When does taking children to church get easier?!

(43 Posts)
SESthebrave Sun 10-Feb-13 20:48:54

Just needing to offload really I suppose.

I have 3.8yo DS and 8mo DD. I normally take both to our family morning service and sit with the music group (I used to play in the music group pre-DC) and the others that are part of the group are supportive and try to help out. DH wants the children brought up going to church but normally only goes at Christmas and Easter so I muddle through each Sunday morning and take sticker books and colouring for DS and use the Happy Bags the church provide with books in. Each week I feel we cope but I end up focussed on the DC rather than the main reason for us going. I would love DH to come with us but don't want to pressurise him too much so that he becomes resentful.

Today for various reasons we weren't ready in time for the morning service so I suggested to DH that we all went to the 5.30 service. DS really misbehaved though - wanting to run round, slapping DH and pulling his glasses, pulling my hair and being noisy. There is a side chapel where some people with children sit but I'd rather not resort to that as at some point DS will have to learn and it detaches us even more from the reason to be there. I was grateful that DH was there and I didn't have to manage by myself but I fear DH has been put off coming! One not so helpful lady also afterwards came up to me holding DS and said to him "You need to be a good boy when you come to church" and gave me a knowing look that made me feel a completely useless mother.

I guess I'm sleep deprived on top of that thanks to DD waking and lack of lie in this weekend. Just needed to let that all out. If anyone is still reading and cares to say a quick prayer to help my feelings from today's experience pass, for DH to come and support at church a bit more and for it generally to get easier, I@d appreciate it!

Oblomov Mon 25-Feb-13 20:55:08

Ds2, who is 4 and a 'live-wire' is hard work in mass. I think op is being a bit of a martyr and I have no idea why.

DrCoconut Mon 25-Feb-13 20:44:27

DS2 is 22 months and can be hard work. We have an in church creche where little ones can sit and play. Luckily our minister has a 3 year old who is often as lively as DS2 so he says not to worry about any noise. People are generally very accepting of the kids.

MaryBS: I'm with you there! smile
The church we've been part of for the last two years isn't just accepting of DS2, they positively celebrate him. He is always the first to volunteer to go up to the front to help with waving flags, holding something for the vicar during the all-age talk etc. We have had several people say that DS2's openness and obvious enjoyment of the music actually inspires them in their worship.

nickelbabe Wed 13-Feb-13 17:00:57

yeay!
more church! grin

SESthebrave Wed 13-Feb-13 16:54:32

Yes Mary, I think - as with most things - it does depend a bit on the child.

Thank you for everyone's support. It's helped me realise that I need to pursue the lie in sharing with DH, go once a month to the evening service by myself or with just one DC, routinely go to the family service and start DS going to children's liturgy.

smile

MaryBS Wed 13-Feb-13 08:00:24

My DH started to go to church when the kids started saying "why do I have to go, Daddy doesn't!". Depending on the child, it gets easier when they are able to read or take part, generally. If the service isn't child friendly, that makes it harder to integrate them. And for me, it still hasn't got easier at church, but harder, DS is now 11 and sometimes creates havoc (but then he does have SN). I'm beginning to think that the Holy Spirit has been overgenerous with the gift of Joy, when it comes to him! grin grin He is such a happy boy, it just spills out!

SESthebrave Tue 12-Feb-13 22:44:38

Hello Nickel - I'll pop over to chat and say hi smile

I think you're right - I was being too hard on mysf. It was exacerbated by tiredness which never helps get a good perspective now, does it?! I did manage to make it to weekday mass today with just DD as DS was in pre-school, and feel much better for it.

Bakingtins Tue 12-Feb-13 20:00:32

My kids are 6 and 2 and we tend not to take the younger one to the monthly all-age service because there are no Sunday school groups and he can't sit still for an hour, even though the service is aimed at families. On other Sundays they are in for the first 10 mins and then go off to crèche/Sunday school. DH often takes them on his own as I work some Sundays, and some Sundays I sing with the music group. I think he'd be pretty unimpressed if I wanted him to take them so I could have a quiet morning in bed though! I go to the evening service (which is not child friendly) on my own sometimes, is that an option? It can be difficult to gt anything out of it for yourself if all you are doing is crowd control ...

