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Church behavior

post #1 of 166
Thread Starter 
My dd is almost 11 months old. When she turned 10 months she started sitting quietly with a few "shh" reminders during Sunday School and at least the morning church service. Then she got sick and we stayed home for about 2 weeks and now when we went back, she won't sit or be quiet. I understand that part of the trouble is that we have a new sanctuary now and she doesn't understand that it is still church- I don't know what she thinks it is but I know she thinks it isn't church. She did fall asleep during Sunday school and when she woke up looked at her books and sat quietly on my lap. The morning service she threw the toys and would not stop talking. Finally gave her to daddy and he took her out and spoke sternly to her to sit still and be quiet. Came back in and she sat for the last 10 minutes. Then, the evening service, she threw the toys even when I said "no" and then started crying when I didn't give the toy back to her. I took her out and scolded her for throwing the toy and bawling- she bawled louder and wouldn't stop. I sat out in the nursery with her for awhile and finally she was calm so we went back in. Sat for maybe 10 minutes and suddenly started bawling again. We spent the rest of the service in the nursery where she sat on my lap and had some snacks that she really wasn't interesed in and cried every now and then. I don't know what to do with her any more. I am trying to sit down every evening and read a story or have daddy read and hold her on my lap or his and insist on a "quiet" time before bed. In case you're wondering why she needs to sit in church, all the kids are expected to sit in church by 1 yr. If they get hungry or wet or something you can take them out but they are suppossed to sit for most of the time which is about 45 min of preaching. Any ideas?
post #2 of 166
You can't expect an 11 month old child to sit still for 45 minutes during a church sermon....it's unreasonable IMO. Why do they have to be able to sit through a sermon by the age of 1? Why don't they have a nursery for young toddlers?
post #3 of 166
I agree with the pp. I think that is unreasonable; my daughter is 14 months and would be doing the same thing. I don't think many children have the capacity to understand "shhh, this is church, you need to be quiet now" I know that isn't much help, but know that your child is doing what a normal 1 year old does. that doesn't seem like a fair rule.
post #4 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchie
You can't expect an 11 month old child to sit still for 45 minutes during a church sermon....it's unreasonable IMO. Why do they have to be able to sit through a sermon by the age of 1? Why don't they have a nursery for young toddlers?
I completely agree this is just completely unreasonable.

Deanna
post #5 of 166
Yep. MY 2.5 yo is very "well behaved" by most people's standards and she still cannot handle an hour long church service. It is just not age approriate to expect a 1 yo (or a 3 yo IMO) to sit still for one hour. I barely can.
post #6 of 166
I think it is completely reasonable to work with an 11 mo and help them learn to sit and be quiet during services. For us, the quiet part is about 5 minutes for the Lord's supper, and about 20-25 minutes for the sermon.

Our 11 mo is doing ok. He goes to Sunday school while we are in classes. Then we all go to services. This way he is awake at first and sleeps through the sermon. We let him talk and "sing" while everyone else is singing. For the Lord's supper, we say, silent time, no talking. This applies to everyone in our family, big kids, grown ups, and the baby.

We just repeat it over and over and over again. We are going through the throwing then shrieking when toys aren't returned thing too. I have found that keeping the "stuff" to a minimum helps. We take ONE book, the same one every week. I take a cup of water and a pacifier. Occassionally I will let him play with a pen for a few minutes to keep him quiet.

We do occassionally have to go out when he just gets too rowdy. We have a pew in our foyer. I sit on the pew there, so it is like being in the auditorium. I hold him in my lap and explain that church is quiet time. I feel like this way we are simulating the church auditorium without disrupting others.

As for the nursery, we don't have one. All children go to the worship services so all the adults can attend as well. We have 4 little ones and another on the way.

Keep working on it mama. You are doing fine. It just takes a bit of patience. I SWEAR it gets easier.

