Taking our toddler to church, the doctor’s office, the restaurant or anywhere that require him to sit for more than 3 minutes is as fun as making snow angels with your swim suit on. Imagine an emotionally unstable little person with an eerie ability to know exactly how far to push you towards utter madness before morphing back to an absolute sweetheart! Yes that’s him!
Going to church is a huge challenge. Just getting him ready is a constant battle. It takes forever to change him and to keep him still.
We try to attend the 5:30 pm mass also called the life teen mass where there’s a loud band playing, where teenagers and majority of families with little children go. Also, we go at least 30 minutes early so we can secure the pew at the very back of the church. In spite of these preventive measures, we still find ourselves apologizing to the people who has to endure sitting in front or behind us for the next hour. It’s overwhelming trying to keep him quiet because he talks a lot and loves to sing his heart out. I admit there are times when the mister would just skip church so he could stay home with him or we find excuses not to go to try to avoid the inconvenience. But then these are just temporary fixes. He will still be a toddler for another year. And surely, we can’t keep skipping the service until he’s ready to behave himself. So we realized that the only way to solve this is to face the issue head on. But how do you get rid of the madness?
Taking into consideration his very sociable personality and his interests we came up with three ways on how to keep him busy in church.
1. Let his energy out
Arriving at least 30 minutes early not only gives us a chance to secure the pew at the very back of the church but also it gives our toddler time to burn his energy out before the mass starts. My husband takes him outside and allows him to run, jump, climb, scream and bother people to his heart’s content. The goal is to tire him out hoping he’ll have less energy to drive us nuts during the mass.
2. Busy bag
We keep a tote bag in the family van all the time. That way we never forget to bring it to church or to anywhere that may require its service. It has play dough, small play dough tools and tray, puzzles, lacing cards and stickers. As well as little things for writing and scribbling like dry erase board, magnetic drawing board, art pads, washable Crayola markers and crayons. You should see the array of choices Dollar Tree has. That’s why I love them so much! We try to alternate the items every Sunday so he doesn’t get bored with them. Also, we wait a few minutes after the mass starts or longer before giving it to him depending on his mood and we make sure we give them one at a time.
We always have his favorite snacks ready in his back pack. He has favorites and there are days when he would rather stick to the same food group, but he’s a good eater for the most part. With that in mind, eating in church usually keeps him occupied at least for a while. But you know it’s a hit and miss situation for them right? Thus it’s a messy experience. So please don’t forget to pick up after their mess.
We are lucky our church provides a Day care service every Sunday during masses and I think it’s awesome. Although my husband is not ready for it yet, I am tempted to avail that service many times. However, taking him there would defeat the purpose of going to church as a family. As Christian parents, it is our duty to bring our children to church. The day our kids were baptized, we have made a promise to raise them to keep God’s commandments by loving God and our neighbor and to pass on the faith by word and example strengthened in religious education at the parish and by faithfully attending Sunday mass.
So never mind if we can’t focus on the mass or repeat every point from the homily. What’s important is we are creating habits and we are being part of the community. And if getting God’s grace involves entering the house of God, then what better way to do it than with a loud toddler!
How about you? How do you keep your kids busy in church?
KC & a truckload of hugs and kisses
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34 thoughts on “3 Brilliant Ways to Keep Toddlers Busy in Church”
We plan on starting a family in the next year and I have a real fear of my poor kid screaming on an airplane! I’ll try some of these tricks in the future (more for the benefit of those around me!) as I know how much I hate it when someone else’s kids are being really loud! Thanks for sharing.
Yay! Starting a family is truly a commitment. I’m glad you finally pulled the trigger! ☺️
What a great article. My nephew has some troubles staying calm during church. I am sure some of your tips will help him out.
Thank you! ☺️ I hope some of the tips here will work on your nephew.
Or put them in Sunday school! 😉 I love the busy bag and snacks. Those were always helpful when our daughter was younger.
We don’t have Sunday school however our church provides a Day care service during masses. But we made a commitment to go to church as a family so either options won’t work for us… we really just have to be creative.☺️
Really works for my toddler for just few minutes. And i think it’s just my son who plays stickers but sing or talk loud at the same time!
My son does too! We just have to always remind him to whisper. ☺️
I had to watch my goddaughter, niece, and nephew a few Sundays ago and almost went crazy. They’re all lovely but they seem to think that the best time to be loud and energetic is during the sermon. Will definitely be using these tips next time.
I’m sorry you have to go through that. 🙂 It’s really tough with young kids.They are so unpredictable.:)
I survived church with quiet toys and cheerios, lol. These are great tips on how to keep toddlers busy.
Cheers to Cheerios! hehe 🙂
Church with the toddlers is an adventure. This post is actually going to save a lot of peoples’ sanity!
It is truly an adventure! hehe Thank you Sara!
That’s right. They can be quiet or calm even for a couple of minutes. Great tips. They are crazy monkeys. Love my little crazy monkey. 🙂
Hooray to all the crazy monkeys! (we say that lovingly) hehe 🙂
These are excellent tips. I will tell my friend with toddlers to read this post.
Thank you Sela! 🙂
These are great tips! I remember getting very restless in church as a child, and a busy bag would have been a nice thing to have!
Me too! But I think I fell asleep 80% of the time. hehe 🙂
We bring our kids in church and thank goodness they are all behaved. But should they will make a scene, we always prefer to seat near the exit doors to easily escape. heehhe. Your list is so helpful. thanks.
You are lucky to have such well behaved kids. Sitting near the exit door is not a bad idea at all! But we are stubborn parents we insist he sits through the mass no matter what! lol 🙂
This is a great idea. Now, kids will even look forward to Sunday service.
Thank you Felicia. That’s the goal! 🙂
This is such an interesting post. It never crossed my mind that it must be a real problem for parents to keep toddlers quiet in a church. Our Hindu temples are more noisier and there are no pews, so children keep running around.
Honestly, I didn’t think of it as a problem either when we were still in the Philippines. Running and screaming children at church is a common sight there. It was only when we moved here in the US that I felt the need to re evaluate my kids’ behavior at church. lol 🙂
I’ll be sure to pass this along to my friends who are parents, great article!
Thanks Suzanne! 🙂
My kids were such wiggle worms in church. We had an activity bag to keep them busy.
His busy bag is our life! 🙂
These are all true. I have a toddler and I know how it is. I needed this article. Very nice tips.
These are all really great ideas! I never thought about arriving 30 minutes early to let them get their energy out. I completely agree with the busy bag and snacks. I have a two year old son and would never go somewhere without some snacks and something to keep him occupied!
A busy bag is such a great idea. I never really thought of bringing something like that to church for the little ones.
Great tips. it is hard to keep a toddler quiet at the best of times, but when they are supposed to be quiet, it is near impossible.