At What Age Should Children Attend A Place of Worship?

I have gotten this question several times in The Parenting Passageway email, so I looked up this exact question on the Internet.  Honestly, I  didn’t find much about this topic other than a few message board questions and an article about taking your child out into the hall of the church and PADDLING them when they misbehave!  (Really?! Insert my look of complete and utter HORROR here!!)

I am sure the way parents feel about this are going to be all over the map, but I thought I would throw a few things out there about this topic and maybe you all can add your experiences and thoughts to the comment section below………

I think if having a community of faith is  really  important to you, truly important to the family,   then you will make it work.  I don’t think it is so much the age of the child as it is the commitment and feeling of the parents.  If you,  as a parent,  feel so comfortable in your place of worship, that this is the place that helps you to be and become a better human being, that this is a place  of love and warmth and community, then your child will feel that as well and you will help guide your child as to the appropriate behavior and actions for that place and time.

My current personal case in point is our little fifteen month old who has no choice about attending church.  He has to go because we can’t leave him home with the dog, LOL.  He doesn’t understand the liturgy or notice the colors of the church changing with the liturgical seasons.  He doesn’t have the prayers or responses memorized.

But I think he knows this place that we go to twice a week.  He knows it is a place where the  adults love him and there is music and beauty and wonderful smells.  It is the place where every week  he is smothered in kisses by my African American friend as she says, “If he grows up to marry a black woman, this will be why!” and kisses him until he falls over laughing.  This is the place where my Polish friend speaks to him in Polish and helps me chase him down the hall.  It is the place where he hangs out in the choir room as we watch his big sisters practice singing (and the place he runs down the hallway to if he escapes out of anyone’s arms!  And then he stands there utterly disappointed if no one is singing at the time).  It is the place of meals, and the place of The Plastic Popcorn Popper  in the nursery that can sometimes entertain him for up to ten minutes as I quietly run in and out of the mass to hear his sisters sing in focused concentration and then pick him right back up again.  I think he knows there is something special and wonderful about this beautiful place where silence is respected but the people still have a twinkle in their eye and a love for the smallest of God’s kingdom.

Don’t get me wrong.  Getting small children to a place of worship, at least in my household, is no easy task.  Take Sunday – I forgot the baby’s shoes and my husband had to drop us off and go home for them, there were the inevitable tears surrounding The Doing of The Hair, the inevitable tension of trying to get to church early for the oldest to practice singing in the choir for the mass,  the waiting impatiently of the other children whilst the older one practiced.  On the car ride home, there was the loud singing  with the even  louder antagonizing remarks between siblings  and even the baby joined in with loud screams just to be heard over the din.  It was like watching our own circus and  my husband and I just laughed until I had tears rolling down my face.  (I think you had to be there to hear the comments Smile) With small children and a place of worship one needs to have a sense of humor, just like one needs to have with small children and life!

So, that leads me to this next point:  one needs to find a place of worship that understands and respects children.  A place where the leaders of the place of worship have a twinkle in their eye when dealing with families and children, a place where the people you attend services with have not forgotten about this task of raising small children, a place where the educational programs and activities take into account the developmental stages of the children. 

So, perhaps it is not so much the age, but how you feel on the inside regarding the doing of your spiritual life, and the place of worship itself and how they view small children.

Looking forward to hearing what all of you think, and sharing any FUNNY stories about your children in your place of worship would be a wonderful way to brighten up this day that is so cold and dreary around much of the U.S.!

Much love and many blessings,

Carrie

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31 thoughts on “At What Age Should Children Attend A Place of Worship?

  1. as an infant, my son was very welcome in our church during the worship service. All the members kept asking me ‘did you drug your son? all he ever does is sleep!’

    around 6 months he started waking up more often, and as we attended nearly every sunday, he picked up more church lingo first. : ) Amen and Alleluia were two of his first words – as well as ‘hi-iii!’

    funny story? Oh, my husband and I were in a meeting with a friend and while nursing my son popped off and looked up at me, and without pausing, smiled and said ‘Alleluia!’ and went right back to nursing again. My thoughts exactly!

