Children at Trinity
Tips for Parents and Toddlers at Worship
Some parents delight in having their children worship with them in church. Others, particularly mothers, feel that the presence of their children at worship prevents them from fully entering into and appreciating the experience. The trend certainly is to have children worship with their parents. Out of our experience attending church with toddlers, I offer the following thoughts:
- Let your child draw or write during the service. Children eavesdrop while doodling and often hear more than we think they do. Sometimes their art is very profound and reflects the readings or something important to them. Ask permission to "turn it in." It may make the front cover of the bulletin!
- Sit near the front so your child can see! It is easier to focus if we can see what is going on.
- Help your child refocus when his/her attention wanders."See what the reader/priest/deacon is doing/saying now?"
- Help your child follow the service in the Prayer Book or Service Booklet. Help your child learn about the Prayer Book at home so he/she will be comfortable using it during Sunday worship.
- Ask restless children to look around and draw what they see...
- Ask your child to listen carefully to the Gospel (or another reading) so he/she can retell it or draw it (older children can rewrite the story using their own words.)
- Ask your child which hymn he/she likes best. .Let your child sit with another adult or family from time to time.
- Help your child memorize the Lord's Prayer and the responses such as "And also with you."
- Feel free to give your child a break by taking him/her out if you think it is necessary.
- Quietly answer your child's questions during the service; it is less disruptive than "shushing."
- Children learn from example--be a good role model.
- Affirm your child's good behavior in church.