I need some help! We recently started going back to church (bad mommy LOL) Zayden hasn't really been much other than his baptism and a few other times.
Where we moved has an AWESOME church, very family friendly. They have a "Sunday school" type program for kids 4-6 that I put Z in (Zayden isn't 4 but they said okay --they also had a nursery play room but the kids there are much younger and I think Z is too rough for that)
So almost every Sunday now I get up, take Z to his class while mommy goes to church. (DH doesn't go)
I know next Sunday (mother's day) I heard that there isn't a class so I was thinking ahead to what to do with Zayden then. Then yesterday I go to take him to class and they had a sign class was canceled due to illness. OH NO So I have no choice but to take him with me to church (and yes I almost thought about leaving).
As expected, he was HORRIBLE. He kept talking, making rude noises, fussing. I let him color on an envelope but I didn't have anything with me. I took him out once for time out and at the end he started getting really restless, I popped his hand and he threw himself on the floor and started howling.
I know he isn't alone, but most of the kids his age are a little quieter, maybe cause they've done this before.
So what do you guys do with LOs in church? How do they behave? I figured I'd bring crayons and stuff next time but I was really unprepared this time.
It is great that you have a family friendly parish! We drive a bit to one vs. attending our closest parish for just that reason!
There are a couple of things that can help!
1)Visit during non-Mass hours... even for a couple of minutes. Talk about that you are going to visit Jesus and have him look for the red light near the tabernacle with you. Share that you use quiet voices in Church before you go in. Say a short prayer together -- even if it is "Hi Jesus! It's me Zayden! Thank you for this day" -- or whatever he wants! Stay a few minutes and then leave. Another time visit -- again emphasizing quiet voices... and show him something else in the Church... such as the Holy Water font, the Stations of the Cross, the altar, or a statue. If your parish has stained glass windows... take time to look at one or two and talk about what you see. (All of this is useful later during Mass when you can whisper "Find the picture of the angel" or "Show me where Mary is.") The idea is that you are introducing him to being inside the Church and being quiet.
2)Prepare a "Mass" bag -- one that ONLY is used during Mass. You can sneak new things in from time to time to hold his interest. Ideas -- Catholic coloring books of saints or bible stories; his own plastic rosary; a book of holy cards (you can let him create one and add a new "page" after each successful Mass." Definitely get a "My Mass" book with big pictures that you can help him follow along. If he likes to draw, put some brightly colored card stock paper in and allow him to "make a card" for someone at your parish. It can be for a priest, deacon, perhaps some (Some of these are great for ADULTS to follow the Mass too!) For my very young kids I used to bring cheerios but typically phased them out as #1 we inevitably made a mess and #2 I knew my kids could last an hour... esp. if I fed them ahead of time. Drinks always led to potty breaks.
3)Some folks swear by sitting right up front to enable your child to see what is going on. I can share that this *can* work when you are dealing with one on one. My problem was that I never had just the "one" child and so for me to leave, I have quite the entourage following. LOL If you are feeling brave, try it! He may respond well!
4)Something important -- get to know your priest(s) and deacons more personally.... and let your child get to know them as well. Invite them over for dinner... or a picnic in the park near your parish. Having that personal relationship develop with your family is so incredible and definitely worth fostering. (Plus -- bonus -- then you can have THEM field your kid's "but why Father?" ROFL) Those memories are ones that you all will cherish.
Some good tips from Missy.
My church does not have a children room (there is religious ed but my oldest is still too young) but I really don't mind. I think it's important to teach him that mass is a quiet time to pray. He just turned 3 over the weekend but he has always been fairly good in church. When he has started to fuss a couple times I've just had to remind him that this was quiet time at mass.
I bring his toy bag with church related items. His Bible, two books about Jesus, his wooden rosary, Mary, sheep, donkey from his little people nativity set. I usually also bring fruit bunnies and a juice and give him the fruit bunnies during the homily. Typically the juice is just for back up and I don't offer it unless he asks. So far, knock on wood, he has been good. The worst times were when mass has run longer than the typical hour because of some special occasion. Our Deacon also happens to be my Dad, his grandpa, so I think he likes (and understands the importance of) listening to him. He knows that there is no talking during the readings and homily. Now, my youngest is 16mths, I hope I can continue with having two to keep things good during church!
We do sit up front. In the same pew that we always have. Same pew I sat in growing up. Never sat anywhere else so I'm not sure how sitting in the back would be. Also, my son likes to go to communion. Have had him go through line since day 1 and be blessed, and in our rite he actually receives the wine portion of communion (after baptism in our rite you can receive that part of communion), he also loves to put the envelopes in the basket at collection time. I guess I just try to involve him throughout the mass. He'll often sit on my lap and flip through the pages with me as I read along the mass to him.
Now...as he moves through his 3rd year here let's see how quickly I'm coming to post and ask for tips! I hear 3 is harder than 2!
First off -- Happy Birthday to your little one! I hope that Michael had an awesome time and I wish him a year filled with tons of giggles, smiles, and love!
I forgot that you were attending the parish that you grew up in ! That is really great (along with your dad being the Deacon!) Dh and I were talking about that type of scenario yesterday (we actually DID get to go for a drive as a family which was nice!) Where he grew up, there is only one Catholic parish. There is so much history -- and both family and community ties to their Church. Here, we have numerous parishes available. The one that I grew up in, I ended up as a teen making the choice to attend another parish due to a variety of issues there. When we moved back nearby as an adult, we attempted to go back again... only to leave shortly thereafter. We still go there on a rare occasion but it isn't our "home" parish.