  2. This post is soooooo timely! The church we belong to has intentional age appropriate programming for my two year old but the main service is such that she is engaged for about two minutes. While she was a bit younger we would not participate during divine service but now I’ve begun to miss it and we are trying to get her to hang in there until it’s over. . .

    It’s just encouraging to know that I’m not the only one. Thanks sooo much!

  3. how wonderful to read your description of our church!
    it is the one i attended as a child, and my parents still go, as do many of the people i remember from being young.
    Holy Holy was Ursula’s first song, and she has been beside the minister as he served communion. children are celebrated.
    again, i am so glad you are here and sharing as you do. your thoughtful and prayerful approach to life shines through your writing, and i appreciate it.
    carry on!

  4. I think taking kids to church is a bit like trying to train a cat or keep fleas in a bucket. We do showers the night before, lay out clothes, assign the boys to tie each other’s ties, Ellie does her own hair unless she’s willing to get up when I do, Sam and Daddy pair up to get dressed and we are usually out the door about 3 minutes before the opening prayer, lol… thankfully we are a 2 minute walk from church.

    I do agree that you need a kid friendly atmosphere. I always take a snack for Sam (prepared the night before) and he has his own bag with his own set of scriptures and a Noah’s Ark magnetic game. He has little pad of paper and some Stockmar crayons… we take a few picture books and he climbs into my lap and I whisper the story to him.

    I honestly think that if you start church with kids from the beginning you’ll have an easier go of it. My big kids didn’t go regularly until we converted back to Christianity so they were 4, 6 and 8. They loved having friends in Sunday school and seeing people each week. Sam has been going since he was days old so it is a happy day for him when he realizes it is Sunday.

    I do think that if Mom and Dad are comfortable then the kids will be too.

    Great topic! Blessings.

  5. Again, Carrie, you are right on the mark. Thank God for you. Your words give me joy! Thanks for reminding me to laugh as the “Getting the Six and a Half Year Old” dressed, which, of course, he can do all by himself, but insists on asking me if it’s alright to wear orange and red together or black and brown. Now I know to respond, “It’s great, good job.” or endure the melt down! (I’ll save the fashion advice for an older age.)

    Our funniest moments in church (and both our children — 6 1/2 & 2 — have done it now), are when the whole church is in quiet prayer and they say in their normal kid’s voice (which is a little louder than normal, of course), “Is it time to go, yet?” which usually brings a few chuckles from the congregation and a little smile from the priest.

    Blessings to you and thanks for all your wonderful posts!

    Kristin

  6. My daughter has been attending church since she was a week old. At 9 1/2 months she is the darling of the congregation. We have no crying room at our church and now that Ginger is crawling it is hard to contain her for the full hour; but we are encouraged by everyone (the rector included) to just let her go. People know to pick up their handbags and guard their pew bulletins. We bribe her to keep still for as much of the service as we can with rusks, a sippy cup of water or expressed milk and books and toys. Doesn’t always work – last week she babbled very loudly through the entire sermon; not unhappy just participating.

    We almost always run late for church because we have an early service that is around Ginger’s feed time and falls during her morning nap. She slept through services for about the first 3 months and the first time we walked in and she was awake the rector stopped mid sentence (the service had already started) and said “look Ginger is awake”. So much for sneaking in.

    I think churches love having young babies – the children come up and shake Ginger’s hand during the passing of the peace, older parishners make beelines across the room to say hello to her, sometimes she is even borne off by the greeters before we get in the door. The rector tailors her blessing each week to what she is doing during the service – ie. “watch over you as you crawl”!

    I think the role our parish is playing in her life is particularly important given we are a military family living nowhere near relatives. She would miss a lot of community interaction and care if we weren’t church goers.

