The Children’s team has provided some practical ideas for parents to help their child(ren) adjust to staying in the Sunday morning service. This article is closely related to the one found in the March 28th edition of the Newsletter.

Nursery is provided during the worship service for children from birth through preschool. Spring is a nice time to start helping your preschooler stretch the length of time they spend in the service. Don’t know where to start? Here are some tips to help the transition:

Pray for wisdom in the right way to teach your individual child.

Pray with your child for God to help him/her learn to worship God.

-Pray for patience and gentleness.

-Pray for others, that they may not be distracted or distracting.

-Talk to your child(ren) about why we worship God.

-Show them the bulletin and the way the service is structured, so they can understand what will happen.

-Talk about what behavior is expected in the service–it is unrealistic to expect a four-year old child to act like an adult. Set your goals for them with their ability in mind.

-Some families find it easier to sit in the back, while others prefer to sit in the front (fewer distractions)–each family has a different “comfort” area. Experiment with the place that works best for you and your family.

-If you notice your child does pretty well staying through the singing time and then asks to leave, tell him, “Let’s try to stay five more minutes.” Give him a watch and help him know when five minutes will be up.

-Some families bring things to keep the child engaged. Here are some ideas that you could use:

* Designate a church notebook and then each week write a new question in it for them to try to answer. “How did the music make you feel?” During the week you can talk about your answers.
* Give them their own Bible story book or Bible story puzzles to help them participate in a way that is age-appropriate.
* Print clip art or words they might hear for them to listen for and cross off, like “church”, “cross”, “Bible” and “Jesus.”
* Bring a drawing tablet for them to draw the sermon or other things about church.
* Give them (or remind them to bring) their own offering to give during Offertory.
* Learn some of the songs sung in church as a family so they will know the words on Sunday morning.

– If a Sunday is particularly challenging, use good judgement. Perhaps the wise thing this week is to try again later. They will learn. You can have faith in that. Remember, worship is about loving God. That is our goal. 1 Corinthians 13 promises that love never fails.

{Ideas furnished by Kari Weidenaar, co-leader of the Children’s Ministry Team.}