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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Surviving kids at church

Going to church should be a a time of peace and renewal.  Believe it or not, it is possible even if you have children.  Maybe not all the time (because everyone has a bad day once in a while, even on Sunday) but most of the time.  There are a number of things you can do to increase the odds of actually being able to sit through a church meeting AND get something out of it.

1. Prepare the night before by making sure everyone has their bath and has clean clothes laid out ready to wear the next day.
2. Give your family plenty of time to get ready...that includes breakfast.
3. Try to get to church a few minutes early.  Rushing creates stress and you haven't even gotten to church yet!
4. Make your expectations clear that there are certain behaviors that you will not allow  and make sure they know just what those expectations are.
5. No food during the meeting.  This is the number one rule!  Even very young children can go an hour or two without having to eat snacks.  If they know there will be no treats, they won't be nagging all through the meeting for their Cheerios or Goldfish crackers.  And they won't be making a mess for you or someone else to clean up.
6. Bring a few quiet books and/or coloring books and crayons for your kids to play with.  Have a bag packed with things that are only available to the kids during church.
7. When kids cry or are distracting, quietly remove them from the room and sit with them in an empty room until they are ready to return to the meeting.  Don't make it a fun time for them or you are actually rewarding them for acting up.
8. Don't worry if your child yells at you while you are carrying him out.  The other parents in the congregation understand what you are going through and sympathize :)   Remain calm and in control.
9. Reward good behavior.
10. Remember this is a learning process for your child.  Children aren't naturally quiet and they will need to be trained how to behave appropriately.
11. Be consistent!

With some time and effort on your part, it should be possible for you and your entire family to have an enjoyable time at church.  The last thing you want is for Sunday to be a day looked forward to with dread by you or your children.  Don't give up!


  1. I like # 5! A certain someone insists that even at the ages my kids are, they still need snacks...I have a feeling that the snacks aren't just for the kids!!!
    But seriously the consistency is what does it!

  2. Good point! Can't do much about hubby :)
    # 5 is probably the cause of most of the bad behavior in learn early that all they have to do is start whining and fussing and Mom or Dad will feed them. Great reward system, huh?