Feel free to PM me if you'd like.
post #7 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama2 '05'06
he took her out and spoke sternly to her to sit still and be quiet. Came back in and she sat for the last 10 minutes. Then, the evening service, she threw the toys even when I said "no" and then started crying when I didn't give the toy back to her. I took her out and scolded her for throwing the toy and bawling- she bawled louder and wouldn't stop.
In addition to thinking it is an unrealistic expectation to sit through (multiple?) church services in one day, I also think it is unrealistic for an 11 month old to 'understand' when you scold her for anything. I really don't understand why you would be punishing a BABY for CRYING. I would protest if my things didn't get returned to me.

She doesn't see the big picture about not throwing toys, let alone what is expected at church.

My suggestion is to listen to what your baby is telling you she is ready and not ready for. And if that doesn't conform to whomever set up the church rules, then maybe that needs evaluated not punishing your child.
post #8 of 166
well... i agree with everyone who said it's kinda unreasonable to expect an 11 month old to sit quietly through church.

i wouldn't really expect my 4 year old to sit quietly for an hour either though.
post #9 of 166
I think it is absolutely unreasonable to expect a baby or small child to sit quietly for any long amount of time. That being said, I think it's great to have kids in church! I love the coos and the talking, and if a baby or kid gets to rowdy, the parent can take him or her out. I think that a church should be a place where all members of the family are welcomed, and in age-appropriate ways, with no one age group expected to conform to another's standards. Jesus welcomed little children, and I wish the church in America today was truly welcoming to kids as well! Just my $.02!
post #10 of 166
Working with a small child is one thing we have always had our child in service with us there is no nursery and untill recently no cryroom, we gently worked with her on using a quiet voice we allowed snacks small toys ect if she got too noisey we just walked with her in the back but did say we had to use qiet voices and calm hand for sitting. Shes three now and does well. Whats rubbed me wrong was this
Quote:
Finally gave her to daddy and he took her out and spoke sternly to her to sit still and be quiet. Came back in and she sat for the last 10 minutes. Then, the evening service, she threw the toys even when I said "no" and then started crying when I didn't give the toy back to her. I took her out and scolded her for throwing the toy and bawling-
Your using threats thats just not fair a 10 month old is just too young to be expected to have the same impulse controll as an adult. Also to scold her for crying?? :
Deanna
post #11 of 166
We are in a very kid-friendly church. It is a small congregation, though, so there aren't many kids. One lady sitting in front of us one time said, "don't shush her! I like the sound of her voice." It's been interesting to me because I never liked distractions before I had dd (17 mos now), but everyone else seems to be more tolerant than I was! She waves at people in pews behind us and they smile and wave back. If she's too talky, I whisper in her ear, "the people want to hear what that man is saying," and sometimes it helps a little. What makes the most difference is bfeeding. That keeps her pretty quiet.

I probably wouldn't have kept going this long but MIL is the preacher. She has loads of experience with kids, and she sees church as a place for families, which includes all ages. She even brought in some rocking chairs for the back so people can take a baby there to rock.
post #12 of 166
Agree with pp... please don't scold your baby. But I'm glad you're working at staying together during church. I've found this website helpful, Faith At Home. Keeping children in service is very challenging, even in a highly liturgical setting with lots of repetition week-to-week, congregational responses verbal children can participate in, and a 15-20 minute sermon.

When my girls were tiny like your little one, we had lots of in the pew nursing, and I carried them in a wrap carrier walking the back of the church as needed (often entire services) until about age 18 months or so. Then they were able to stay in our aisle and draw and look at books, eat cheerios and have a sippy cup. Of course I take them out if they are fussing and give them a chance to settle down. This past Sunday dh and I actually had one dd each on opposite sides of the entrance when they melted down at the beginning of the sermon. We are in a very tolerant and child-friendly congregation, so children are not expected to be "seen and not heard".

