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#1 of 166 Old 04-10-2006, 09:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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?

Me : DD 5/05: DS1 7/06 : DS2 11/07: DS3 3/10
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#2 of 166 Old 04-10-2006, 10:05 PM
 
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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?
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#3 of 166 Old 04-10-2006, 10:11 PM
 
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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.
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#4 of 166 Old 04-10-2006, 10:12 PM
 
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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.

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#5 of 166 Old 04-10-2006, 10:37 PM
 
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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.
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#6 of 166 Old 04-10-2006, 10:41 PM
 
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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.
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#7 of 166 Old 04-10-2006, 10:57 PM
 
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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.
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#8 of 166 Old 04-10-2006, 10:58 PM
 
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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.
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#9 of 166 Old 04-10-2006, 11:06 PM
 
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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!
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#10 of 166 Old 04-10-2006, 11:21 PM
 
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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
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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

Wife to DH since August 01 mom to a bubbly girl October 2002 and our newest gal March 2010
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#11 of 166 Old 04-10-2006, 11:44 PM
 
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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.
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#12 of 166 Old 04-10-2006, 11:55 PM
 
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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.
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#13 of 166 Old 04-10-2006, 11:55 PM
 
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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.

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#14 of 166 Old 04-11-2006, 12:04 AM
 
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Richella, I rockers in the back of the sanctuary. What a great idea!
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#15 of 166 Old 04-11-2006, 12:19 AM
 
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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.

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#16 of 166 Old 04-11-2006, 12:46 AM
 
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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!
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#17 of 166 Old 04-11-2006, 01:42 AM
 
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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.
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#18 of 166 Old 04-11-2006, 02:04 AM
 
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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.

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#19 of 166 Old 04-11-2006, 03:33 AM
 
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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.
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#20 of 166 Old 04-11-2006, 12:31 PM
 
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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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#21 of 166 Old 04-11-2006, 01:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by frenchie
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.
God visits noisy places too
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#22 of 166 Old 04-11-2006, 02:02 PM
 
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My Oldest DD will sit fairly still but just doesn't get the quiet concept. Really the only time that it is quiet enough to need to take her out is prayer time or during the Lords Supper. I am a big proponent of family worship but it has its challenges. One thing that helps us is haveing family Bible time in the evenings where we read 1-2 chapters and sing a hymn. I would keep the stuff going into church to a small amount. A cup, small non messy snack, maybe a picture Bible....Having family worship is a wonderful thing and the congergation and pastor should be tolerent while children learn appropriate church behavior or if they cause an interruption of some sort. Now that I think about it at 11months we sat in the back and let DD play on a blanket at our feet. I think we just have to be careful not to get too idealistc with our expectations of children in worship services.

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#23 of 166 Old 04-11-2006, 02:36 PM
 
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My son is pretty "good" in church, but I do have to do at least one of these things in almost every service:
*nurse
*whisper, "Shhh, listen to the story."
*catch the eye of one of the (many) people who are fond of him and encourage some peek-a-boo
*let him play with the kneeler cushions or turn the pages of a hymnal
*let him walk back and forth on the floor between pews, or on the pew holding onto the back
*hold him upside down (he really likes that)
*carry him into the side chapel or narthex (entry area at the back) to admire the stained glass; I still can hear from there
*take him outside or into the parish hall if he's really freaking out, but come back as soon as he calms down.

One thing I've found really makes a difference is my attitude. If I let myself feel annoyed and tense and like I'm just dreading the next thing he'll do, HE is much more annoyed and tense and acts almost threatening, like, "Give me constant attention or I'll scream!" But if I think about how much I love sharing church with him and how cute he is, not only can I see a few minor misbehaviors as cute rather than irritating, but those will be the ONLY misbehaviors. Sure, sometimes he acts up because he slept poorly or something, but in general it's up to me to set the tone. Oh, and it helps to sing a hymn on the way to church to get both of us in the mood.

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#24 of 166 Old 04-11-2006, 03:04 PM
 
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All 3 of my girls have been attending Mass since birth. They can learn to be quiet in church, but it's a process that takes time and patience. It happens gradually. Going to church regularly is the best way to learn, just like being taken to restaurants is the best way to learn to behave appropriately in a restaurant. I agree that 2 services each day is a bit much to ask. Scolding won't help and is upsetting to the baby.

With our girls, they were carried in a sling and breastfed when they are little. As they grow, we switch to distraction and redirection. I also pack a bag of toys for church. These are different toys that will keep their attention. I like softer and not noisy toys for throwing. If they throw a soft doll, it won't make noise. Board books are great too. Snacks and sippy cups work wonders when the baby gets bigger. By 11 months, I'd be using this tactic. When all else fails, dh or I will walk outside for a few minutes to give the little one a chance to calm down and be ready to go back in.

It also depends on your church and if you have a choice of service times. We have three choices for Mass times. When the babies are small, I take them when I know they will sleep. For my youngest, this was the 11 am service. I could count on her to sleep through at least half the service in the sling or in arms. This cut down on the amount of time I would need to distract her. When they don't want to be in arms anymore, dh and I sit apart, creating a nice little area for her to play between us.

