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
Sharing is caring...