Taking your child to church for the very first time can be nerve-wracking. You may be concerned that they may disrupt the service and annoy other attendees. It can be difficult for them to understand the concept of faith at this time, but luckily, there is a way to ease them into it over the next few years. Follow our tips for taking your small child to a worship service:
Arriving early will help your child be able to get settled before the service begins. If they are old enough to communicate with you, show them around and explain to them what everything in the church and service is for. Introduce them to the pastor if they have time and if the setting is appropriate.
Sit in the front
You would think it would be best to sit in the back in case you need an escape route for when your child starts crying. However, it is advised instead you sit in the front in front of the choir because this allows the child to see what exactly is going on and be able to process it for themselves. However, you know your child better than anyone else, so if you truly feel that your child is too young for that, you can sit near an exit if you feel more comfortable doing so.
Bring a pacifier
Many people do not bring babies to church for fear of judgment. As we all know, a pacifier is just one of the many ways to settle a baby or toddler down.
Bring silent toys only
Leave the noisy rattling toys at home so that they will not further disrupt the service. If you don’t have any, here is a great list of them that you can order.
Bring along a small, healthy snack
Fruits or vegetables are most ideal. This will ensure there aren’t any messy crumbs left behind for the church staff to have to clean.
Bring another adult along if possible
Your spouse or another adult like grandma can take turns taking the child outside when they need a break, whether it be for crying or for a diaper change.
Consider going on a less crowded day to ease them in
Most people go to church on Sunday mornings for obvious reasons, but your child may not be ready for church in large crowds. This can also help if you are really that worried about them acting up and annoying others.
Practice going to church at home
Here’s another thing you can do with tots who have basic communication skills: “play church” at home to get them prepared for the big day. This will ease them in and make them feel much less nervous.
Consider enrolling them in a faith program for children
Being able to interact with other children and have a teacher explain these concepts of faith on a level that they will understand may be highly beneficial. If you church does not have one, you can always look for nearby Sunday schools or summer camps for your child to get immersed in and truly enjoy.