  7. Thank you for the lovely description of a church home for children. :)

    Just this Sunday, my 4-year-old out of the blue asked my husband, out loud in the service, “Can you put hand gel on your wart?” I’m sure at least the 5 pews around us could hear it. :)

  8. I feel the same as you. Besides, if I don’t take my children to church, how will they ever learn how to behave in church? We attend 3 hours of church once a week, the children are in class for 2 hours, and then everyone comes together for an hour service. “Nursery” starts at age 18 months, but up until that time infants stay with their parents (and are generally loved on by anyone who can reach them!) I admit, around 15 months I often wonder “Why am I here??” when I’m chasing a rowdy toddler down the hall instead of listening to class, but I’m there so that my rowdy toddler knows that no matter what, we go every week.

  9. … always amused with how my random visits to your blog result in reading great topics! We have gone to the Russian Orthodox Church on and off, depending on nap times and overstimulation concerns (30 minutes one way car ride…) – we are blessed here with a tiny congregation that basically runs the little church – singing, cleaning, adorning, participating in all aspects of the service. Children nurse during service, climb in arms (there is no sitting allowed in Russian Church, only during few parts of the service – there are no benches but just a few seats in the room) – children play on the floor under the feet of adults, they leave and go to the little room to color and leaf through books – it is very friendly (and different from my experience in church in my home country where scolding for anything whatsoever seems typical, not to mention nursing and sitting on the floor!) –
    in early days (before my son was 2) it was sweet but seemed utterly overwhelming for him. Now we resumed after one year of break (he is 2.5) I can see how much more joyful it is for him and me. He relates to the candles on the altar – we have those at home. He likes to look at the icons, as they contain angels, mother, baby…. his universe contains them too. He loves seeing little boys serving in the altar – cutting “bread” for communion (his mother makes bread… he has a butter knife and loves to cut to participate in cooking) – it seems a lot more delightful to him, especially since he is not trying not to fall asleep – when he was younger, his naps were earlier and he could barely function! I very much agree with your post and with joy of child’s family and tribe that s/he can experience – but for me certain physical realities were still a hamper in having quality time in church. Fun stories? Perhaps when my 8-months old son chewed on priest’s large silver crucifix pendant during his 1.5 hr-long baptismal service – that was really the only way to stay awake and keep the teething gums in order! The priest loved it; so we stood there linked with the silver pendant – i love this memory.

  10. We have recently moved and we have found the most wonderful church community in our new city. At our old church it was like pulling teeth to get my oldest son there (but we couldn’t change churches as my husband was the rector) – the people loved children, but did not always know how to help them worship — they preferred to help them misbehave. But at our new church my oldest son loves going because the boys trade legos after church. My younger son (4) loves to go and wave flags with the ligurgical dancers at the back. My 13 month old loves the nursery where they read a bible story book, sing songs and feed her a wonderful snack of raisin bread, cheese and apples every week.

    Over Christmas when we went to my in-laws church while we were visiting, I took my 13 month old to the nursery there. A mom was getting her boys ready to leave early, and she had a rubbermaid container filled with sandwiches for her children that looked JUST LIKE the ones that contain raisin bread in our home church. When my daughter saw her walk by and not offer any, she started to cry. She knows her church routine.

  11. I just love this post Carrie. And doesn’t it apply to almost every situation where our children join us! Life is made more joyful for us mothers, fathers and children when surrounded by a whole community that respects the stage and age, and just life itself.
    What a beautiful beautiful image of your family’s sunday- thank you for sharing.

  12. I have attended Mass almost my whole life and been inside a lot of different churches. A few things I know… There will be poor sad souls who think children belong elsewhere, to them I say show extra love and remember it’s a community, young, old, grumpy, joyful. Each visit will undoubtably be different, to this we just go with the flow (and yes, I have had to leave the sanctuary on several occasions) really accept things as they are. I whisper to my littlest ones a lot during the Mass, pointing to things, there are sooo many things to look at. For my preschoolers I had a Mass Bag full of Stickers, tiny pencils, tiny soft finger puppets, and books. I found pulling this out of my bag during the very quiet parts of the Mass was successful. I have witnessed my pew climbing, altar creeping, floor laying son mature into a now seven year old who can actually sit next to me, and often cuddles up to my side, for the whole Mass. Anyway, who doesn’t love to hear the innocent words of a child during a loooooong homily ring out, “Is it almost over?” We’re all thinking it, you know it! Humor is good too :-)