You may also want to read the book Families Where Grace is in Place by Jeff VanVonderen, Arms of Love Family Fellowship, and Gentle Christian Mothers for encouragement in gentle discipline from a Christian worldview.

You're on the right path, mama. Hang in there.
post #13 of 166
Quote:
I don't know what to do with her any more. I am trying to sit down every evening and read a story or have daddy read and hold her on my lap or his and insist on a "quiet" time before bed. In case you're wondering why she needs to sit in church, all the kids are expected to sit in church by 1 yr. If they get hungry or wet or something you can take them out but they are suppossed to sit for most of the time which is about 45 min of preaching. Any ideas?
Have you considered alternatives to how y'all are currently attending services? Would it be possible to attend for part of the time? Trading off being in the sanctuary? IMO, just because others in your congregation think a 12 month old *should* be able to do something doesn't make it so. I would be concerned they don't have the child's best interest at heart. It's difficult for many adults to sit through a 45 minute service IMO, I would look to why it's important to you for her to behave in whatever way you are expecting her to. Do you feel it's a reflection on your parenting (it's not!!!) when she behaves in ways that are not acceptable to you/the congregation?

It sounds like she might have been frightened in the surroundings and feeling the anxiety surrounding you and dh's reactions to her behavior. Do you think this might be the case?

There are lots of creative ways that families work out handling religious services/meeting spiritual needs with young babies. IMO, it's setting yourself up for disappointment and frustration to expect such a young baby to understand and comply with 45 mins. of quiet. Goodness, some days we're lucky to have 5 minutes of quiet, happy time around here.

Hope you find some solutions that feel right to your heart.
post #14 of 166
Richella, I rockers in the back of the sanctuary. What a great idea!
post #15 of 166
I've been taking our three kids in services for four years. Things that have helped me:

- small, non terribly messy snacks (cereal, small crackers...)
- a pad of paper and crayons
- small soft toys
- instruments to give the kids during worship time (a tamborine, maracas)
- cardboard books with flaps

Make sure you have all that stuff packed in a bag the night before so that you're not rushing to get ready in the morning. When you see that she's about to freak out in service, offer her something different from your "magic bag." Don't use up everything in the beginning or even during one service. Only get out the bag for church. As she gets older, you can gear it more towards the content of the service, using the paper and crayons to draw little pictures together about the sermon or throwing in biblical kids' books.

At her age now, keep the distractions coming. Don't punish, scold or take toys away. That will take away from what you're trying to accomplish. Remember that the goal is for her to want to sit through service, so make it fun and rewarding. Try to avoid taking her out of service if you can, because then you're showing her (more as she gets older than now) that if she's loud then she gets to leave. And if she's bored, she's going to want to do what it takes to get to leave.

Anyway, remember, set it up so that she looks at going as a positive experience.
post #16 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by phathui5
I've been taking our three kids in services for four years. Things that have helped me:

- small, non terribly messy snacks (cereal, small crackers...)
- a pad of paper and crayons
- small soft toys
- instruments to give the kids during worship time (a tamborine, maracas)
- cardboard books with flaps

Make sure you have all that stuff packed in a bag the night before so that you're not rushing to get ready in the morning. When you see that she's about to freak out in service, offer her something different from your "magic bag." Don't use up everything in the beginning or even during one service. Only get out the bag for church. As she gets older, you can gear it more towards the content of the service, using the paper and crayons to draw little pictures together about the sermon or throwing in biblical kids' books.

At her age now, keep the distractions coming. Don't punish, scold or take toys away. That will take away from what you're trying to accomplish. Remember that the goal is for her to want to sit through service, so make it fun and rewarding. Try to avoid taking her out of service if you can, because then you're showing her (more as she gets older than now) that if she's loud then she gets to leave. And if she's bored, she's going to want to do what it takes to get to leave.