Knowsabitabouteducation Tue 12-Feb-13 19:50:13

We've taken our five children to church from Day 1 and have not found it to be particularly difficult.

One of the things that we have done is to insist on good behaviour (or behaviour that is not annoying to others), and I have made a point of doing this without resorting to snacks.

When they were little, we virtually straitjacketed them into staying still and would thrust a book in front of them. Our church has excellent goody bags with board books and soft toys.

If they are brought up with the expectation of good behaviour in church, they will see it as second nature.

It helps to go to a lively church, with a high standard of children's work. Our children were only in the main service for 20 minutes before going to their own groups. A lot of that 20 minutes was fairly engaging for young children, with lively songs, maybe a baptism, and perhaps something 'fun', (eg a quiz or treasure hunt).

CheerfulYank Tue 12-Feb-13 17:53:32

DH and I used to split up our lie-ins that way (me Saturday, him Sunday) but now we both go to church, so when we get home DH has a nap and I hang out with DS. Although now that DS is older he often gets an hour of TV and DH and I both have a bit of a shag lie down. blush

nickelbabe Tue 12-Feb-13 16:20:40

I actually think, though, that you're worrying too much.

Do you think that others are judging you because your DS is trying to run about?
they're not, you know.

Let your DS go into children's liturgy, and you hang around the music group with DD.
You'll feel a lot less stressed that you've not got both to deal with, and you can concentrate on the service better.
Whe DD was 8 months, she was no hassle at all. She's a bit more lively now, but at least she can hold herself up and entertain herself for a while (while we're doing the anthem after communion, one or two of the ladies in the church take her to their pews so I can concentrate)

nickelbabe Tue 12-Feb-13 16:13:53

SES - get your arse over to chat!
where have you been?!
shock

it gets easier the more you do it, is the only answer.

is Children's Liturgy the same as sunday school?
if there isn't one in your church but they often have loads of children, it might be worth talking to your priest about starting one. (the parents who use it could take turns being "in charge")
then, even if they are supposed to be "part" of the service, they could all sit together at the front for most of the service.

SESthebrave Tue 12-Feb-13 16:08:17

CheerfulYank - it is partly a lie in issue. DH takes DS to Rugbytots on a Saturday morning so I may suggest I have a lie in Saturdays as DD currently will often sleep (other than one or two wakings in the night!) until 8am. DH can then have his lie in Sunday when I go to church. Will need to rethink when I'm back at work end of April though as I will be working Saturday mornings!
The idea of DS getting to go to the playground as a treat if he behaves nicely is a good one too.

Startail Tue 12-Feb-13 15:56:10

It doesn't get easier, DD2 is simply old enough to stay at home.

CheerfulYank Tue 12-Feb-13 15:47:28

I'd tell him you really need him to come with you.

If it's a lie-in issue, he can take the kids somewhere n Saturday morning and you can relax, then Sundays you both go to church, then afterward you take the kids somewhere for a bit and he goes home and relaxes. Would that work? On Sundays after Mass if DS has behaved himself we get coffee and juice and donuts and go to the park. smile

SESthebrave Tue 12-Feb-13 15:39:02

Because I want the children to go too. It would be easier if he were there too but if that's not to be, I think I will make sure I go at least once a month by myself.

seeker Tue 12-Feb-13 13:41:02

SES- why don't you just tell him that you want to go to mass and be able to concentrate, and if he wants the children to go, then he can take them? Then just go by yourself.

Actually I agree with you seeker , in fact I don't think there should be faith schools, however my point for this thread was that whether at a faith school as Ginger suggests or not, in England, for the foreseeable future they will be expected to get used to prayers and assemblies, however I think that is different at church when there may be other more appropriate options. Also as her son will probably be one of the youngest in the year he may find it challenging at school too.

ds is younger than your ds SES and he really enjoys the children's liturgy, it's not just a way of keeping him quiet, so I would go down that route.

SESthebrave Tue 12-Feb-13 07:02:36

DH does have a bit of a cheek as I don't often get any DC free time or lie ins. That's a conversation we need to have!

