Ideas for Keeping Kids Entertained in Church
by Tiffany Miller
(Salt Lake City, UT)
Keeping your kids entertained during church can be a challenge, but the rewards of having your kids next to you as you worship together is worth any amount of hassle. As your children grow and learn more about the reasons for attending church, they will begin to behave more in line with the spirit of church meetings by themselves, but until they reach that age, you can do a lot to help instill good habits that will last.
Explain Why You Attend Church
Share with your children, even your very young children, the reasons why you attend church. Help them recognize the different parts of the service and encourage them to pay attention for short periods of time. You can also explain to them why it is important to hold still and be quiet. This tactic will not result in perfectly-behaved kids, of course, but when things are getting out of hand, you can remind them that they should be sitting still out of respect for God.
Bring Things from Home to Keep Them Entertained
You have to be careful with what you bring to church and how your kids will use it once they get there. Giving your children quiet toys and games is appropriate, as long as their activity does not distract from the spirit of the meeting or from the worship of the people around you. Be prepared to confiscate any item that your children cannot use quietly. The following are
some suggestions for items to bring:
• Books: especially that help your children become familiar with Bible stories and Christian values.
• Quiet toys: playing with pipe cleaners, doing a puzzle, and coloring books and crayons are all activities that your children can engage in without distracting anyone else. A good idea is to keep a few toys in reserve for church use only so that each time the child plays with them it will be a “new” experience.
• Snacks: snacks can be appropriate or not depending on your congregation. If you do bring snacks, choose something that your kids can each without making noise or crumbs. Also be sure to choose something without a distinct smell. Fruit snacks, Cheerios, and small crackers are all great choices.
Taking Them Out of the Service
Occasionally when a child is upset or unruly and cannot be made to settle down, parents may have to take their children from the service for the comfort of everyone trying to worship.
When in the sanctuary or the hall, encourage your child to calm down enough to reenter the service. Hold him or her in your lap and remind him or her of why church is important and explain that he or she will have a better experience inside of the service.
By following these simple guidelines, even very young children should be able to have a enjoyable church experiences and begin to look forward to that time every week.