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Taking toddlers to church

(90 Posts)
naughtylist Tue 24-Dec-13 23:38:06

This evening, I thought it would be lovely to take the children to church for a christmas carol service.

We were welcomed beautifully but after 15 minutes dd age 3 started yelling 'time to go home home now' loudly. I'm there whispering 'shhhhhhhhhh', 'you are being naughty', and finally 'I am telling Santa'. Vicar announces to everyone (obv because of us) 'those of you here with young children, don't bother trying to keep them quiet or still as it's impossible'. I think this lovely of them but am accutely aware DD really is probably ruining it for everyone else.

Then, just as I was thinking of ushering DD out, a lovely lady came over with some toys to keep DD entertained. Kept her quiet for next 15 mins.

Then came the Christingle ceremony. Kids are presented with oranges stuffed with sweets and fruit. Oranges are then lit and we are to stand in a circle singing. All very lovely until they insist on lighting the candle on DD age 3's candle despite me saying it wasn't wise. Next few minutes should have been like a lovely christmas film with us holding candles singling 'silent night' but it wasn't. DD could not hold cristingle safely obvioulsy so I put my hand on it to help. DD started screaming 'no mummy, it my orange, stop helping me'. Glanced accross to DD age 5 who was lovingly singing holding candlelit orange extremely close to her hair. Hollered accross the room to warn her. Sorted her out and then dd age 3 became hysterical 'it my orange' and 'you naughty mummy' over and over again until the service finished.

At the end, the vicar said it was lovely to see all the new faces and she hoped we would come back. Do they really mean this?

FudgefaceMcZ Tue 24-Dec-13 23:47:27

If it was a christingle service, they are usually aimed at least in part towards children so it was perfectly fine. Churches vary (reading things on here) in how accepting they are of young kids but most I've been to have been very kind and inclusive of toddlers, so I think you're fine! We went to christingle today and they gave out dolls to all the kids to put one on the crib, 4yo dd got baby jesus and spent 10 minutes fiddling with his halo before deciding she was 'too shy' to go up and put him in (is usually a total show off). Apparently they'd had one incident in the local group of churches with a girl burning her fringe with the candle but generally I think they use such small ones it's not too risky.

FudgefaceMcZ Tue 24-Dec-13 23:48:12

(So yes, they do mean it, and would probably love if you went back on whatever regularity you wish).

seafoodudon Tue 24-Dec-13 23:49:14

Yes. They meant it.

RodneyTheChristmasElf Tue 24-Dec-13 23:50:03

They should mean it. Jesus calls everyone to him just as they are, toddlers too.

Wolfiefan Tue 24-Dec-13 23:50:18

They sound lovely.
Your kids sound sweet too!
I'm sure they'd love to see you in future. (I take a bag if toys, colouring books and a little snack!)

holycowwhatnow Tue 24-Dec-13 23:52:39

That sounds like a lovely vicar and a lovely service. My 3 year old will neither sit still nor be quiet in any situation and I'd love the priest in my church to say something lovely like that. Might make me want to go more often.

JollySantersSelectionBox Tue 24-Dec-13 23:52:57

Weren't there any old bags in the congregation??? grin

Sounds like a lovely welcoming church. I wouldn't sweat it op. perhaps just have a chat with LO about what she should expect to happen in church before you go next time? I always found it easier to manage DS's expectations before things like this.

JemimaMuddledUp Tue 24-Dec-13 23:53:53

The Christingle service is for families, including boisterous toddlers. So yes, they really did mean that you were welcome.

Never mind toddlers, my 9 year old DS managed to set the card around his candle alight at the carol service this afternoon when it burnt too low. Cue me hotfooting it back down the aisle halfway through Oh Come All Ye Faithful in order to extinguish the flames in a puddle in the churchyard fblush

The vicar laughed about it afterwards and gave the DC a chocolate each.

AntiJamDidi Tue 24-Dec-13 23:54:29

Yes. They mean it. They'd love to see you as often as you want to go.

We had a little boy run up onto the altar and race around the pulpit giggling hysterically, constantly keeping the pulpit between him and his mum. She was horrified and said she'd never bring him again. We were all perfectly happy to welcome them back every week, he's now learnt how to behave in church and he is dd2's "best friend" , she can't wait to get to church each week to see him.

