Quiet Kids in Church Service
When I was pregnant with my second sitting in Sunday morning service alone as my husband worked weekends at the time. My sixteen month old son twisting around on my lap, wanting up then down, and playing pickup with toys. It hit me all the sudden that I could not let him do any of this with a new little one to tend to…
I had watched Super Nanny featuring Jo for a long time and used her techniques on my own children which worked amazingly at home. So when it came time to devise a plan for church services, I followed them again and it works!
#1 – Set your expectations and tell your child ahead of time how you wish for him/ her to behave while in service. Explain that this is Mama’s time to listen and learn. Tell them you expect them to be respectful to you and those around them by keeping quiet and sitting still.
#2 – Practice at home, give yourself twenty to thirty minutes each day to sit on the couch with your little one next to you, take this time to read a book or just sit still. Do not use media of any kind for this time, you are not going to be watching TV or on your phone during service so don’t practice that either.
#3 – Teach them a few simple signs for communication during this set quiet time. I choose “all done”, “more”, and “book”.
#4 – Place the child in the pew/ chair next to you in the sitting position, and replace them every time they get up, turn around, or scoot over too much. The key to success in this process is here, following through with this one every time and I mean every time!
#5 – Something dropped is something dropped, don’t give in to the pickup game. The first few times bring extra things to have on hand this enforces the dropped rule while also keeping them engaged to quietness, when something is dropped use the sign language movement of “all done” then allow a few minutes before giving them another item, this shows the child that they are not rewarded for losing the toy but also continuing to keep the settled.
#6 – Say thank you! When your little one has been successful in keeping quiet and sitting still tell them good job! Reward them with your love and attention not a toy or treat as that will become expected.
Some keys things to help in your success…
· Take your child to the restroom before service begins, let them try even if they don’t go explain that this is the time and try to stick to this as a rule that you do not get up during worship time even for the bathroom. Obviously this will very greatly upon the age of your kids, how many you have, are they potty training, any in diapers, medical conditions, and any other personal issues that arise..
· Don’t give them their entertainment until the preacher begins his sermon. Give them time to just look around and be a little bored, they will be more engaged with their quiet resource when they do receive it. I would rather have a fussing child in the middle of a song than the sermon. Also this is a shorter time frame for complete quiet instead of the entire service although that is the end goal. Snacks usually keep kids quieter than activities. I always started the snack time when the preacher begin his sermon as to limit entertainment items needed.
If you do nothing else, follow rule #4!
By: Lisa Jacques Jones