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Toddlers and church

(40 Posts)
practicallyimperfect Sat 14-May-11 21:17:56

I started going to church again just over a year ago, did alpha and became a Christian, as did dh. We attend a local non-denominational (although attached to Baptist church) church. They have a "crèche" at the back of the room (school hall) where you can sit and occupy them. However as ds has got older (20months it is harder to occupy him here.

He runs around a lot, and this has been fine. There are lots more toddlers now, than when we first started going.

We have now moved building, and have been moved into a side room. Ds (and other toddlers also make lots more noise now)

Basically it seems pointless going any more, as all my time is spent chasing him, keeping him in the right part of building, trying to keep him quiet.

Dh has suggested other churches, that maybe have crèches (this idea has been vetoed by our own church elders). Or do I just have to accept that church isn't possible until he is able to sit stiller and quieter?

Magnumwhite Sat 14-May-11 21:54:50

It is harder to do church with a toddler, but its not impossible!
It helps that we have a pretty laid back church led by a father of two toddlers! people are generally very understanding of our toddler and his chirping and wandering and having lunch in the middle of the service. Its a small church that is very much a big family so there's a feeling that small people can behave age appropriately and people are often very happy to lend a supportive hand if you need it. I hope you find a church that can be this kind of family to you. Its worth chatting to the leaders of the church you are in before you make any decision to go just to explain how you feel and see if they can help in any way.
Hope it all works out for you

practicallyimperfect Sat 14-May-11 22:00:17

Thanks. There have been conversations with leaders, but it seems that "they had to do it" so we should. It is difficult because of the new building. The lack of space and acoustics means that toddler noise actually prevents people from hearing.

Dh wants to try a CofE church in the city anyway, they have children's church so we will see.

Magnumwhite Sat 14-May-11 22:07:18

let us know how it goes. I hope you find the right place for you and your family

Waswondering Sat 14-May-11 22:12:30

I've just lost the message I typed!

I think you should try dh's suggestion - not least to see how it's done elsewhere. Then you can feed that back to the leaders of your church with constructive suggestions of how to overcome the children issue (if you choose to remain there).

Our church has a large number of families, with children an integral part. There is a creche/Sunday School for 0 -teens. Creche is in 2 parts - a sleepoing area for prams, and a play area for awake babies. Parents are recalled to creche if they're needed. There are lots of helpers - many are older folks who no longer have babies of their own but love to help out.

All the best - I hope you find a resolution to this.

MsHighwater Sat 14-May-11 22:13:15

Seems a great shame that your church has vetoed the idea of a creche. Our church has one which is very succesful. It depends on how attached your are to this church. Do they have a Sunday School and at what age do children start going to it? This stage won't last forever.

whyme2 Sat 14-May-11 22:18:33

Can you take turns with dh as to who sits out with your ds?

I do know it is hard, we were very keen church attenders until very recently and I managed all 3 of mine through meetings. (No creche). Usually during the singing/worship at the start the dcs could make as much noise as possible join in. Then during quieter times I had a snack box and a few quiet toys or special books. I also tried to time a nap as well.
Otherwise dh and I took it in turns to take them out.

Hope that helps and you find a way to make it work.

imgonnaliveforever Sat 14-May-11 23:26:33

I think you should try and get used to leaving him in the creche. I have 2 dcs 3yo and 21mo, and both attend the creche unsupervised. It did take both of them a little while to get used to it, but you can just instruct the people leading creche to come and get you if your ds is really upset.

I've developd a trick which works quite well when they don't want me to leave: when they rush up and cling to my legs I stay in the creche with them, but stand right at the edge so that if they actually want to play with any of the toys then they have to leave me. Usually only takes a few minutes before the desire for new toys overcomes clinginess to mummy.

cat64 Sat 14-May-11 23:38:02

Message withdrawn

practicallyimperfect Sun 15-May-11 09:32:43

imgonnaliveforever I would love to, but there is no creche to leave him in-between it is simply a room to sit with him, but I have to stay.

We have suggested a creche rota, but would have to arrange it ourselves. There were only 3 couples happy to do that, so it would be one in 3 services. We only meet twice a month, so that still means missing a lot. That is the same reason as taking turns with dh isn't ideal, as then we each only get to worship once a month.

I am happy to take part in something like a rota, but only if it is meaningful.

They have a kids bit for older kids, like Sunday school, but at the moment their see very few in that age range. They also struggle to find people to run that.

We are a bit attached to this church, as they were on our journey etc, and have been so welcoming in many ways. I just don't think they get it. They're children are all grown up now, and I wonder if they have.just forgotten what it is like.

We are going to CofE one this morning, to see what it is like, but I will see if we can make changes at current church.

Waswondering Sun 15-May-11 13:23:10

Re rota - if there are 3 couples - what we do is 3 Sundays on then 6 Sundays off ... would that work for you?

purpleturtle Sun 15-May-11 13:26:47

Plus, you might find that once you get started, others realise that it is actually something they might like to be involved in - or perhaps people will join the church who wouldn't have done without a creche - and your rota will naturally expand.

practicallyimperfect Sun 15-May-11 14:03:25

True, but three Sundays on means 6 weeks without any worship.

Dh really liked the CofE one this morning for other reasons as well as the creche.

I am still going to suggest all parents meet with elders to discuss something. It was wonderful to be able to worship together, listen to the teaching and ds had a great time! If we carried on their I would obviously sign up to rota.

