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To Go or Not to Go: Church Services with Kids

Children in Church! These seems like a simple enough topic but in reality it is controversial. If you are a parent you have to weight two choices each Sunday morning. Do I go church with my family and manage restless children with snacks and quiet activities so that you can try and glean some moments of peace and insight during mass? This option is exhausting and full of the probability that the kids will make noise and not sit still. Often times this is met with glaring looks and scoldings from older folks that have forgotten the challenges of kids in church. Or the other option is to skip church all together.

I love the churches that have special activities for the kids to do during service that teaches them and keeps them busy, however, this is not the case for every church. When there is no help for the parents, it poses a number of challenges for them and reduces church turn out by younger families. Babysitting can be hard to come by on a Sunday morning and it is expensive. So parents are really left with two options. To go or not to go! That is the question.

My husband and our three young children are met with this challenge personally, each week. Our kids, two boys and a girl behave alright. We bring quiet snacks and things for them to do. This only occupies them for a few minutes and they are back to asking "when can we go?" They occasionally shout out or take off running. For the most part the parishioners are very patient and ignore them, allowing us to manage the kids to reduce disruptions.

So the question is, how do we support our parishes to ensure that the next generations of church goers fill the pews and continue the teachings and worship of God?

The church we show our kids today will be the motivation to keep community faith strong in the future. We don't have an easy solution for our family right now, and but I feel there has to be something to help families in church and keep children engaged.

We must remember that Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.' ” Matthew 19:14

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