Every Sunday, my husband, kiddos, and I worship together. And Most Sundays, we receive numerous compliments after the worship service because my two, two (years old)-and-under kiddos did fabulous jobs staying quiet and/or engaged. Why are my kiddos are so well behaved? In addition to a whole lot of prayer, I think it is because of the following intentional actions that my husband and I have taken with our kiddos:
- Start training them as soon as possible. We started worshipping with both of our children during live-streamed worship services at home days after they each were born. They do not know that the nursery is an option.
- Sit strategically. Pick seats in your worship center that allow you to slip out for a poop-a-palooza or other catastrophe.
- Make sure everyone is clean (but not fed) when the service begins. Everyone gets a fresh diaper before we leave the house, but we distract them from eating their breakfasts until it is time for the sermon to begin.
- Pack good, clean snacks (anything but peanut butter goes!). I typically pack muffin pieces in my toddler’s snack cup, an extra cup of dry cereal or apple chips (to prevent mid-sermon hanger), and a nursing cover to feed my infant.
- Sing songs from worship throughout the week (so that they become more familiar to your children). The more familiar worship music becomes, the more comfortable your children will feel singing/clapping/dancing along.
- Explain (through gestures and occasional whispers) what is going on. Help them to clap to the beat; hold hands with them while praying; share your Bible with them and point to the words as you read along; help them understand what the teaching pastor is talking about if they look confused; debrief about what each family member learned during the ride home or over brunch; etc.
- Thank the people around you for their patience. A warm “thank you” at the end of service covers a multitude of sins 😉
What are your thoughts/reactions? Share your feedback in the comments section below!