It’s Monday which means I’ve got another Parenting Hacks blog post for you to hopefully give you some inspiration to make your life easier.
This weekend our twins celebrated their First Communion. I thought it would be great to write about some things that have helped us keep our kids relatively happy with going to church over the years. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t easy when they were really little and they sometimes gripe about going even now that they are older. That being said, it was important to us to find ways to get us to church most Sundays without strangling our children in the process.
It’s no secret that most kids don’t like sitting still nor staying quiet for long periods of time. We used to have a “church bag” when our kids were younger that had very small, quiet toys and books that our children were only allowed to have during church. I would change the items out on occasion to keep it exciting for them. This usually helped keep them occupied and quiet for at least half of the church service when they were small.
We would also pack a snack which would “eat up” another five to ten minutes.
I also treat them to extra snuggles with mom and trade off children who get to sit on my lap while I “draw circles” on their back. They LOVE this. I don’t know how it started but ever since they were tiny I’ve traced circles (and houses and their names and whatever comes to mind) with my finger on their backs during snuggle time. This carries over to church time. They request different things for me to draw and sit very quietly while I do so. When they complain that they don’t want to go to church I always tell them that I’d be so disappointed to miss out on our special snuggle time. That usually puts a stop to the complaining because they enjoy this as well.
Our church offers donuts after Sunday mass which is golden. The promise of a half a donut if they’re quiet during mass (and pay attention now that they’re older) is powerful for kids that don’t regularly get this treat. Of course following through with the unpleasantness of not allowing this snack for poor behavior is never fun but that’s parenting. If your church doesn’t offer this you can always hit up Dunkin’ Donuts or go out to breakfast afterwards for some extra special family time.
So there you have all my tricks for keeping chaos to a minimum while at church. Here’s a few images I shot from Tyler and Brody’s big day yesterday! John’s uncle is a Priest who had the St. Christopher’s medal blessed in person by the Pope twice. It’s tradition. John has one that he wears while traveling. Hunter has one from four years ago (different Pope) and we’ve already got Greyson’s lined up for three years from now (shhhh, our secret!).