- NO treats/snacks: I do this even for Clara. I've found that bringing a snack of any kind just makes my kids hyper, especially Noah. The only time I do brink something is if Daddy has to work during sacrament meeting, and I have to play the piano for the ward choir or some other musical number. I may need something to appease Her Highness Princess Clara while I play the piano. Other than that, I don't bring a thing. (I have to say, that does not include Clara's cup of milk. That's still kind of a staple because of her age, plus it's more of a security blanket for her than anything.)
- NO books: I've also stopped bringing books. My kids are only interested in them for a minute or two, so all they do is take up space in my bag.
- Bring NOTHING: I haven't actually gotten here yet. I'd like to get to where I don't bring anything to distract my kids because I'm learning that they're better when I have the least amount of stuff (they're not overstimulated that way). Last Sunday I only brought one thing: a notebook and crayons. I think for now I'll stick to just this and nothing else because both my kids like to draw, and it usually preoccupies them for long enough that it's worth it. Plus, it's a quiet activity. I would like to note that I don't bring out the "distractors" until it's absolutely necessary. I especially don't bring them out before the sacrament is passed.
- Go Potty BEFORE sacrament meeting: I think it's very distracting for kids to get up and down in a meeting to go potty or get a drink. So, I try to have Noah go before hand.
- Sleep: We often try to get Noah to fall asleep by softly tickling him (he's a sucker for that!). It makes the meeting so much easier.
- Be careful where you sit: Some families don't seem to be as concerned about reverence or at least they have different ideas of what it means. I'm learning there are some families to stay away from. It's hard for Noah when the kids sitting adjacent to us have cool toys to play with. Plus, the kids are usually really loud and quite distracting.
- Wiggly Toddler: Clara is not very wiggly. She loves to sit on my lap and cuddle, so sacrament meeting really isn't that bad with her. Trust me, though, it was with Noah! Anyway, if your toddler is wiggly, some advice I've heard is to try to get them to sit on your lap for a few minutes each week. Then take them out and let them get their wiggles out. Then try to get to sit on your lap a few minutes longer, and so on and so on.
- Sing the Hymns: If you have older kids who don't sing the hymns, this is something a friend of mine does. If her kids get caught not singing, they have to sing a solo of whatever hymn they weren't singing at the next FHE. It's a pretty good motivator for her kids, but I think they think it's funny. If this would be considered cruel and unusual punishment to your kids, I wouldn't do it. You wouldn't want them to end up hating the hymns because of it.
This is my updated sacrament meeting tip list. I still don't really know what I'm doing, but I'm getting there. This is definitely a learning process, and thankfully, kids get better as they get older.
If you have anything to add, feel free (as always).