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:
www.livingwellspendingless.com 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!