Does taking your kids to church seem like a nightmare scenario?
Getting your cute-but-chaotic little ones to sit still for five minutes can be challenging enough—let alone for an entire church service!
But worrying about how your children will behave shouldn't stop you from including them in your Sunday worship. Children are actually a vital part of the church community. Their expressions of faith can enliven and brighten the entire congregation.
Children and church
That's why today we thought it might be helpful to hear from two moms who not only take their children to church, but enjoy it too!
First there's Trisha, a mom who "accidently" taught her children how to sit still.
She shares a few tips about how she pulled it off, on her blog The Domestic Fringe:
"Sitting with my child on my lap in church could have been a worst case scenario, but it became my biggest parenting blessing. Suddenly, I had to teach my child how to sit and be quiet for an entire church service. This did not happen overnight and I'll be honest, it was hard work. I mean, how do you teach kids to sit still and be quiet?
"This skill was not learned during the church service, but rather at home. Every day we would practice. I would make my child sit with me on the couch while I read him a story. I wouldn't let him jump around or climb all over me. We would sit and read. At first it was one book and then two and three and more…
"It took time. Lots of time. Lots of direction and redirection. And patience... After my children learned this skill, I never, ever had to worry about going places. A wait at the doctors? No problem. A ride on an airplane? Nailed it."
And then there's Melody, a mom who realized how rewarding bringing a child to church can be.
In "Changing Diapers, Changing Lives" she writes:
“You wonder what you could have possibly been thinking every time you take a small child to church. When they're newborns, you fill up the entire pew with your baby gear. They inevitably need a diaper change during the sermon…
"When children become mobile, church attendance becomes more like a full contact sport. You try to keep them from running up and down the aisle, plying them with snacks and crayons and anything remotely distracting. And you spend so much time saying 'Shhhh' that you don't hear much of the service, and you're pretty sure no one else does either.
"Yes, you wonder what you could have possibly been thinking every time you take a small child to church. Until you realize that your infant has been held and adored by dozens of church members every week, and your child will always know there is a place to call home beyond your house and a family to call hers beyond her blood.
…You wonder what you could have possibly been thinking every time you take a small child to church…until she reminds you in a million tiny ways exactly why you take a small child to church."
So what about you?
Has bringing your kids to church been a blessing or a disaster? And what are your techniques for getting your kids to sit still? Also, feel free to reach out to your local Episcopal church to find a kid-friendly church near you!