#29 “How to get my child to sit in the main church service”

by Joe McGinnis

There are times when parents believe that this is one of the greatest challenges parents face. If this is your greatest challenge while parenting…consider yourself blessed. With that being said, I completely understand the frustration that many parents face EVERY WEEKEND. You work all morning to get the kids ready. You’ve finally made it into the front doors of the church and then it feels like “Round two – getting these kids to sit still for the next 60 minutes”. Hmmm…

If you resonate with this, I hope you find these four tips to be helpful.


Set Expectations

Children need to know what is expected of them. Sit down with your child (preferably, a day or so before the weekend service) and talk with them about what is expected and why. For example: can they talk? How loud? Can they read? Do they have to take notes? Is there a quiz to follow? These expectations are important to establish ahead of time.


Be realistic

It’s important to be realistic. Know what your child can handle. (i.e. a 2 year old cannot sit still for 60 minutes…not even when they’re asleep) Be sure that you are setting your child up for success and not failure in the first place. Being realistic also means that you can and probably should expect your 2nd grader to be able to sit still. Don’t set the bar too low either.

Be Prepared

Rule #1 with kids – “Have a plan for them or they will have a plan for you. Bring paper, pens, books, ask question, have them take their own notes (older kids), let them look the verses up.

Practice makes perfect

This takes time. Don’t expect perfection the 1st time. Reward success, and encourage them when they need to do better.

Try not to be a distraction to other, but also don’t shy away from your responsibility to BE THE PARENT. –They need to learn to worship and follow Christ from you! It’s your job.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Sam

    I find this incredibly sad – Why are we trying to force children to change to suit our idea of church, when what we should be doing is changing our church to help them? This is why we are losing generation after generation of children.

  • http://empoweringfamilies.wordpress.com empoweringfamilies

    You make an excellent point. Too many churches are too concerned with trying to get people (children) to conform to their image instead of looking towards how we can adapt to styles that are attractive to families. With this being said.. I have seen (and attended) many churches that attempt to make church church attractive by splitting the family up into age appropriate groups. The problem comes when the children are not “learning” their faith from their parents (such as “how to worship). We’re losing a generation of children because they they’re leaving our churches and going home to homes that don’t share/teach the same messages. I encourage parent’s to join their children in their worship if the option for the children to join them is …well …not an option.
    Thanks for your comments!

  • Sam

    I work for a church that has a separate children’s congregation which runs alongside an adult and youth service each Sunday. The children know how to worship, in their own way, without having copied the worship habits and traditions of the adults around them. They own the church they attend and they own the worship that they are involved with. I think when it comes to church, we need to be teaching them about God and our relationship with Him, exciting them about Church and it’s possibilities, rather than pushing them into a mould.

    We can’t make them sit still for an hour and make them watch us do our thing while they try to fit in, and then expect them to love Church. They will not learn faith from their parents in that way – that will just lead to resentment. We have to show kids how much we love them and care for them by giving them something they can engage with on their own level and also give parents the skills they need to help their kids grow.

    Unfortunately it’s not you and me who need convincing how important children are…