KenDoddsDadsDog Sun 15-May-11 14:09:42

As someone who has just chased a toddler round mass I sympathise! She's not allowed in the children's liturgy until she's two. I do think your elders are a bit short sighted though as it would make things easier for everyone!

cat64 Sun 15-May-11 15:31:11

Message withdrawn

MsHighwater Sun 15-May-11 18:28:21

It might be worthwhile making sure the elders realise that this could lead you to leave the church. If they are not prepared to assist you to make some provision you'll know where you stand with them, at least.

I hope you find your solution.

Of course, you could always go the CofE church on the inbetween Sundays?

thejaffacakesareonme Sun 15-May-11 19:26:12

I sympathise. It's not easy, is it? I'm coming out the other side of the toddler stage as my DS2 is now 3, almost 4 but can remember the days when I found myself thinking what was the point of going to church because I'd be just as well playing with the kids at home because I spent so much time in the church hall. I'd try praying about the whole childcare issue and that God will guide you in your decision making.

My top tips for keeping toddlers quiet are an etch a sketch and lots of food. Raisins in individual boxes / tubs are great as they pick them up individually (or mine did anyway) and so they last for ages. Also, if they spill them they are easily cleaned up. THose little books where you scratch away a picture (not the ones that give off a silvery residue) are also really good for slightly older kids.

blackeyedsusan Mon 16-May-11 14:46:59

Jaffa, not every child is so easily entertained, with dd it worked, with ds it doesn't...

there is a creche room at our church , but no rota, ds wouldn't stay alone anyway, recent traumatic events mean that he is very clingy... it basically involves me sitting in a room on my own with ds .. and not getting a lot of the first bit of the service as i control small children...

pi, stick at it, the more noise toddlers make the more likely they are to arrange a creche... grin

do try other churches in your week off... you never knoww you may find something you like...

thejaffacakesareonme Mon 16-May-11 18:09:16

Oh, it doesn't mean they are quiet all the time, far from it. I've found that if I take quiet things like that I may get to listen to a few minutes of the service from time to time, rather than nothing at all!

catinthehat2 Mon 16-May-11 18:26:28

Basically it seems pointless going any more, as all my time is spent chasing him, keeping him in the right part of building, trying to keep him quiet.

haven't read it all, but surely to goodness you run round one week, DH does the next week etc

practicallyimperfect Mon 16-May-11 19:13:24

Yes cat, but as the church only meets twice a month, then that means one service a month for each of us.

sarahtigh Fri 20-May-11 21:37:48

so why do they only meet twice a month, do they have house group prayer meeting in week which yuo can go to not necesarily alternative weeks as might do a series like you go for 6 weeks while tey do study on luke then Dh went for next study also try go to CofE on alternate weeks, I am afraid which ever church you go too you will miss out a bit as will have to take a turn on creche rota and in any case i think you said DS would not leave you anyhow, it would be easier if you were a christian longer at our church we have a womens bible study in a morning while kids play just chat about stuff and pray let kids get on with it just a if haivng coffee with friends

when ever you have kids most christian families woud say it means half the number of services as either you or Dh need to care for them but definitely think of another church on middle sundays if no midweek meetings either

Beartime Sun 22-May-11 21:30:45

Just a little tip which might help with this. Because DH is a pastor I had to keep all three of my kids in the service with me for a while until we got a bigger church with a creche. At the time they were 4, 2 and 1 or something round there! What I did is brought along one of those big snack a jacks each and gave it to them only when the sermon started which kept them occupied for a while. I then brought a big bagfull of sticker books, colouring books, reading books, lift the flap books, cards with threads to sew thru, magnetic books etc. and then kept them in the seat next to me (or on my lap) switching around between the books. We managed to survive, tho I have to confess I didn't get a whole lot from the sermon, but it was better than being at home because at least I got a little bit, got some fellowship and was able to join in the worship! I think the key was bringing a lot of quiet stuff to do, making them stay in their seats and only getting it out when the sermon started. I know the staying in their seats bit might not work for everyone, but even on the floor hopefully the quiet books would work a bit!

practicallyimperfect Mon 23-May-11 07:04:28

Thanks. There are lots of toys, books and I do bring food, he is just a toddler that likes to run around,.not sit and play.

As to why they meet twice a month, a fee reasons. There are cell groups, but I think it is an organisational thing.

I have no issue being part of a rota for a creche, but at the moment there are only two of us! Going to arrange a meeting with the elders.

gingercurl Mon 23-May-11 19:58:18

I have been following this thread with some interest as I have a DS who will be 4 in August. I'd love to foster him to go to church but at the same time I dread taking him. He does not know how to sit still for more than 3 minutes! I bring quiet toys, food, etc, but like PI's toddler he just wants to run around. And the aisles are so tempting for a little kid to run up and down. If I tell him off or if he notices that I get stressed, he sees it as a challenge to take it up another gear. If I hold him back, he starts to scream and kick. I avoid family worship services as there is no creche during those. ANd even the ones where there is a creche are a bit blush [hm]. Last time I took him, DS said he would be alright in the creche without me, so I left him there to play, but he came back in to the service 3 times during the sermon to either to show me something or to collect his toys to that he could play with them as well. The third time he came in, he told me in a not too quiet voice that he needed a pooh, much to the amusement of the rest of the congregation. They have been and are lovely and tolerant of him but I can't help but feel that they have the right to listen to the sermon without DS interruptions and not to have him running up and down the aisles during the worship and I worry that they will get fed up. So I have to choose between taking him with me and risking him annoying the others there or going on my own and leaving him with my atheist, but tolerant and supportive, DH.
Apologies for long post.

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