Monday, May 13, 2013

Family Church

So Brandon and I had this genius idea about a month ago (well actually it was just me but Brandon has helped implement the idea :) So I thought I would share it with everyone.

We moved to Parkersburg almost 4 years ago and we started attending our church at that time too. Our church encourages children to stay in the service and worship as a family. The concept really makes sense to me and I get it but I got to be honest up until a month ago I hated it!! Sometimes there would be a nursery during 2nd service but not always and Teagan and Harper are now both older then 3 so technically they aren't supposed to be in the nursery anyways so we just decided they would stay in the service with us.

For the last 4 years we have been trying all kinds of things.  Snacks, suckers, gum, books, toys, the church "quiet" bag, etc.  They all have left me wanting to scream by the end of church. I felt like the whole service was spent trying to keep my kids quiet and I leave unfilled and have got nothing out of being in the service other then stress and wondering why my kids don't behave or listen. Envious of the parents whose children just quietly sit there perfectly and just plain annoyed.

That was all until my genius idea I had a month ago and I am a little bit afraid to share it with you as it might jinx me. This is what has worked for is the last 4 Sunday's.....

This is what we have finally found works!!!

We give them............


Yep that's right nothing (Genius right??!)

I wish I would have thought of this brilliant idea 4 years ago! The last 4 Sunday's I have left church feeling peace,  and calm and not stressed out. I have been proud of all 3 of my daughters quietly sitting in church not distracted by which crayon they want or which toy fell under the pew, or why does she have more of a snack then I do?

I have actually been able to listen to the sermons!  Amazing huh?!

Now as I think back all this is kind of my fault. All those stressful Sunday's of thinking my children needed some sort of activity to keep them busy and occupied. I am the one who thought they needed all of those things. When in reality they don't need anything!  Sometimes more stuff actually just becomes a distraction. I think we can learn a lot from this. We need to simplify other areas of our lives too.
One blog that has really inspired me to simplify our lives is: and she writes a blog entry on why she took her kids toys away. She is a much better writer then me!

Disclaimer: this idea might not work for everyone and my children are by no means perfect in church now. They are still kids we have still had to step out to the bathroom a time or two (which everyone knows can never be good ;)
But we are learning as a family what works for us and this has decreased stress and distractions for us!


  1. What a smart, simple idea! I've been getting anxious about what church might look like in the years ahead, as I'll be braving the family pew by myself.

    Right now, Sunday mornings are messy and inconsistent, because church still lines up with our son's first nap. I am often present in the sanctuary for the first 15-20 minutes of the service to help lead praise team or some such, while Gabe is in the nursery, but by the time my worship "duties" are over, he's spent, so we go home where he can nap and I can finish listening to the service on the radio.

    I imagine it's only a matter of months before this first nap business becomes history, and at that point, I'm eager to be able to attend a whole church service for the first time in too long!

    I'm wondering, though, if you have any thoughts about how the "give them nothing" idea might work with the toddler crowd. I really, really, really want our Sunday mornings to be simple and worshipful, but I also predict that if I bring Gabe into the sanctuary with me instead of handing him off to the nursery, I will spend the entire service chasing him up and down the aisles...and perhaps up to the pulpit! :)

    This is my first time around, so this is an honest question: Do you think there is a benefit to keeping a child in the church service instead of doing nursery while he's under 2?... Wondering, wondering... and very much hoping to find a straight forward solution that keeps our family's focus on glorifying God and not entertaining ourselves.

    Thanks for this post!

    1. I do feel like there is benefit to keeping him in the service at a young age because he will learn this is what we do and how we behave. It's hard when you have other duties but I would say if you take a book or snack a long don't get it out until the sermon. Usually kids can handle the first part and enjoy the singing. The other suggestion I have heard which I have never tried is starting at home with "blanket" time and just keep moving him back to the blanket every time he gets off and explain its time to sit and play quietly. So then at church or wherever you are You just pull out the blanket and set it on the pew and they already know its quiet time.
      Also I try to remind myself that we are in a season of life that my responsibility is to train my children and role model to them so if I get nothing out of the service I am still being an example for my children which is where God has me at this time.