  13. God is so good! i have prayed or years to find a church that was right for me ( and my young family ). We finally found one and are so happy we did. I think the key is drawing close to God – He will lead you to what is best for your family. If you don’t know where to start – start with prayer. It worked for me. :)

  14. Great post! I am a musician in a Lutheran congregation, and both of my kids are there all. the. time. I homeschool, so they have to come with me when I work, and they’ve been to worship every week since they were little tiny babies. I believe that they are learning about worship from those first weeks … learning the rhythm of the service, the sounds and the smells. Both kids could say and sing the Lord’s Prayer before they were two, and they’ve learned most of the rest of the liturgy as well.

    Our congregation has made a concerted effort to include children. I moved ADULT choir rehearsal so that we could have a more convenient time to work with children’s choirs, and I spend time each Sunday with the Sunday School kids. Before I got there, SS music consisted of someone hitting the button on a cd player and the kids singing karaoke. Ack! I sing with them, leading with just my voice, and they have learned lots of hymns and liturgy. The congregational also provides quiet bags with coloring pages, puzzles and other toys for kids too young to pay attention to the sermon. Sometimes they should give those to the adults …

    Life in our congregation has enriched our family’s life so much. Our families don’t live close by, so those people are “family” to our kids. And the rhythm of the liturgical church year provides a wonderful way to organize our lives.

  15. Thanks for this post! I really love your ideas on this. We have always found that when the church we attend respects the child for the developmental stage they are in and whole-heartedly LOVES them just for being present… this helps us to want to keep going. We have been to places where we are told to let our small children “cry it out” to be left in nursery and we were made to feel as if this was the only right way (not how I see it!). Although we had to move, our last church was a great place…where the loud, heartfelt and off-tone singing of children and even dancing in the aisles was welcomed, where the youngest were smiled upon by the oldest and there was an understanding that sometimes kids just “need their mamas”. These are places where I have felt, even when the kids were small, that church was a nurturing and safe place for us all. Still looking for that place in our new area….

  16. I would love to find a church that welcomed kids. All the churches I’ve been to (except one that where we lived only briefly) have had a separation of children and adults.

    I think the best way to go is to find a small church, because they won’t have all the “programs” for kids to separate them, so they have to tolerate children.

  17. We’ve been to church as a family only a handful of times, and it is something I would like to be a part of our life, but there are a few things that make it a challenge for us. Since our second child was born over 2 years ago we have been to church about 3 times. My husband travels very much and is in a very stressful job that requires many long hours. So weekends are very rarely “weekends” for us. And even if he is available to relax and spend part of the day, I believe he has no real desire anymore to spend the morning going to church – he would rather make breakfast with the girls and play with them, or go out for a hike or bike ride or sledding with them. Church, at this point at least, would be one more stressful thing to do.

    Still, I wish for a church to be a part of for us as a family. And my real problem is how to find a church that is child-friendly but doesn’t expect the children to be separated into sunday school. I want my children to be with me during the service. All the churches we have visited seem to want to take the children away and put them in a basement with some crayons and toys. I don’t feel comfortable with that. Anyway, this is something that has been on my mind. I could go on and on. Sigh.

    There is one church I am interested in that I have been to before children and loved. So would you say that it would be ok to bring a 5 and 2 year old to a High Anglican mass at a church that doesn’t have many families (so no sunday school) – and just to sit near the exit? My five year old should be fine, but my 2 year old is squirrelly. Should I call them first with my concerns?