Getting back to the topic! HA! I think that in some ways 3 was "tougher" for several of my kids. I think it was because as they gained more independence, they also had the vocabulary to express their emotions/passions... at the same time without having a fully developed "filter" to help them differentiate when it was time to stop. *whew* Granted, the good news is their understanding *has* increased so "reasoning" works much more than it did when they were two.... most of the time. LOL
Thank you for the birthday wishes for Michael, Missy. He had a blast.
Glad you got to go for a family drive - that sounds nice! Close to where I live there are also a lot, and I mean a lot, of Catholic churches. I've just never been in a situation where I've had to look for a new one and I drive the 20 minutes to attend the one I've always gone to. So far I've been blessed to be able to do that.
Sounds like I'm going to need some luck during this 3 year age.
First, happy birthday Michael! I like three a lot better than two BUT I would agree in general its been a harder year. Zayden is a very active child with lots of questions and likes to push the limits so its been a more challenging year as he gains more independence.
Thank you both so much for the suggestions. I am going to have to use them sooner than I thought. I had hoped that I would only take Zayden when it was absolutely necessary but as I was worried, when I dropped him off in Sunday School, they had a note that it the last class until September. I don't want to not take him to church for the summer since we have been going pretty much every weekend. They do have a children's nursery which actually is for 1-4 so he could go (as opposed to the 4-6 class he has been going to) but 1) when I looked at it is mostly younger kids and Zayden is too rough for that really, and he doesn't do well with younger kids generally since he is too rough and 2) I do think its time he learn to behave in church. I like the Sunday school idea since he gets to learn things on his level but now he won't go until September -- least then he will be closer to 4.
We had an issue this last Sunday anyway because there was a different older lady subbing as the teacher -- when I picked Zayden up she said he had been really "disrespectful" because every time she said sit down, he would look at her and say NO. Probably a good idea to take a break LOL I think either he hasn't done that with the other teachers OR they have more experience dealing with this age group.
I do love our parish is family friendly, when we looked at buying a house, that was one of the things I researched. Funny story from Sunday, our priest always looks around at the end of mass to ask if anyone is visiting from outside San Diego, after several people (including my daughter who was visiting) responded, at the very end, a young man raised his hand to say he was from Flagstaff AZ. Father Don looks down his glasses at him, and in front of everyone tells him you don't live in Flagstaff, you go to school there. Don't get too big for your britches, I know your mother. I loved that in such a large parish, Father Don knew the kids and what was up with them. My last parish, I couldn't have said that even though I loved the priest.
I will definitely try these ideas. Missy, is there a specific book for my masses that you would recommend? Zayden might like the Catholic coloring book. Next Sunday I will try to get their early and wander around with him so he can see things. I will probably sit near the cry room just in case but still try to sit out in the main audience. Sitting up close may be trying too much too soon though at first LOL
I am not Catholic, I am LDS and have lots of experience with young children in church. For our first hour of church we have everyone together (the next 2 there are classes for 18 months and up). In our church you often hear lots of little voices/fussing and most people are ok with it. The best thing I ever heard was when a young mom apologized to an elderly woman for the noise of her little one, the elderly lady said that she remembers when it was her turn to be a young mother and would never get upset due to a fussy child that is finding it hard to sit still.
Some ideas that I have used both with my son and with nieces/nephews:
*quiet books - religious or otherwise, you can make your own or purchase them
*quiet snacks (non-messy too)- especially if church falls around a regular meal/snack time
*sippy cup (or if they are like my kid a stop at the water fountain)
*sit in my lap and sing/hum quietly in the ear of the child - I would use Primary songs (Primary is the Children's organization in my church) but you could use what ever songs your child knows
*magnetic dress up dolls (for lack of a better name), less likely to loss pieces and quieter then other dress up toys
*definitely have a "church only" bag. That way the stuff inside does not become boring and change out as needed.
Things I have seen other parents do:
*during our sacrament (which I would equate to communion) one mom had little photo albums she handed out to her kids (aged 2-10) that had pictures of Jesus to remind the child of Jesus's love for them
*if you need to take the child out for a bit, do so but make going out of church boring, if there is a quiet classroom or somewhere you can sit with child on your knee until they calm down.
*definitely introduce the kids to the Priest etc (sorry I don't know all the names of the clergy), my dad was a Bishop (lay minister) in our church and used to keep suckers in his office for the kids, he wanted to know them all and like them (it helped that he had so many grandkids that he was very used to young children, my son is the 35th our of 36 granchildren and although deceased he has 25 great-grandchildren now too)
*I love Missy's ideas of finding things to look out for. We don't have stained glass windows in our churches but I have seen so many beautiful ones in other churches
Good luck and remember that it is a short period of time in their lives.
Oh excellent tips Margaret! (Please also feel free to chime in here anytime!)
I particularly forgot to mention about that idea of when/if you take them out to NOT allow it to become "play time" because as Margaret shared, they then equate misbehaving in Church as a means to get what they want (play!)
I'll take a look at the kids' Mass books and let you know which I like better for that particular age. I still need to get one with new revisions. I'll let you know what I find on that too!
I like to sit in a pew that goes up against a wall. That way, my kids have a bit of space to roam.
I have a firm rule that they are not to leave the pew (unless they need to use the bathroom). They know that misbehaing will not lead to them leaving the pew.
I also keep in mind that:
Jesus said: "Let the little children come to me". I alway invision that when he said that, the kids were speaking loudly and being restless.
My children are the futur of the Church.
God gave Joseph his sister Juliet on November 19th, 2010.