If you have ever tried to take your young kids to church you know what hard work it can be! As a family we have had older parishioners in church come up to us and remark how well behaved our children are. While I smile and gratefully say thank you, I quickly turn around, wipe the sweat off my brow and head to the doughnuts! It’s hard work but with some planning you can do it!
1. Dress your children up- by doing so it marks that this is a special occasion and the implication of this means being on your best behavior.
2. Sit in the front row- yes, really! Most families sit in the back row which sends the message to the kids that if they misbehave they can make a quick exit or that no one will notice. By sitting in the front row you keep the kids more engaged with the music, surroundings and activities.
3. Bribery- of course the treats at the end of the mass are very helpful incentives to keep the kids quiet and sitting still- if doughnuts and coffee are not offered socially after the service then create your own tradition of going to a special restaurant or bakery.
4. Sit near friends- believe it or not your children are more likely to behave in church if you are meeting another family to sit nearby. There is a level of excitement that is added jst by sitting next to each other. And then if you go out to eat with them afterwards it makes step 3 an even more effective reminder!
5. Books- when you have toddlers or young children try bringing books that are spiritual or church related that they can flip through during the service. The music editions that are in church get easily ripped by children so they will appreciate feeling like they have a book to look through like everyone else.