- Minimize arguments before you arrive – about clothes, food and/or the time it takes them to get ready. This is easier said than done!
- Give yourself plenty of time.
- Get ready for worship. For example, you might try this. “Today we’ll have a chance to thank God during the prayers. What is something you would like to thank God for? There is a time to tell God that we are sorry. What might you want to say sorry about? And then we’ll ask God to forgive us. God always does!”
- Find a good place to sit. We encourage families with children to sit towards the front so that children can hear and see well. Some choose to be near one of the doors to make a convenient exit if necessary. Some choose to be in the front row so there is more space. Choose what is good for your family.
- Invite your children to get a Worshipful Play bag from the rack by the door.
- Guide the children throughout the worship service. Encourage children to participate in whatever ways they are able. Hold the hymnal, Bible and bulletin at their eye level. Ask the greeter for a large print bulletin if that helps your early-readers.
- Interact with your children about worship. Notice together the changes in worship from season to season. Talk about the readings and the sermon. Play “I Spy.” Have your children squeeze your hand every time they hear Jesus’ name.
- Have your child sit with a “big kid” from another family.. Teens are also great guides in worship.
- Enjoy worship together. Free yourself from excessive worry about behavior.
- Debrief with your kids about what they heard and experienced.
- We heard that story about Jesus playing with the children. How do you think the kids felt?
- During the Gloria, I heard you singing. What do you like best about that song?
- Learn and even memorize parts of worship. The more our kids know by heart the more they will be able to participate. Pray the Lord’s Prayer together. Recite phrases we use in worship. For example, “Thanks be to God” after readings.
- Allow kids a chance to explore the space – walk up the aisle, go down the stairs to the Huron entrance, sit in the blue chairs up front, etc.