I hope I'm not the only Mom who's felt like this after church. I'm pretty sure I'm not, which is why I'm posting on the subject of church and children. I don't have a lot of experience in the area, and heaven knows I have a lot to learn. Even still, I do have a few tips to share. But I'll be expecting plenty from all of you!
- Don't take the whole play room to church. I've learned that kids aren't better behaved if they have tons to play with. Here's what I take: a sandwich bag of cereal, N's "My First Book of Mormon," N's mini magna-doodle OR a notebook and pen, and 2 or 3 little board books for C. That's it!
- Books and Treats AFTER the Sacrament. I learned this one from a friend. Her kids have to sit reverently during the sacrament. Then, if they're good, they are rewarded by getting their books and treats. *I'm not very good at this one, but I'm working on it.
- Leaving the chapel is NOT fun. If we had to take N out we tried to make it not fun. It wasn't time to play. I'd try to find an empty room far from the chapel (since he's VERY vocal) and make him sit in a chair until he was ready to go back. *We have to take C out now, but she's still too young to be punished for being irreverent. She doesn't know! So, take your child's age into consideration.
- Teach them at home. FHE is the perfect place to reinforce reverence. Teach them to sit and listen at home, and it will help them do the same at church.
- Be clear and consistent. When we've been clear and consistent about our expectations, the results have been better.
- RELAX! C is starting to get the age where she's hard in church, but I feel much more relaxed about it than I did with N. Since I've gone through this once already, I understand better that children are not wired so that they sit perfectly still and listen intently, so we can't get too angry when they don't. They have to learn it, which they will...eventually. Some kids are more wiggly than others, so it may take longer to learn, but they will. Just relax. It will end...eventually.
N isn't perfect, that's for sure. But now that he's older, which also makes a huge difference, he's a lot better than he used to be. I actually enjoy church now! The biggest struggle with him, though, is that he is still pretty wiggly and does not sit on the bench. He does sometimes, but most of the time he's on the floor or on my lap. I'm looking for a way to cure that. I think a lot of it is his age and personality, but I would like to help him learn to sit on the bench instead of the floor. Any advice?
I hope these tips help. If you have any other tips to add to mine PLEASE do!