We've done this with all three of our girls. With a little patience and planning, it is possible to be GD in church. They are now 7, 6, and 3 and are all very well behaved in church with very few reminders. Even my youngest has no trouble in church anymore. Over Lent, she and I have been going alone to Stations of the Cross on Friday mornings. Twice I was asked to read. She actually sat in the pew right in front of me by herself. She played happily and quietly during the service, even though neither of her parents were right next to her. I got so many compliments on her behavior after the service ended. Had we never taken them, I'm sure none would know how to sit quietly. They learned by going. We are also blessed with a great priest who really doesn't mind the kids in church. He likes to see them. A few times when the littlest was not well, I left her home with dh and took the other two. He asked where his little friend was.
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#25 of 166 Old 04-11-2006, 03:42 PM
 
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mama,
we're serious about church. 3 hours a week, actaully. but neither of my kids can sit for it. My bottom line recomendation- take her out, let her crawl/eat/cry there, and when you're ready to go back in, tell your husband it's his turn! repeat 6-12 months.

Our 13 month old hasn't stayed in a pew more than 10 minutes since Christmastime. I think that's normal for her age. She is certaintly too young to undertand "be quiet" and is a long ways off from developing the mental capacity to control herself even if she understood that order.

Our 3yo is not the type who can sit still and read or color. Maybe your 3yo will
So with him, we're just glad when he stays in our row and is quiet. We can expect that much. but we need toys, snacks, and other kids to keep him busy, and not make him sit, but be on the floor or whatever he needs ot do, as long as he's quiet.

Berkeley mom of 3 and President of Tender Cargo Baby Gear
and The Nurture Center Store and Resource Center 3399 Mt Diablo Bl Lafayette CA 888-998-BABY
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#26 of 166 Old 04-11-2006, 05:05 PM
 
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I nurse mine... I try to keep her awake through the singing part, then during transition to sermon I get her settled into the sling and latch her on... then she nurses and sleeps through the sermon.

About oh, 16-18 mos that stopped working, and for a few months I sat with her in the foyer... there's a tv there to watch what you are missing. There are usually several families in the foyer. By 25 mos, she was sitting nicely in church with me again. She's 27 mos and I manage to keep her reasonably quiet for about half the sermon. About that time, my dh (who is on staff) comes and stands in the back to count heads... I watch to make sure he's done with his count, and then I point him out to her and send her running down the aisle into his arms. He keeps her with him until the end so I can have the last half without wrestling.

Pretty soon we'll have a newborn and she'll either try out the preschool class or my 12yo and 9yo will take over holding her during service.
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#27 of 166 Old 04-11-2006, 05:51 PM
 
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There is no way DS will sit still in church. He doesn't do that at home. We have a Children's Ministry attached to the main santuary.

We haven't tried it yet (heck, we haven't been to church in almost 3 years) because I am afraid of Separation Anxiety...he is always either with me or DH.

I was trying to wait until Age 4. I dunno know....
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#28 of 166 Old 04-11-2006, 07:21 PM
 
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Crying babies and restless children are a *distraction* to others trying to listen to the sermon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by allgirls
God visits noisy places too
I wasn't disputing whether or not God visits noisy or quiet places. When my son became mobile (and vocal), we decided to bring him to the nursery during the sermon....I worked in the nursery, or my husband did, until Kai was comfortable with us leaving him there to play. Once he turned 2 he went to "Sunday school" class and listened to stories about Jesus, sang songs and made crafts.
When I'm in church listening to a sermon, I prefer not to have any distractions. I assume other people like to listen without distractions as well. I know our pastor gets frustrated when people talk, or kids goof around during a sermon.....and I understand why....it's distracting. Just my .02
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#29 of 166 Old 04-11-2006, 08:05 PM
 
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Not all churches have a nursery option. Ours doesn't If my DD gets too noisey I walk with her outside age 3 (we can still hear the mass) I expect some noise from kids but do try to stay respectfull of others with in reason.

Deanna

Wife to DH since August 01 mom to a bubbly girl October 2002 and our newest gal March 2010
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#30 of 166 Old 04-11-2006, 11:03 PM
 
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If you just switched churches and aren't too attached to this one yet...I'd keep looking. I know there are some more child friendly churches out there. I'd think that those people who are bothered by children making noises would be less likely to attend them so it wouldn't be too much of an issue.

There is no way my 19mo would sit through any part of the cermon. He doesn't do toys (what's the matter with my kids??? none of them really have. Unfortunatly that doesn't mean we can just get rid of all those presents of toys they've gotten cause "I play with that ALL THE TIME" ...ok sure....let me brush off the 6 inch layer of dust and you can have it back ), isn't distracted by snacks unless he's truly hungry and he loveslovesloves to explore. The only way I could get him quiet for that whole time would be to start pushing the benadryl Jk!
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