Training Your Children to Sit in Big Church

Training Your Children to Sit in Big Church

Written By TheJoyFilledWife

I just read your post on children going into the sanctuary. Did you know that we’ve always had our children in church with us since day one? We’ve had a church or two that we’ve visited while traveling the country actually tell us that we are not allowed in the sanctuary if any children are with us, and that they are required to be in children’s church because the pastors find it distracting to hear any noise coming from children?

Needless to say, we left and found another church to visit that Sunday. We’ve also had a couple of churches we’ve visited while traveling that would separate families who have their children with them to a different building from the regular sanctuary for the same reason. Is the congregation there for the pastor or the pastor for the congregation?

We trained our children to sit quietly through the hour and a half service and to fully enjoy worship. We tell them we will ask them what they learned from the pastor after church and it’s neat to hear their takeaways. We have worked (and continue to work with our littlest ones who are struggling to stay still) at home for increasing amounts of time to sit still in a chair. We increase the amount of time each time we practice and it’s a great way to train them!

For the kids who can’t write yet but can color, we allow them to draw a picture of something the pastor says so it will help them remember what to share after church. If the child can read and write, they need to take notes about the sermon. I don’t want them just drawing random pictures of other things and not focusing on the sermon, so what they write or draw needs to show that they were listening respectfully to the pastor’s message. A parent will have the greatest success with this if they take the time to train them at home and set the expectation for when they are at church.

With the babies, we have them in church with us. I feed them before I go in, nurse them in the nursing mom’s room so I can still hear the sermon, or sit in the back with big nursing cover.

People come up to us after church every Sunday and are dumbfounded that we had so many children with us in church and nobody even knew until afterwards when they stood up because they were so quiet and respectful. And all of our children are very high energy. We don’t have a laid-back kid in the bunch!

We find it important for children to learn to rise to the level of adult wisdom and understanding as early as possible, just as we do in daily conversation (all of our children are articulate for their ages). We also are responsible for what they are learning spiritually and we cannot know what is being said or the personal convictions of the person teaching Sunday School. If someone is off-base biblically, we would never know if we are not there to teach our child the truth.

All of our kids LOVE going to church and they ask us all week how many days until Sunday. These are children who have spent every Sunday of their lives in the Sanctuary, without games and children’s lessons. I am not against children’s lessons as we have many biblical books for kids, but they sure get more truth and impactful conversation by just walking through the Word with us daily, unedited, and uncensored. It has made our relationship with them so richly blessed.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6

12 thoughts on “Training Your Children to Sit in Big Church

  1. You know my husband and I are struggling with infertility…5th IUI results are in…not pregnant

    Anyways…I always look at clothing and dresses…and I love (sorta-eh) fashion bloggers. But two fashion bloggers I follow are in their mid-30s now…No Children (of course…they are too vain!) and it’s like looking at little demons in pretty dresses. There’s something very ‘off’ about a woman when she becomes too materialistic. On one hand I’m jealous of the photos they take and clothing they wear, but on the other hand…I’m not jealous of the ‘Lack of Goodness/Innocence/Kindness’ in their eyes….

    Anyways…so I read this post and I thought…There’s something I want more than dresses and pretty pictures…

    I want this…

    “People come up to us after church every Sunday and are dumbfounded that we had so many children with us in church and nobody even knew until afterwards when they stood up because they were so quiet and respectful.”

  2. This is wonderful. I love the idea of drawing something that will remind them of what they learned and having that conversation after church! What awesome ideas! My little guy is only 15mts, so the hardest thing is trying to keep him from wanting down, or not making a ton of noise when he gets tired. I have to keep reminding myself it’s only a stage. But I’d love tips for the young ones!! Our church doesn’t have a childrens church and I’m so thankful, but we also dont have a spot to go that I can hear service while my child is being a grump!!

  3. Could you ask your pastor if they could upload the sermons onto their website, for people who may have missed a service due to illness or to listen to later in the week? Just a thought, as that is what our church does.

  4. I have never understood the need for nursery at church. The parents’ responsibility for training a child in the way he should go does not stop during church services. Church is not a time for parents to get a “break” for an hour and a half. Church time is one of the most important times to practice child rearing by example.

  5. My children have always been in church with me (and hubby, when he was going). I had small, quiet toys in my handbag for them to play with and little snacks like boxes of raisins. When they made a small noise nobody minded, as everyone else either had small children too, or had them once. Tolerance, patience and kindness are all fruits of the spirit that I see practiced by God’s people in my church.
    When I was at church without my husband with my 3 children all under 4 and struggling to keep them quiet, getting frustrated in the process, one of our beautiful preachers reminded me that God made mother’s and He understands. It made everything so much better.

  6. We have eight children and we keep them in the service. We are the only ones who do that in this new church. We have attended a family integrated church before and that was lovely because the children were “allowed” to stay in the service and be a part. Babies were encouraged to “use the nursery” but we still had them on our laps. My one year old and 3 year old boys wiggle and the one year old, especially, is fussy by sermon time, but I try to take him out, quiet him down and return. I know this is a short window of time when he will not be as quiet as his siblings. I do find training the little ones to sit still challenging.

  7. This is what my husband and I have done. We have had our kids with us in the service from day 1.
    Doing practice sessions at home teaching them to sit quietly works wonders. We have 3 kids under 4 and people are always commenting on how wonderfully well behaved they are.

  8. As a child .My Uncle took me to church with him. He always said that we would talk on the way home so please listen and when you find yourself getting restless, try harder. I have kept that piece of advice as a mantra my whole life ( I’m 40 now) He always talked to me about my interpretation of what was said at church. I loved seeing all the children and parents come in together and social hour after was always the high light of my week.

  9. I am trying my best to teach my now three year old to sit still in church. We recently went to a church who said they are okay with our son in the worship service but unfortunately, he was too busy and loud for the older generation.

    Does anyone have a book to reference how to teach children to sit still?

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