Anyway, remember, set it up so that she looks at going as a positive experience.
great suggestions!
post #17 of 166
Wow, I guess it must sometiems depend on the kid no? We don't go to church, but my daughter is very, very, very physically active, as she approached her 1st birthday and was able to walk she did not stay still when she was awake, and kept moving until she was about 20 months old. She just didnt sit still. She wasn't into coloring or drawing, she was very into throwing, jumping, climbing, running etc. I really don't see ow it would've been possible, with a physical kid like her, to have gotten her to stay still and quiet so long at that age. Her cousins loved to color and quietly puruse books at that age, Emma did not. I think the only thing that would've worked with Emma at that age, to accomplish silence and stillness, would've been severe, SEVERE corporal punishment. I'm not sure all kids are capable of doing what your church expects at that age, without stepping far out of GD practises. I'm always open to the possibility that I'm wrong, but with the way Emma was at that age, I just can't see it.
post #18 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soundhunter
Wow, I guess it must sometiems depend on the kid no? We don't go to church, but my daughter is very, very, very physically active, as she approached her 1st birthday and was able to walk she did not stay still when she was awake, and kept moving until she was about 20 months old. She just didnt sit still. She wasn't into coloring or drawing, she was very into throwing, jumping, climbing, running etc. I really don't see ow it would've been possible, with a physical kid like her, to have gotten her to stay still and quiet so long at that age. Her cousins loved to color and quietly puruse books at that age, Emma did not. I think the only thing that would've worked with Emma at that age, to accomplish silence and stillness, would've been severe, SEVERE corporal punishment. I'm not sure all kids are capable of doing what your church expects at that age, without stepping far out of GD practises. I'm always open to the possibility that I'm wrong, but with the way Emma was at that age, I just can't see it.
:

DS is still too active at 26 months to be able to sit still for more than 10 mintues at any one activity really. I mean, I could "make" him be still, I suppose, but as Soundhunter said above, I would have to use some pretty serious non-GD parenting techniques to get him there, which kind of defeats the purpose, as far as I'm concerned. And, to be perfectly honest, neither of us would be getting anything out of a service at this point right now if I had to keep entertaining him and he was bored, KWIM? I figure in another year he'll have settled down a bit and we'll start going to services...but until at least ONE of us is going to get something out of it, I don't get the reason to go (then again I'm not into the "required attendance" thing, so that makes a difference, too).

...and I AM sure that not all kids are capable of sitting for an hour-long service at 12 months....I have one, and Soundhunter wrote she has one, so there's at least 2 right there. I echo all of the PP who suggest that your church is expecting way too much from "all" 1-yos. SOME 1-yos, sure, will sit quietly for periods of time...but some won't....and there's nothing "wrong" with them, they're not "bad". They're just different.

I'd go with your child's disposition and temperament, and base your attendance on that.

Oh, and ditto on not scolding her for crying - she's not even a year old - this is just the beginning of her beign frustrated at not being able to verbalize her emotions - if your'e scolding her now, you're going to be in a world of hurt when she's 2.
post #19 of 166
I agree that it's unrealistic to expect her to be quiet for that long. One thing that worked for us was to sit at the back where it was less crowded and let them crawl around the pew and on the floor. Also you might want to practice sitting still and quietly at home during the day--before bed might not be the best time because she's tired and cranky.
post #20 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarenSwan
I think it is absolutely unreasonable to expect a baby or small child to sit quietly for any long amount of time. That being said, I think it's great to have kids in church! I love the coos and the talking, and if a baby or kid gets to rowdy, the parent can take him or her out. I think that a church should be a place where all members of the family are welcomed, and in age-appropriate ways, with no one age group expected to conform to another's standards. Jesus welcomed little children, and I wish the church in America today was truly welcoming to kids as well! Just my $.02!
I totally agree with this.....I just don't think it should be a requirement. Family worship is wonderful, but if a child is unable to be in the sanctuary and comply to the "quiet rule", then they should be in the nursery playing with the other kids thier age. Crying babies and restless children are a distraction to others trying to listen to the sermon.
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