Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pacific NW longing for the Midwest
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Depends on the service. We go to a fairly traditional Lutheran service, and the sermons last 15-25 minutes. That's the amount of time that a child needs to be relatively quiet. The rest of the time is made up of prayers, singing, responses to prayers, giving the handshake of peace, and communion. There's a lot of up and down, congregational responses, etc. That covers a lot of kid movement.
No way could my kids be quiet and still for a full 45 minutes at age 3. I don't think my 6 year old could do that now, and she's a pretty mellow kid. Even now, she and her best friend spend a lot of time playing, going under the pews, drawing, etc. They have to be reminded about every 5 minutes during the sermon to be quiet.
I'll also say that our congregation is very child friendly -- we provide books, etch-a-sketches, magnadoodles and drawing materials in a bin in the back that all the kids can borrow from. There's a children's sermon where the kids go up to the altar. There is a high tolerance for kid noise. And if the child gets too loud, there's either the nursery (staffed by paid attendants who've passed background checks) or parents can take their kids out to the narthex (the area just outside the sanctuary). There are speakers out there that relay what's going on in church so you can hear it.
It might be worth your while to search out churches that appear to be more tolerant of a kid noise during the service. IMO, the welcome your kids get tells you a lot about the values of the church. I feel very blessed to have the older ladies in the congregation tell me "I love seeing your kids in church. They're such good kids," (even when they haven't been all that quiet during church).
Lynn, academic, wife, WOHM to T (4/01) and M (5/04)