However going to mass is just more important to me. When we sit with the music group, that works best as he can see what is happening and there are regular, friendly people around us. I will start taking him to Children's Liturgy though and I will look at going once a month on my own or with just DD.

I think this week was just wrong service and I was tired from having been up with DD. I was also pleased that DH was coming with us and hoped that would be repeated. I don't think it will but at least he won't think it's an easy couple of hours for me!

noviceoftheday Tue 12-Feb-13 06:26:18

Your dh has a bit of a cheek doesn't he?!

I have 2dcs, 4 and 1 and I take them to the children's service each week, because it means more to me than dh. He knows he gets the house to himself for a couple of hours so it balances out sometime in the weekend. Both dcs have gone to church since tey were about a week old so it is part of their routine. The worst stage is between 8 months (when mine learned to crawl) and 3. So for the last year, most people see running after ds at some point. Dd is at the point now where a colouring book keeps her amused and she joins in with all the songs. Ds is just stressful.

Our routine is this.....the kids all go out for children's liturgy between the Gloria and the offering. It means. 10 mins in church then just as they're bored we move to the hall. Dd really takes part in the liturgy as its age appropriate from age 3. I run around after ds. We then get back ino church, out come the colouring books and crayons, during the Eucharist I give them a small snack to share (one that is quiet and doesn't leave crumbs). We get up for the our father which they both love because it is sung, then 5 mins later we are on the move up for communion. Colouring books come out again when we get back and 5 mins later we are done!

I now realise that the point of going to church before dcs is so ou know everything off by heart including about 90% of the hymns as I haven't opened any books in almost 4 years!! It's not about me worshipping anymore its about introducing church to the dcs in a fun way. We don't go if we miss the children's service because there everyone is in the same boat. At the later services you get people, especially oaps who have long forgotten what it's like to have young dcs and so are not understanding.

Hope that helps. Lower your expectations, don't go to a stressful service, go armed with distractions and either h should go or you should get some time off later in the day for as a quid pro quo!

seeker Tue 12-Feb-13 05:52:51

"about our dc not being at a faith school, when it was never a realistic choice. Our community school has daily acts of worship, they learn loads about Christianity, and they are expected to pray and sing hymns on a daily basis. It is hardly an athiestic environment or hotbed of pagan activity."

I can't resist a brief aside here- spare a though if you will for those of us who are atheists- or even pagans!. It's our community school too- how do you think it feels for us?

sashh Tue 12-Feb-13 05:45:07

OP

Mass means more to you at the moment than your children. Why not go yourself every week but take the children and dh once a month.

That way they get regular attendance and you also get to go to mass for yourself.

cloutiedumpling Mon 11-Feb-13 22:51:40

Thanks 3birthdaybunnies.

SilentMammoth - your post made me laugh. And I thought three kids was bad enough. I know that "mild tic" feeling well. DS2 used to escape under the pews when I wasn't looking.

Hi op. Ok, I feel for you, I have four dc aged two, three, five and seven and know exactly what you mean.

First off, sounds like you have been doing a stellar job. So dont beat yourself up.

Second, I agree with what another poster said in that it sounds as if your dh is being a bit cheeky and needs to pull his weight.

Third, what some others said, have you considered either trying another church or picking off more appropriate services?

I had a eureka moment last year when I realised only one out of six if us got anything out of family service: the seven year old. Dh spent it in car,listening to radio, I spent it looking as if I had a mild tic as my head flicked around tring to keep an eye on where dd4 had got to, then escorting dd3 out when she got too disruptive at which point dd2 would get upset and run after me. Recipe for stress.

We now skip family service and attend a messy church service on that sunday.

I do hope you find a solution that works for your family.

I stand corrected cloutie, in England they all do, it annoys me when FIL, who knows nothing about non-denominatinal schools, goes on about our dc not being at a faith school, when it was never a realistic choice. Our community school has daily acts of worship, they learn loads about Christianity, and they are expected to pray and sing hymns on a daily basis. It is hardly an athiestic environment or hotbed of pagan activity.

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