It’s time once again for Heather from Family Volley to share with us some Parenting Tips
as part of her “Parenting Tips Series with Heather Johnson” here on The Idea Room.
Here’s Heather in her own words…
As a member of the LDS church, our family spends 3 hours each Sunday in church meetings. Regardless of your faith, or if you go to church or not, we all take our children to activities and places where they need to sit quiet and fairly still. Although these tips are directed towards church, they apply to all of us, church go’ers or not. First, let me make it clear that everyone has different expectations of their children in church, or in public settings. Personally, I expect my children to sit in church, quietly. I don’t plan on spending 3 hours chasing them in the hall. We all have different expectations. That is okay. Church (or any situation where children need to stay relatively quiet and still) is hard. It is really hard. I know. I have had plenty of Sunday’s when half way through church, I wonder why I even bothered to shower and do my hair for the day. I am sweaty, tired, feel like I have been through a wrestling match, and can’t remember what the lessons were about because I didn’t hear a single thing that was said.
Take them into an empty room, sit them on your lap, and explain that is where they will stay. No exceptions. It will only take a time or two, and they will want back into that meeting. I can’t emphasize how important this is for changing behavior. No child is going to sit quietly when they know that with a little noise they can be running and playing in the halls. It has to be better in the meeting than in the halls or they will always act up to get out.
2. You will have to put in effort to get your toddlers to sit quiet for that length of time. Take a good mix of distractions and realize that YOU will have to put in effort, a lot of it, to get through the 3 hours. Or even to just get through Sacrament Meeting. Pop up books, coloring pages, picture books, and things with different textures work really well. Last Sunday went fairly smooth for our family. Minus a few loud whines from our youngest. With our 3 year old, we went through a few books, and colored in a coloring book. We looked for familiar items, we looked for Noah’s animals in a pop up book, we traced shapes with our fingers. In between we lead the music like the conductor and searched the congregation for all the kids in our daughter’s nursery class. We practiced folding our arms when prayers were said, and at one point, I had her put her hand out flat and I traced around it with my fingers. Then we followed the stitching on her shoes with our fingers. We also have a little pouch that zips open and closed. Today we took the little pouch and put a toy in it. Then we practiced zipping and unzipping. Makes me tired just thinking about it all. With 15 minutes left, and ideas waining, we took an old tootsie roll wrapper and quietly tucked it in the pages of the hymn book and then practiced "carefully" turning pages to find the treasure. The point. I don’t have the liberty of sitting back and expecting her to entertain herself. Eventually yes, but right now I have to put in effort if I want her to sit quiet with me in the meetings.
DO YOU EVER FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE BEEN THROUGH A WAR WHEN CHURCH IS OVER?
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