    • JF— Hard to say if there are few families; I suppose you could try to meet with the rector and staff ahead of time if possible and see if they are the sort of folk with a twinkle in their eye and a love of small children….And, I think if there were options in your area I would look at more than one place of worship if that is possible…. I would try to find a place that has programs for children because although your children are oh so small now, as they grow, most children really enjoy Sunday School and children’s choirs and the like….I also think the more older children they can see participating in the life of the church that that speaks strongly to them as they grow, especially to the little boys to see older boys and men participating…

      Take what resonates with you!
      Blessings,
      Carrie

  18. We go to church every Sabbath and my husband and I are trying to find a way to make church meaningful because since we’ve had kids, we’ve gotten nothing out of church. It’s sad, but true. We take the kids to Sabbath School, and the hour-long program just isn’t for energetic kids, like mine (1.5 and 3 years old). They’re expected to sit in a chair with a basket of things, then sing, get up to put something on a felt board, sit down, sing, get up, sit down, etc. My kids can do it for about ten minutes, but not for an hour!

    And then when that’s over, church starts at their naptime- 10:30-11ish, so they’re tired and wanting to run after trying to stay in Sabbath School. It’s craziness! So my husband takes them outside to burn off energy in between class and church, and then we attempt to at least keep the kids in the sanctuary up through the song service, but they hardly ever last that long. It usually results in the kids trying to run up front, get out of the pew, and having meltdowns. We try everything- snacks, fun and different activities in our special Sabbath bag, and it doesn’t work.

    So then we end up taking them to this side room for young kids where there are toys and a flatscreen tv so we can see and hear the service. We usually end up in there with other parents, talking and sharing snacks with the kids. We can never hear the sermon because it’s so loud in there. Sometimes we leave church wondering why we even went.

    We did go to a different church that’s closer (as opposed to our church that is 30 minutes away), and it’s Sabbath school is much more kid-oriented and we really liked it. And our first time there, while we were trying to keep our kids on their seats for church, the past came up and told us that they had a very high tolerance for kids in church, so that was nice.

    Anyway, I just wrote a book….sorry, but thanks for listening. :)

    • Sheree — I think is great you are experimenting in a sense, sometimes parenthood has us look for different priorities in a place of worship as it is no longer about just us. Your children are really small, so I can understand all the challenges. It really can be like herding cats, but I love your perseverance!
      Blessings!!
      Carrie

  19. WOW! I LOVE this article…it reflects exactly what my husband and I feel for our church as pastors. Though it is a challenge to CHANGE the mentality of the “older generation” that relegates children to church babysitting services. We include our one year old in our services and welcome anyone who wishes to keep their child in the service to do so…YES, my daughter will run over to “POPS” and give him a kiss and get a soft mint in return (in the midst of the opening hymn!) and she has her little stash of “church activities” tucked away under our family pew. She smiles and claps her hands and shouts , “YAY!” at the end of the special music bringing a smile to many faces. She has even been known to get in the aisle and “dance” to the music and wave her colored play silk! =) She went from lasting about 15-20 minutes around 1 years to now over 30-45 minutes (2 years) before we take her to play in the connecting nursing mother’s room (which we created when we became pastors).

    We give her freedom at our monthly SINGspirations and during it she will go around and hug folks, give kisses for mints, put on sunglasses and grin at everyone, sing “DA DA DA” at the top of her lungs and raise her hands and clap and shout “YAY!” when folks finish….even if they were the worst singer of the event. =) She also adores shaking her little rhythm band instruments that I give her when the music is more upbeat.

    She LOVES our church family and they LOVE her back! She has brought a joy and youth to our “older” congregation that has for many years secluded the children to a completely separate building. She loves to hold our hands when her Daddy prays and loudly says “MENMEN!” echoing his “Amen” …yes, she is a PK but she is more than that…she is a child of God and an inspiration to our congregation. I do have to note that I do NOT take her to church if she is fussy and has not had a nap; that is not fair to her, myself or our church! =)

    Yes, we’ve had a few comments that “children belong in the nursery” but then I’m the pastors wife, so I am setting a new standard of “family church!” We have “family bed” so why not also share the most special day that we set aside to worship the Lord? I love challenging the status quo….believe me, I really do especially when it is WRONG and i echo your encouragement to families to find churches (normally smaller ones) that enable them to “train up their children in the way they should go.” Notice that Bible verse says, CHILDREN and not YOUTH which is the age that most churches finally allow them to come into the service.

