How to Survive Church with Children
Every church-going parent has been there at least once (if not numerous times).
It’s quiet—probably prayer time or another somber moment—and your child begins to noisily fill his diaper, throw a fit, or wail for a bottle.
When my oldest was a baby, I remember leaving church mortified that I couldn’t keep him quiet for an hour. For some reason, I mistakenly assumed it was easy for other parents…that I was the only one who struggled when I brought my child to church. I also worried what people thought of my son and me. Were we a distraction?
What I’ve now learned is that we’ve all been there. All parents—even those with calm children who seem content to color for hours—have experienced this same struggle. I’ve also learned it’s okay if children get a bit noisy.
When Jesus walked on this earth, he asked the children to come to him. If he were attending your church now, I believe he would want the same thing.
He wouldn’t care if they caused a distraction or cried because they needed a bottle. He would welcome them, love them, and probably encourage them to climb onto his lap as he spoke.
That being said, I recognize how hard it is for parents to bring their kids to church at times. So I’d like to share a few tips to help you survive church with children.
Church Survival Tips for Parents:
1. Remind yourself that all parents have been there.
2. Bring plenty of snacks and toys to keep your children occupied.
3. Sit near the end of the aisle in case you need to exit quickly.
4. Remember: whatever noise your child is making is probably much louder to you than to anyone else.
5. Don’t forget that you are teaching your child by your example.
As difficult as church can be for parents, it’s so important for us to go because our children are learning from us. They are watching as we worship, tithe, serve, or take communion. By attending church—even when it’s difficult—you are teaching your children just how important it is.
So let’s talk: What other tip would you add to this list?
For those of you in leadership at your congregation, I’d like you to consider how you can make your church more kid-friendly.
Moms and Dads are tired. They want to come to church. (Scratch that…they need to come to church). But they sometimes hesitate because they fear their child will cause a disruption. Here are few things you can do to help.
How Church Leaders Can Help:
1. Offer quality childcare or age-appropriate classes (not for everything but for many of the activities your church offers).
2. Provide a nursing room or place for parents to go with their children where they can still hear and see the message.
3. Reassure parents that their children are welcome—even if they get a little noisy.
4. Childproof your church (or at least the rooms children will use).
5. Try to keep your services at a bearable length for kids.
6. Stop staring at a child making noise (and encourage other leaders to do the same).
Let’s talk: Do you have any other suggestions for church leaders?
Written by Lindsey Bell
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