February 2, 2017
Many parents find it very difficult to bring their young children to Mass, especially when they act out, get loud, or run around the aisles. The embarrassment or frustration of having young kids in Mass can even be enough to keep some families away from church on Sunday. Rich Lamm, husband and stay-at-home dad of four young boys ages seven and under, knows what it feels like to have kids misbehave in Mass and draw attention to themselves. He joined Morning Air® to talk about how to handle young kids at Mass.
Lamm encourages parents to “just go for it”. Don’t let rambunctious kids scare you away from time with our Lord. Use those moments when your kids are being loud and squirmy to “cuddle up to your kid in the pew and whisper, hey, listen, I know you’re frustrated and you’re ready to go, but this is a really important part” and explain to them what’s happening. Let those moments be teaching moments.
Another difficulty that many parents of young children face is the inability to focus on prayer and Mass while tending to their kids. Rich tells us “parenthood is a vocation” and whenever “you struggle in the name of the glory of God, especially with children, you’re going to get graces.”
What about when someone else’s kids are causing a distraction for you during Mass? Rich says, remember that it’s difficult for those parents too; they’re trying to teach their kids and make sure they aren’t distracting other people. He also says, be happy that they’re bringing their kids to Mass and “be happy that our church is growing!” Pray for those kids, that they’ll “be faithful servants of God when they get to be adults.”
Tips from You!
Relevant Radio listeners recently shared (via Facebook) their tips helping children behave and participate during Mass:
"Sit in the front row where they can see." - Angie
"Go Early, give them a pep talk of expectations, separate kids (parent, kid, parent), no toys... Smile and hug when they are on track." - Bonnie
"What's helped us is taking along a children's Mass book. They enjoy trying to follow along." - Jessica
"Keep going every week. The more they go, the better they will behave." - Susan
"We let our young boys bring note pads and draw different parts of the Mass. It gives us the opportunity to talk about their drawings after Mass and discuss the meaning behind each." - Jacinta
"Practice at home with prayer time. Have the little ones sit on your lap and teach them that prayer time is a time to be still... finally ask your Guardian Angel for help!" - Sharon