    Yes, we provide nursery care for those who want Sunday babysitting services and are not interested in training their children to be apart of the services…but 90% of the time, a family will choose to keep their young children when we offer nursery services! Interesting? We do offer children’s church as well, but we do not dismiss them until after our song service. I believe that corporate worship is a beautiful experience for young and old! Then they scamper out to have their own time of singing and Bible lessons and crafts. And if children do not opt to leave, we don’t make a fuss about them remaining with their parent. Our children’s church has doubled in size since we have started this policy! =) So if you are ever in Pensacola, FL drop by to visit! :) We welcome your entire family…even if your toddler shouts “Hallelujah” in the middle of the silence! Jesus loved children and said “do not forbid the little children to come to me, for the kingdom of heaven is made up of children!” I think the “church” in general needs to get on God’s wavelength regarding children!

    Nuff said….it’s a soap box of mine! Thank you for addressing this issue of spanking as well….it would be a shame that any parent would discipline their child for an “embarrassing” show of exuberance at church!

  20. We are blessed to live in San Francisco CA and attend a beautiful neo-Gothic cathedral-like Catholic church. It has a grand uplifting space, stained glass, and a very simple palette of concrete masonry, stone carved sculptures, and woodwork in the pews, chapels, confessionals, ceiling beams, and various decorative panels carved with biblical scenes. We love the soft glow of the many all white candles and our 2 1/2 y.o. son is entranced by them. We are happy to attend mass with him every Sunday at 5:30pm so that my husband is able to his cherished quality time with him in the morning. By including our son in our worship we know we’re cultivating ritual, rhythm, reverence, beauty, and guiding him to value and practice a spiritual life. Planting seeds of the Holy Spirit too. He now actually wants to go and one of the amusing things he’s done is wail “I waaaant my blessssssing!!!” during the oh so very quiet moment of prayer before communion! Lots of chuckles from the congregation for that one. It was a big surprise to us to have him remember the rhythm and want his blessing. We’d only started going regularly this advent. Before that it was very random but definitely for Easter and Christmas. When he was a baby we were just too overwhelmed and sleep deprived to make it a priority. When he was younger he either napped or had to be walked around the church vestibule or the gardens outside. There’s no cry room. But now we pack special snacks and books and hold him close and he can be a pretty good sport for the most part. He looks forward to putting money in the offering basket. He’s sung Alleluia through most of the mass to everyone’s amusement (its at least appropriate). After communion we let him wander the small St. Jude shrine thats within the church and pretend to light candles as he sees others do. There was a Sunday when we’d lost track of time and my husband declare it too late to go. My son pulled at his daddy’s clothes and insisted “Daaaddy we haaaave to go to churchhh!” and so we did! I’ll admit it is a challenge for us to hear all the readings and the homily with our son’s restlessness at times but its better than not attending at all. He probably disturbs some people nearby at times but he also warms some hearts as he flirts with smiles at strangers and I’ve had several people whisper to me late in the mass how absolutely adorable he is. Really, this little rascal? The Catholic Church is a human institution so isn’t perfect but it has provided me much needed guidance in moral discernment, goodness, love, and charity in my life so I am grateful for it and want to pass that on to him. As a hispanic its also an integral part of my culture. I consider myself fringe Catholic and have found little known theologians that I look to for wisdom since there really IS a lot of variety within the Church and room for dissent. Thankfully my husband who wasn’t raised with any religion likes it and is very supportive of raising our son Catholic. I do want to get my son baptized but for the life of me I can’t find suitable Godparents who have time for such a lifelong spiritual commitment to a child. One concern I do want to share is that my son is quite sheltered and right now ironically the most questionable images he’s exposed to are the many bible stories he hears during mass. Since he plays with simple wholesome natural toys (no tv, videos, films, or computer games) he knows nothing of fighting, violence, or war. Not sure how much he hears during mass but is this okay? Should I be debriefing him after mass to find out what he heard? Or if he were to ask me about drinking blood (something he hears at each mass) I wouldn’t know what to say to a 2 1/2 year old. And I can just imagine other parents begin shocked at stuff coming up in play since none of my friends go to church. Any thoughts on how to deal with such things in a sensitive Waldorf way?

