.
J.W. answers from New York on March 27, 2008
as a former teacher and now a mom i can honestly say that asking children that young to be quiet for an hour and a half is just too long. it's not that they are being bad or not listening to you - it's that they are 2 and 4 and just not equipped to sit still that long. as other moms have mentioned - see if you can bring them to the children's room or have someone watch them in a dif't room where they can play and move. if you want to instill a positive relationship between church and your children - don't set them up for failure by having unrealistic expectations - set them up for success!! they'll feel good about themselves for being 'good', for having fun and look forward to going each week rather than fearing it or not liking it.
T.J. answers from Albany on March 28, 2008
Time and practice will eventually solve this problem...but what to do until then! When my daughter was younger we would sit in the back of church and she would bring one special toy of the week that she could play with in church and a sippy cup which worked OK for much of the service. There were some weeks she could tolerate most of it, with a walk in the middle, and other weeks that we left after the opening hymn. I started singing with the choir and she would alternate between coming to "sing" with me and staying home with daddy. She is now 4 and able to sit in church with a coloring book and toys for most of the service independently (I am still up with the choir). When the sermon hits I usually sit with her to give her comfort. I think that it helps that I sit her behind older children who are behaving so she can be like the big kids. Good luck!
S.M. answers from Buffalo on March 28, 2008
My husband and I are very active in our church and we have 2 children 8 & 5. I see people struggle with their children to get them to sit quietly ALL THE TIME. I get praised every service for how perfect my children sit every service, and then they ask how I do it. Honestly I don't have very many tricks. The most important thing that I can say is that it really is a long time for them to sit, getting frustrated and losing your patience with them only fuels the fire. However , it is very important for them to understand that they have no choice but to sit quietly and what I did if they didn't they would go home and sit quietly in time out, and they would repeat doing this every time they acted out in church. Eventually they got the point that I did not accept their misbehavior. Honestly I do have 2 amazingly well behaved boys. This is all it took for them. I honestly believe that if a child does not understand what is expected of them and the consequences they will face if they do not act accordingly, there will be no change in their behavior. It's also a respect issue. They need to understand and have respect for authority(even if it's just mom and dads). 2 & 4 are very young ages to acknowledge this. But it's a great age to begin learning it. You may just have to accept this may go on a little longer for the 2 year old, but the 4 year old should start responding sooner than you think. I hope I didn't seem to brash, and I hope you do find something that helps. I know first hand how difficult a situation like this is, you kinda feel like why bother even going to church if your gonna get nothing out of it. Hang in there, it will get better.
Q.F. answers from New York on March 28, 2008
i'm not sure about your church, but mine has a "quiet room" that's sound proof with speakers so we can hear everything that's going on out there, and no one can hear us in there. it's made specially for babies and "crazy" children (like mine that loves to run around, jump up and down, climb all over the benches and be as loud as possible). if your church has one of these rooms, i would strongly suggest using that as the time out room, or just going straight in there. we still get to participate in receiving communion and the donation trays (which is the only time that they can hear what's going on inside the room being that the door is opened. hope this helps, if there is no room like this, maybe suggest them making one (i hear that many churches now have these rooms.) good luck.
A.B. answers from New York on March 28, 2008
One word -- Leapster! My son started playing with the Leapster video game when he was 2 and 1/2. It can keep him quiet for 20-30 minutes. It comes with 3 educational and cute games for about $40 at Target. You can also buy many other story-based games, e.g. Dora, Nemo, Thomas, that teach kids coordination, writing, reading, numbers and other good stuff. I hardly ever let him play it at home; we use it for restaurants, church, traveling... all those times when we're desperate for the whirling dervish to set still quietly!
As for the appropriateness of using a video game during a meeting of worship, I see both sides of the argument. I hope you can pray over it and follow a path that offers you peace in your conscience and spirit.
M.F. answers from Syracuse on March 28, 2008
Bringing a page of stickers to place into a sticker book always seemed to do the trick for my children when they were younger. It seemed to hold their attention for a little longer period.