BrandiBroke Tue 24-Dec-13 23:55:06

They mean it. My vicar, and all the parishioners, would love more families with children to come to church. All the old ladies at my church love seeing the children at our regular Christening services, but none of the families ever come back again. Most of the parishioners will have had children and, as long as you don't totally let them run amok, will be very understanding of their behaviour.

treaclesoda Tue 24-Dec-13 23:56:35

yes, they mean it, hope you enjoyed the service. smile

LimeLeaafLizard Tue 24-Dec-13 23:58:35

Yes they mean it and they do sound lovely.

Funnily enough I also went to a Christingle service and had similar issues with the oranges. Within minutes all the kids close by me had eaten all the sweets and rearranged the toothpicks used to hold said sweets in place into different patterns to make bombs / death stars etc.

Then after they were lit an old lady in the pew behind luckily spotted DS1 about to set his hymn sheet on fire and stopped him whilst I was still focussed on DS2.

Luckily there aren't usually any christingle oranges.

Zipitydooda Wed 25-Dec-13 00:04:47

Your post reminded me of this lovely blog I read a while ago

JemimaMuddledUp Wed 25-Dec-13 00:08:35

That is a lovely blog post Zipity

naughtylist Wed 25-Dec-13 00:20:41

That is lovely Zipity... Gives me food for thought despite the mortifying matters of the evening.

meditrina Wed 25-Dec-13 00:26:01

Don't feel mortified. The vicar meant it.

All are welcome, and normal toddler antics really aren't a problem, especially at family services such as all the main Christmas ones.

mamadoc Wed 25-Dec-13 00:29:50

Took DS age 2.5 to his 1st christingle today and he spent the whole service pointing the (fortunately unlit) candle in its holder at various members of the congregation like a gun and shouting 'I blasting you'. Attempts to gently remove it went perilously close to provoking a massive tantrum so I let him carry on and barring some sniggers people seemed ok with it.

NurseRoscoe Wed 25-Dec-13 01:02:32

Hence why I will be waiting until both my children are school age before I do anything not a million percent essential that involves them behaving themselves in public.

My two year old would of shouted 'HI MAN!!!' at the vicar repeatedly until he was acknowledged or called some random person a bog rat at the top of his voice, I definitely feel your pain OP!

foslady Wed 25-Dec-13 01:08:53

This is a childrens service - we went tonightand I love tohear the excited children chat about what's happening, your dd wouldhave made the service for me!
Happy Christmas!

Christmas2013 Wed 25-Dec-13 01:11:39

I would agree that the vicar absolutely meant it.
At the church where I previously lived the kids all charged about and played together during the noisy bits - we had a full on band with drum kit so you could barely hear them anyway - and there was a crèche/Sunday school for the quiet sermony bit but no-one minded if some if the kids wanted to stay with their parents through this.
Thinking about it, it was probably my first exposure to small children and I loved seeing the way they played together, big ones looking after little ones and so on and the way they changed and grew up from week to week.
I'm sure that many people in this church would love to see you and your kids again and you would absolutely be welcome.

BackforGood Wed 25-Dec-13 01:22:35

Yes they meant it. Perhaps not had it been a more solemn service of lessons and carols or such, but clearly this was aimed at the dc.
We have a 'Crib Service' on Christmas Eve afternoon, which is especially for U11s and is fab - with volunteers coming out to have crowns or tea towels placed on their heads and everyone being given percussion instruments to play. It's not for everyone, so those who prefer a calmer service can choose another one to go to. I love both, tbh.

sanssoleil Wed 25-Dec-13 01:22:58

The vicar was genuine

There are services now calledmessychurch that are designed to be inclusive to parents with young children

Kirk1 Wed 25-Dec-13 01:24:30

Absolutely they mean it!

You should have seen our service this evening - we had a group of girls in shiny red dresses dancing in one corner, DD complained that the girls in front of her never shut up, toddlers all over the place including one who was wandering about with a pencil making holes in her order of service.

DS2's friend (They're both age 2) ate all his christingle sweets before the "candle" went onto his orange. Maybe for next year you can suggest our church's safety feature - our candles were glow-sticks so no worries about fire. I'm not a believer but I do love being part of the carol service and despite the chaos, it absolutely is a children's service!

pixiepotter Wed 25-Dec-13 01:37:20

i managed to set my then two year olds hair on fire at a christingle by holding it for them. But i ao the only person i have ever heard oe doing this , even the tinies at our church hole their own lit christingle

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