By Susan Brown
Family Worship is coming this weekend! Family Worship happens 4 or 5 times throughout the year when KiDSCOR is limited for children ages 4 and under. This is a great time to introduce your children to “the big church.” If your kiddos are like mine, they are probably psyched at the idea of worshiping with mom and dad. And if you are a parent like me, you may be anxious about bringing your kiddos into the sanctuary. Over the past few weeks, I have solicited tips and tricks to make worshipping as a family successful, and I’m here to spread the knowledge.
First, set realistic expectations. Your 5 year old will not be still or silent for the entire service, and the people sitting around you do not expect him to! Children are welcome in church, and I speak from experience when I say our congregation is very loving and gracious about children in worship.
Second, talk about it in advance. Explain to your child that her usual Sunday school teachers are worshipping with their families this weekend. And your family will do the same. Talk through the typical order of service – songs, scripture, sermon and benediction. Make a list and check off the activities as they happen.
Third, make a game plan. Each family that I polled had a different strategy for making Family Worship successful. Here are the most popular:
- Try out Vibe in the Student Center.
- When your child gets fidgety, grab a quiet toy from the back of the room. The toys are different every week and range from building blocks to magna-doodles to etch-a-sketches.
- Bing a snack!
- Sit up front where your child can see what is happening.
- Sit on the aisle where you easily slip out, if needed.
- Put a parent between each child to minimize the chatter between multiple children.
- Allow your child to write and color on the GPS. Bring crayons or colored pencils, or grab crayons and coloring sheets from the KiDS COR welcome center, located across from the bookstore.
- Draw pictures of what they see in the Sanctuary, and then chat about it at lunch after worship.
- Draw pictures or make a list of things God made.
- Draw 8-10 boxes in various colors and ask your child to draw something in each box to match the color. For example, find something blue in the sanctuary and draw it in the blue box. After worship, talk about how each thing is used in worship.
- For readers, make a homemade word search by writing a list of words and have the child circle the words in the bulletin.
- Hold hands with your child, and every time you hear a “secret word,” race to see who can squeeze their hand first. Secret words could be God, Jesus, Bible, etc.
- Bring a Bible for the child. Whether that is a children’s Bible or a standard Bible, kiddos can thumb through the pages, and maybe they will even read it!
- Bring a bag of pipe cleaners and create things with them. Unwrap and start over.
- Keep your phone put away. While there are some children who play games on a cell phone or tablet, now is a great time to teach your child to respect sacred time by leaving electronics turned off.
Lastly, just try it. Your child may surprise you. And if you need to leave before the sermon is over, your family hopefully got something out of your time in worship.
Please join me in prayer. Heavenly Father, as a parent, you have blessed me with amazing children who challenge me at times, but bless me many times as well. Help me to be the parents you want me to be. Help me to raise my children to know You, love You and serve You. Amen.