Taking my son to church is important to us as a family. We wanted him to be exposed to the mass from a young age.
It hasn’t been easy.
My toddler, like most toddlers, is playful, full of energy, and unaware of the societal norms of sitting quietly for long periods of time while someone else talks. It was hard to get him to be quiet at church and learn to behave.
We tried different quiet church activities such as toys, books, and snacks that we could drag out for as long as possible; however, these things would only last for roughly the first half of church.
He would then convert to a restless, loud toddler who would demand to leave our seat, pew, or even the entire building.
I didn’t want my toddler to build up a hatred each week for going to church, so I dug into my toolkit of positive parenting strategies and put them to use to see what works for parents who want their kids to behave at church.
What I found were three quick and easy parenting tips that can work with any parents who want their kids to be quiet at church (at least for most of the time).
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Effective Strategies to Teach Your Kids to Behave at Church
Kids, especially toddlers, like predictability and when they can know what to expect. Therefore, the more prep we can do ahead of time for church, the more likely our son is to know how to behave there.
Parents can prep by doing a number of things…
2. Check marks
Check marks on the hand are a big hit with kids. They feel proud of themselves when they get them.
We divide the mass into 5 parts. If our toddler meets expectations, he gets a checkmark after each part. We talk about the check marks before and after church and compare them week to week.
Not all gossip is bad, especially when it comes to your kids'. After church you’re going to call some of your kids’ favorite characters (Trash Truck and Pete the Cat for my son), especially if they got 4-5 check marks, and “gossip” about your toddler at church.
The key is to pretend that you don’t know your kid is listening and to be as dramatic as possible with your gossiping - dramatic whisper and trying to hide your face.
“Pssttt….hey Trash Truck! I’m just calling to tell you about *son’s name.* He did so well at church. He prayed to Jesus. He listened to the priest. He shared his toys. He got 5 check marks. Can you believe that?”
Your little one will eat this up and want you to continue to have you gossip to his friends every week after church.
7 Best Toys to Take to Church That are (Semi) Quiet
2. Magnetic church
3. Interactive church book
4. Activity books
5. Whiteboard and markers
6. Sticker book
7. Paint with water
Wrapping It Up
We want our kids to have a positive experience going to church and to continue growing in their relationship with God.
These easy parenting tips are just a few for parents to try to help their toddlers feel excited to go to church and be quiet.
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