C.K. answers from New York on March 28, 2008
I am the mother of 3 boys- I know exactly what you mean about church! My advice is to keep going and know it will get better! My boys have been going since 2 weeks old and now the oldest is 11- sometimes he still doesnt want to sit still LOL. Anyway, try to attend the childrens mass if available so you feel less stressed about their noise. Most times, you hear them more than everyone else. I used to bring their favorite snack for church and that was always a hit. Try to keep the diaper bag as mimimalof supplies that are distracting and full of quiet things so if they do empty it; it is not loud. As far as hearing the preaching, I don't know what faith you are, but I try and read the readings sometimes before or after the mass ( they are listed in the bulletin) and then it is easier to follow what is being said. Other than that, just hang in there because it does get better each week and each year! God knows you are trying even if you can't hear a darn word being said! Oh.... I also found that the closer I sat to the front where the children could see the priest and see everything happening was a big help when they got to about 3 years ( when they can understand Jesus a bit more) I would whisper to look at Jesus or say he was watching and they would get awed by the big cross hanging! It was tough a few times being right up there, but sitting in the back was a nightmare for us- too many distractions for the kids! GOod Luck and God Bless :)
B.R. answers from New York on March 28, 2008
I had no problem with my todlres in church,i told them in advance what will happen and how to behave. My younger was a little restless so i picked her up and all was well. Also I had some toys or snacks to keep her busy. Tho she was bored, she was quiet and praised afterwards.
L.L. answers from Syracuse on March 28, 2008
My children are now lower elementary age, but have been sitting with us in church since they were infants. There were times I had to leave for discipline and then return to our pew. As for ways to help them "be quiet". I don;t know what your church service is like- at two I had a few bible books with flaps and stuffed toys that were only for church so they were played with only when the service was going on ( often I would be whispering the story, but this were calm and quiet so we/i and those around us could continue to participate.) Also i never brought food for church as I felt that wound them up and provide a time which the kids weren't worshiping, only looking for the food. With the 4 year old, he can begin to "read" the hymns, look for numbers in the bible-- activily participate when the adults are participating.During the sermon, my kids were encouraged to draw something from the sermon-- "taking notes like the grown ups", or they "read" from their children's bibles. When its prayer time, I would turn to my kids and restate the minister's statement and have the kids bring prayer requests-- not to the whole church but to me sitting in the pew. Again allowing them to participate as the adults do, but interpreting for them. I saw the time as being used yes for to worship but also as bringing my kids to worship and learn what it is all about so that in a few years they would see this activity a possitive and necessary , even fun act to worship our Lord!
At 4 and 2 I was busy whispering and encouraging the children, but now at 7 and 5 it is a very plesant service, the kids often still take notes, have questions and comments about the sermon, enjoy the hymns and the prayer time i hear them adding their prayers , responding with the rest of the congregation and often ask when we are going back ( like last week when we went more often than the usual)... although youngest's favorite activtiy is still checking things off in the builittin as they are finnished. Stick with it-- in this society most don't, but it is worth it!! Our services also run the hour to hour and a half-- kids can do it:-)
A.P. answers from New York on March 27, 2008
I would try having the kids sit quiet at home for a few minutes everyday. When they've mastered 10 mins move on to 15, and so forth until you have the hour and a half. It may take a little time, but if they are use to quiet time at home it should be a little easier transition to quiet time at church.
C.W. answers from Glens Falls on March 30, 2008
That is difficult! I am sorry your church does not have a place for the children to go. In my church we have a separate childrens program that they go to during the service so they learn at their level and don't need to sit through the adult sermon.
M.L. answers from New York on March 28, 2008
I have a four year old and an 11 month old who go to church with us. First:
Our church has a child-friendly service with more singing than the other service.
If I know my older son is going to be tightly wound that day, he goes to the nursery.
Periodically I go to church by myself, typically the early service, just so I get some alone time to just pray. My husband watches the little ones and gets them ready for the later church service which we all attend.
