To the church going parents with young kiddos.
Taking children to church can be a rewarding and enriching experience, but it can also be challenging, especially when they start to act up during the service. It's important to remember that children are still learning and growing, and their behavior should not discourage parents from bringing them to church. Here are a few tips for taking kids to church even when they act up.
1. Prepare Them in Advance: Before going to church, talk to your children about the importance of being respectful and quiet during the service. Explain what will happen during the service, such as singing, listening to a sermon, and praying, so that they understand what to expect. And when they do act up (as they inevitably will), redirect rather than scold. That is unless they convert to rabid spider monkeys... in which case scolding is acceptable.
2. Set Clear Expectations: Let your children know what behavior is expected of them during the service. Explain that it is not appropriate to run around, talk loudly, or disturb others. Make sure they understand the consequences of not following the rules, such as being taken outside the sanctuary or sitting in a different area.
3. Bring Distractions: Children may become restless during the service, so it is helpful to bring quiet toys or games that they can play with during the service. Books, coloring pages, and puzzles are all great options.
4. Give Them a Job: Children like to feel involved and important. Assign them a task during the service, such as passing out bulletins or helping to collect the offering. This will help keep them focused and engaged during the service.
5. Model Good Behavior: Children learn by example, so make sure you are setting a good example by being respectful and attentive during the service. If your children see you paying attention and being quiet, they are more likely to follow your lead.
6. Be Patient: Children are still learning, and it may take time for them to learn the behavior expected of them during the service. Be patient and encourage them, and remember that everyone makes mistakes.
Additional Pro Tip: Choose the balcony if/when possible. It's further away from others, closer to the bathrooms and gives you more space with the littles. Children's church isn't always an option so when it's not, you do what you have to do.
Taking children to church can be a positive and enjoyable experience for both parents and children, but it can also be a challenge. By preparing them in advance, setting clear expectations, bringing distractions, giving them jobs, modeling good behavior, and being patient, parents can help ensure a successful and enjoyable experience for everyone.
And if they want to lay on your lap during the service, let them. Because who is it hurting?
Love & Hugs,
Nicki, Momming all the Boys