How Do I Help My Child Sit Through Church?

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I recently received a question from a mom who sincerely wants to get back into church, but has trouble getting her daughter sit through church. I think all fellow Christian moms go through the same thing. It can be hard to teach and train your child to sit through church and to sit mostly still at that!

So what’s a mom to do? Keep reading for my answer!

How to Help My Child Sit Through Church

Hi Kathryn,

My question for you is: We are going to start going to church again on Sundays. My ‘problem’ is my daughter Rosie. How am I going to get her to sit through church for an hour service? She has ‘ants in her pants’ constantly and doesn’t take well to being forced to keep still. She also has a short attention span and any toy I give her will only keep her occupied for a minute or so. I know there is going to be some shouting on Rosie’s part. How do I deal with this new environment for Rosie? I don’t want to be asked to leave or have to walk out with everyone staring at us.

Thank you,
Shannon C.

How Do I Help My Child Sit Through Church?

Hi Shannon,

My first question would be, what kind of church do you go to? The different churches I have grown up in have always had a church nursery for the young babies and children to play in while the adults went to service. Does your church have something like that?

If not, I would say that now is a good time to teach your daughter about church. For example, our nursery only goes to age three. After that, the children have to learn to sit in the service. Yes, it is hard to have children sit for that long, but everyone has to be understanding. I don’t think anyone would ask you to leave when they see you are trying to help your child.

I think at this point for your daughter, it’s good to teach her good church attendance. Even if you attend and have to leave the service at some point,  you’re still there, and she will remember that.

Try starting off sitting in the service with her. Bring a few toys, books and something to color with. If she starts to get disruptive, leave the service for a few minutes and then try again. I would suggest sitting in the back or near a door. I think eventually with time she is going to understand, especially if each time you tell her, “This is church and at church, we need to listen and sit still…” or something similar.

If she is so disruptive that you can’t bring her back in the service, then you can make the choice to leave or to just sit outside the door with her and maybe listen from out there. If your husband goes with you to church, then at least he could stay in the service while you are in another room with Rosie or maybe you both could take turns sitting with her.

I know with my son, Adam, there have been times we have just left because he was just screaming and wasn’t going to go into the nursery or service. Other times I let my husband sit and listen to the rest of the service while I stayed in another room with my son until it was over. I think that even though I was not in the service, I was at church and that sets a good example for Adam.

I know how frustrating it can be, believe me, I’ve been there. Sometimes you just have to keep trying even though those first few weeks are rough. Once your child realizes that this is what it’s going to be like then it will be easier for her to understand and behave better. If you try all these suggestions and it still doesn’t work, maybe try taking turns with your husband. One of you can stay home with Rosie one Sunday, and the next Sunday the other can go. That way you are still getting into church several times a month. Then try to take her again when she is a little older.

What do YOU think? Do you have any comments, help, or tips for Shannon about helping your kids sit through church? Leave it in the comments below!

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  1. {Melinda} Our church has classes for up to 5th grade during church (Nursery, Classes for preschools and Kids Church). I’ve attended churches that do not. I think you give good advice. The main thing you want to communicate at that age is that church is important. You don’t want them to think of it as a negative place where they are always getting scolded. Better to leave early and lengthen their exposure as they get older and a little more able to handle sitting for longer periods.

    We have an area outside the sanctuary where the sermon is on television. Kids have the freedom to move around more and adults can still at least catch part of the message (even though they’re distracted.) It takes patience and creativity, but it’s worth the effort. You’re setting important patterns.

    Visiting from SITS!

  2. That is great advice. I really enjoy reading it, even when you suggested about taking turns to stay home with their little one. Great post and great answer!! 🙂

  3. Yes. I’d go with toys, food (always a winner to have a biscuit & juice) and colouring things. Our church has a mom’s room for the babies and it had a radio feed so we still hear the service. Now the Bunny attends Sunday School and only needs to ‘behave’ long enough to make it through worship.

  4. We attend a family church where all the children sit in the service. We have had our difficult moments, but it does get better. I bring cereal in a baggie and coloring things to help keep them occupied as they learn to sit quietly. Each Sunday it get’s easier and easier. Great question and topic! Visiting from SITS, and following!

  5. We go to a church that offers a Sunday school class for little ones. My kids love it. It’s hard to concentrate on what the pastor is saying when we have brought the kids to sit with us. They loose interest and we can’t concentrate. When they go to a Sunday school class it’s geared for their age level and they end up learning so much more. Hope this helps. 🙂

    1. We have the same in the morning, but at night it’s just nursery for the little ones and sometimes they have children’s choir practice. Thanks for the tips and for commenting! 🙂

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