We have a sticker chart for my older son that has been heping with some of his rash behavior. On the sticker chart, one of the items is "Being quiet in quiet places." If he can successfully be quiet in the library, at church, or when daddy is on a conference call, then he can have a sticker. After 10 stickers, he can have an extra bed time story. After 15 stickers he can choose an extra video at the library and after 20 stickers, he can get a new small toy, like a matchbox car. Often it only takes a reminder that stickers are slipping away for him to settle down.
We have a special church box that is just for taking to church. It has a binder with paper to color and crayons in a pencil case that zips into the binder. It also has special small, quiet toys that he's only allowed to play with at church (no trucks allowed), and some books.
He is also old enough to want to follow along with the service, so he gets his own hymnal and prayer book and I tell him where we are on the page so he can pretend to follow along.
He understands the idea of taking turns, too, so sometimes I have to remind him that it's the reverend's turn to talk right now and our turn to listen. That often helps.
Snacktime usually follows our church service so he knows if he wants special church snack and playground time, he has to behave himself or we go straight home for naptime instead.
Once in a while we have to leave the chapel and put him in a timeout in the car. This happens very infrequently and he gets a warning to shape up or he'll be shipped out before it happens. We always follow through on the threat.
Also, it helps me to know that my church is child-friendly. They specifically tell us that they know children make noise and the life that brings to the service. They remind us that the nursery is available for those of us that just really want to concentrate on the service and still enrich our kids, but that children are definitely welcome during the service.
If you clearly delineate what behavior is permitted in church and redirect them to that behavior, they may act more appropriately. It isn't enough to tell them what not to do, they also need to know what to do instead.
M.K. answers from New York on March 27, 2008
Try asking a teenager in the church to help out,
You could speak to the pastor and ask if there is a room in the church where mothers could alternate babysitting responsibility or have teens offer service to the faith volunteering for childcare, or artistic, musical , athletic service to the community on a sunday or saturday afternoon.
this would be a great way for everyone to share responsibility. IT DOES TAKE A VILLAGE ya know LOL
G.P. answers from Utica on March 27, 2008
You might be expecting a little too much to expect them to sit still for such a long period of time. I would check if the church offers a nursery for your 2 year old. Also - My church has an activity period halfway throught the serivce, during the sermon. The kids go out with an adult to do a craft or project unitl the rest of the service is over. That would be very appropriate for you 4 yr old. My daughter LOVES the activity period, it always something based on what the sermon is about that day. So they are learning as well as getting out of your hair for a little bit. :)
Check if your church has a crying room . If you want them with you for the whole service, the crying room is usually sound proofed so you can still watch and listen to the service while the kids get to have a little more freedom to move around or make noise without disturbing the rest of the congregation.
S.C. answers from Rochester on April 01, 2008
It is never too early to teach children empathy for others.When my 3 children were at church with me I always sat as close to the front as possible and I explained that the people behind us wanted to be able to see and hear so they must sit still and be Quiet..I went on to put it into a perspective that they could relate to. I asked if they would want the people at church to come to our house and talk loudly and stand in front of the tv while their favorite show was on. By putting it into terms they could relate to they began to understand how their actions affected others.
B.D. answers from New York on March 27, 2008
I don't know if your church has this available, but I put my 18 month old son in the Nursery for childcare while I am in church. By the time he is 4, he will be in Sunday School. He actually loves going to the nursery, I have a tough time getting him out of there every week. It's fun and good socialization for him...plus it gives me a chance to worship in peace. Good luck!
N.O. answers from New York on March 30, 2008
Does the church provide age appropriate activities such as a toddler/preschool room and/or Sunday School?
Some churches have the children in worship for a time in the beginning of the service, offer a children's sermon, and then dismiss the children to their age groups.
Raising children in church is very important, however, you will be distracted with them and the service will be over their heads. So I encourage you to look for age appropriate settings for children with singing, crafts, games, and solid Biblical teaching.
Best to you, N. - ###-###-####