To the Parents of young children, may we suggest…
- Treasure the Lord’s Day and prepare appropriately.
– Go to bed on time on Saturday nights.
– Lay out Sunday morning clothes the night before.
– Wake up on Sunday morning with plenty of time to avoid rushing.
– Use the car-ride to church to prepare the way for worship.
- Relax! God put the wiggle in children; don’t feel you have to totally suppress it in God’s house. Bringing your children into corporate worship is not always easy, but we hope you envision the benefits of this weekly encounter with God in the person of Christ by His Word and by the Spirit.
- Avoid distractions. Sit toward the front where it is easier for your little ones to see and hear what’s going on. Use discernment as to whether bringing extra items is actually beneficial. Crayons, reading books, or toys can become unneeded distractions. Your goal is not just to train your child to be quiet and still, but to participate in worship.
- Quietly explain the parts of the service. Whisper in your child’s ear how much you love a certain Bible verse or hymn; or whisper a question about the sermon to pique their interest or help them listen for an answer.
- Sing the hymns, use your Bible, pray, take notes, voice responses. Children learn behavior by copying you. Model before them the joy of worship. Pray that God fills them with the same delight you yourself experience in worshiping the Sovereign God of the universe. And if you lack in that delight, then may you seek God and plead with Him to work in you, that your delight might be a means by which He sparks faith-filled interest in your children.
- If you need to leave the service with a crying or disobedient child, feel free to do so. Hopefully, with a little comfort, talking, or discipline, a child may reenter the service. We fully understand that infants and toddlers need more attention, and young ones need consistent training. But persevere. Many parents feel as though they haven’t actually experienced an uninterrupted worship service for months. It is hard in the moment, but rewarding in the long-run.
- On the ride home affirm your children. Encourage them if they behaved well and let them know how you enjoyed worshiping alongside them. Talk about the service on the way home. Be patient with your children and shower them with grace not shame.
- And, finally, be patient with yourself. Your child’s ability to sit still or not sit still is not a final commentary upon your parenting ability. Your child’s embracing of worship or not embracing of worship does not signify you are doing things right or wrong. You cannot determine the outcome. Your job is simply to remain faithful and diligent. No mother or father can ensure their children will believe on Christ and be saved. The Holy Spirit must sovereignly move in their hearts. Keep looking to your Heavenly Father, who loves you even more than you love your own children.
To the Members of our church,
- The presence of children is a gift to the Church and they are a reminder of God’s faithfulness.
- Remember that the way we welcome children in church directly affects the way they respond to the Church, to God, and to one another. Let them know that they are at home in this house of worship. If a baby fusses a little, a few papers rustle, or some items drop on the floor, it’s alright.
- Please welcome our children and give a smile of encouragement to their parents. Be willing to sit beside young families and lend a helping hand.
* Many of the above suggestions are from “Let the Children Worship” by Jason Helopoulos, Christian Focus Publications, 2016.