Revised 2005Ten Ideas for Keeping Your Child Quiet
1. Practice "quiet times" with
your children at home during the
week, giving them lots of closeness
and hugs. A story, family worship, or
any quiet activity teaches your child
that moments of relaxation can be
enjoyable. Ten to 20 minutes a day
is a reasonable length of time--
depending on the age of the child.
Also teaching your child about the
true meaning of worship and that
Jesus is their best friend, will help
the child have a positive experience
in the church pew. Daily family
home worship prepares the child for
weekly corporate church worship.
2. Plan ahead for quiet
activities to be used only in church.
Prepare a cloth bag full of quiet toys
such as: children's books, color
books with crayons, small felt boards
with felts, and magic pads that are
saved only for the church pew.
Small children may get hungry and
irritable, so bring a small plastic
container filled with "Cheerios" or
some other non-messy quiet food
that can get them through the church
service. When you exit, teach your
child be sure to leave the church pew
and floor clean.
3. A parent needs to sit
between the children. When you
allow children to sit together, it is
much more difficult to keep them
4. When children are quiet in
church, give them affirmation and
reward them for it. This will help
them repeat their good behavior.
Express your appreciation in words
or reward them with a new quiet toy
to add to their "Sabbath bag."
5. If you make church an ordeal
for children, they may learn to hate
it. Never spank children for misbehavior in church, but rather take
them out and quietly talk to them. A
negative memory about church may
lead to a dislike both for church and
6. Begin the child's worship
experience in the training room, then
"graduate" to the back pew.
7. Have realistic expectations
based on the child's age and
emotional makeup. Remember, "God
put the wiggles in their legs and if
you fight the wiggles, you are
fighting God." This doesn't mean
children should be allowed to be
disruptive. When your child is
around two years old, tell him or her
the reasons for being quiet in church.
Noise distracts others who want to
worship. Explain that there is a time
to run and play, and a time to be
quiet. Impress on your children that
God loves them and wants them
8. Crying babies should be
taken out of the church service to
avoid distracting others. Sometimes
there is a physical reason--like
soiled diapers or restricted movements. After the crying has stopped,
return to the pew so that the child
can understand "quiet time."
9. Regular church attendance is
important. When the pattern of
regular attendance is broken, it is
more difficult for the child, as well
as the parent, to get back into a
10. Children need to sit with
their parents in the pew during
church service, and they need to be
under parental supervision all the
time they are at the church. Children
running loose in and out and all
around the church without adult
supervision can more easily get into
trouble. Nor are they learning to
show respect and reverence for
11. Look for a "Family
Friendly" church that offers
children's programs, children's
story time during the church
service, and social activities that
involve the entire family. If you
don't have a "Family Friendly"
church, be a part of making it one!
12. A child can more easily
learn to love worship if his or her
personal felt needs are being met.
God created us with specific human
desires and parents need to make
sure they are fulfilling those needs.
Let the child feel heard and known
for who he or she is. When children
are not being heard, they may raise
their voices or talk incessantly or
even throw temper tantrums. It is
also important to affirm your
children and give them lots of
genuine praise. Otherwise, they will
grow up with no self-worth and will
feel they must always let others
know how wonderful they are.
Help them feel safe. Children need
food, shelter, protection, and to
know that God is always by their
side. Give them loving touches.
Babies and children, who are not
touched or held, may die. Your
child needs to feel important to God,
family, and friends. Otherwise,
they may grow up being critical,
legalistic, self-righteous, or co-dependant. Allow them to be social
and make friends. Each child needs
to feel that he or she belongs: to
their parents, to God, and to the
"Let the sunshine from a loving,
grateful heart light up the
countenance . . .You must win their
affection if you would impress
religious truth upon their heart."
(Child Guidance, p. 148)
Recommended Reading: Parenting
In the Pew: Guiding Your Children
Into the Joy of Worship, by Robbie