When they must sit quietly in church for an hour or more, it can be hard on your child and even test your patience.
Many parents wonder what to do and even want to give up after trying quiet-time books, toys and snacks. Today, we are giving you a LOT of new ideas… I hope one of them works for you!
New Ways To Keep Your Toddler Quiet At Church
- Sit closer to the front. Most churches encourage this. Remember that to a child, they are more interested if they can SEE what is going on, not just hear it. Most families sit in the back of the church, but it is hard to pay attention to anything relevant back there and they tend to act out more.
- Play-dough. “We give her playdough. Just one little container. We explain that she has to whisper if she needs something. She doesn’t say a peep. ” ~Arianni Dubord
- Take a small one-minute-walk every ten minutes or so.
- Have a “church box” that you fill with special toys just for church. Rotate the toys and add new ones that are cheap to buy, but fun for the kids!
- “Bring him in later and slowly extend your time there, coming in earlier and earlier as he becomes successful. It’s way more reasonable to expect a child that young to sit for short periods and then make those periods longer.” ~Leigha Montgomery
- Find apps on the phone that will teach a similar lesson, as the one that you are learning in church this week, and let the child play with it.
- “Bring him in for the singing part. That way he will be there for part of it and the singing might get him to sit for a sort time.” ~Lynn Sergeant
- “One thing that usually works for us is sticker books when they’re that little if they can only play with stickers at church and they can only have a couple at a time when you hand them two or three and have them stand and sing when you see a dancing and teach him how to pray when you’re praying. That will help eliminate so much time to be acting out.” ~Anne Marie
- Go to a family friendly service. You can find services where kids are not only welcome, but encouraged to come. If that isn’t an option, look for a church that has a quiet room, where you can see the service and hear them through the speakers, but they can’t hear you.
- “Try doing reading time at home where he needs to sit and listen to you read. Start out with one book then as he learns to sit still and quiet start reading more books. This will teach him how control himself in certain situations. If he starts to act out take him for a walk but hold him to let him know that it is not play time. This will also help for other events such as graduations and weddings where he needs to learn to control himself. Stick with it and be patient! He is not too young to know that there are times to play and times to be calm. He will learn so much from going to church and from watching you be patient with him in the meantime!” ~Krysta Logan
- “We also take a break half way through (right before the homily) to walk around in the back of the church. When we are kneeling for a bit, we also walk around with her sometimes. I feel it isn’t about me at this point, but getting her to a point where she can understand and enjoy church. She has my attention through out the service, where we are talking about the service and what is going on. I may not be paying attention to the readings or homily, but I know that I am giving my daughter a great gift of understanding and enjoying church. Also, talk with your priest or pastor. Ours is very understanding about children who are not silent and sit still. He has said that during a quiet moment he loves to hear a child talking or a baby crying because it means there is a new generation growing up in the church. You may find that it seems much worse to you than it actually is.” ~Lauren Marinis
- Giving him a coloring book with a pen. Children so rarely get pens that when they, they are excited to use them. (You can even find those sparkly gel pens that are more fun!)
- Let him play on the playground or with other kids after the service (even if you have had to cut it a bit short).
- Practice quiet time in your own house. Set a timer and start small. 5 minutes of quiet time activities, then 10, then 15… every week you can continue to increase the time until you have reached your goal.
Whatever you decide, remember that you are teaching your children in everything that you do. Encourage them to come with them, with gentle reminders to be still and listen. Remember that they are only young children and they really do not have the attention span for an hour-long church service. Frequent breaks and distractions are going to be your best bet, as they learn to sit quietly. This, too, shall pass.