    • Yes Michele DJ — I think a community of faith can carry many. many things that would otherwise be challenging for a child to hear on their own..So I would not worry. That community is so important in teaching a child to deal with life. And, for most of the Early Years, much of what is said goes right over their heads as well as they just soak in the beauty and reverence of church. :)
      Many blessings,
      Carrie

  21. The children are such a vital part of my church community. We are a Quaker church and have a great Sunday School program called Godly Play. It is a program that believes children have a spiritual life, they just lack the language to express and grapple with it. They use what they call a Montessori based approach, but it is all based around telling stories out of the Bible (or sometimes Quaker history) in a genuine, Waldorf like way. After the story the kids can play with the wooden props used to tell the story or do other “work” to digest what they heard. Younger kids are welcome in the service and I have begun a collection of Quaker Kids Art that has been left on the pews :)

    Our Christmas pageant featured a young family as the holy family and little Helen, at 15 months, played the part of baby Jesus. As the older kids sang Friendly Beasts Helen babbled and cooed and sang right along. It was pretty much the best part of Christmas.

  22. Hi there, I lurk along on your blog now and then but wanted to comment on this! I am a clergyperson (as Carrie knows) with two small(ish) children. My current church, which I think does the best job of any I have attended, welcomes children into worship with a child’s bulletin, a bag with some quiet toys, a pencil and paper. It’s a worshipful atmosphere, but you usually hear a child talking or a baby babbling at any point, which we love. At one service of our three, we have “children’s church” during the sermon only where children who wish (and parents if the children are more comfortable with them). It’s an an adjoining room to the sanctuary and we teach the story of the day (same as their parents are hearing) through lots of fun methods.

    My favorite story was when a woman with three small children visited by herself; her youngest was fascinated with the baptismal font and kept walking out of the pew to touch it. She was embarassed and at the end I heard her apologize to someone around her, and the older woman who she spoke to said forcefully, “Never apologize for children in church!” I loved that!

    My point is that while no church is perfect because they are made up of people, there ARE churches that do their best to be sensitive to the needs of children and parents. Peace to you all,
    Beth

  23. Interesting topic. I just found your blog. I am a homeshooler of 6 kids and am trying to integrate Waldorf principles and curriculum into our lifestyle so I’m glad I found you. I see a few other Orthodox Christians popping in here. If you’re out there looking for a kid-welcoming worship service, the Orthodox Church is a great place. Although it might not necessarily be outwardly ‘kid-friendly’, the unique quality that Orthodoxy offers is that we do not separate our kids from us in the Liturgy. Kids should be in a worship service with their parents. Blah. Blah. Blah. I could go on for ages about this topic as it is something I’m somewhat sensitive about. But, alas, I’ll silence myself!! I think I’ll peruse other blog posts. . .

  24. To all of you struggling mothers out there–stand firm and hold fast. Your little ones will one day grow older. These can be the desert years! My husband is the pastor and we have 5 children, I dreaded Sundays! I was always looking for better ways to make Sundays easier, smoother, PERFECT! Keep your children with you, it’s okay, it’s your gift. We, as we get older, sometimes forget that little ones generally can’t be quiet or sit still, that doesn’t make you wrong to bring them into the church. I now am watching my children make the decisions of how to raise their children, nursery vs church. I praise God that they choose church! Keep the family together. Teach them. But be wise, view church for now as icing on the cake, do not rely on it for your sole spiritual food, daily be in the word so that come Sunday, you can be strong and prepared to be the teacher and referee to the kids! If you can, ask for help. If you are ever in Auroraville WI, come to Immanuel, I would happily help distract or correct a child if you want, Stay strong, they grow up, and they learn so much more than you realize. They are God’s Gift to us, cherish them!

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