Hi! Well, I'm not married and have no children of my own, so one of the pleasures that I have in attending Mass is getting to see other people bring their littles along. As an outsider, I've noticed a few things about parents and their kids that I think needs addressing, because I see the same thing over and over again. So, if you will be patient, I have some advice based on my observations.
Naturally, not being a parent myself, I don't know how 100% practical some of these are, so feel free to disregard the impractical ones.
Without further ado:
1) Sit near the front. Too often I see families sitting all the way near the back of our church, surrounded by their littles and the littles of others. I think parents of little kids think they must relegate themselves to the outlands out of courtesy to us without kids. It makes me feel uncomfortable because I know that in my church, the sound system is sometimes iffy, and really, those in the Church who are doing God's work by training their children need to be able to hear well and understand, so that they can teach their babies accurately. Of course, if the place is jammed packed, naturally someone's going to have to be at the front and someone's going to have to be at the back, but remember, you're the first educational foundation for your babies. You have to be well formed in your faith to teach them. Don't ever feel guilty for sitting where you can hear the homily better. It's an important part of your religious instruction.
2) Sing! Singing songs is one of the most fun, interesting parts of Mass to small children (if I recall correctly from my own childhood - I may have missed the homily and the Readings when I was small, but by golly I had most of "Gather" memorized!). Littles may not have the ability to comprehend the Mass, since they're still in their formative years, but hearing you sing and getting to sing along will help them get involved in Mass. Don't be embarrassed about your singing ability. As my priest Father Charles says - God gave you your voice! Give it right back to Him!
3) Whenever possible, bring your littles with you when you receive Communion. Remember that you're receiving the actual, physical Body and Blood of God Himself. The sooner they see your reverence for Jesus in the physical form, the sooner they'll start to understand the best way to love God and worship Him. Communion is wonderful, joyful, almost magical in the way it transforms people! They may not be able to receive yet, but your littles will have the pleasure of looking forward to joining with God just as you do!
4) Be aware of what sort of Parish activities are available after Mass. Get your kids involved in those activities. The Parish is your second home, where you can go to be close to God and other people who love God. You have a right to let your kids enjoy those activities, too!
Now, having said that, I have some advice for my fellow no-kid-types out there, either people who are older and have already seen their littles grow up, or to those like me without them at all.
1) Share seats! Parents with littles might need to rush out if there's an emergency diaper incident or if the baby can't stop crying. Be willing to take a seat in the middle of the pews, to let them have the end seats as needed.
2) Be nice! There are times when a baby or small child is going to cry and cry and cry. Sometimes that makes it hard to hear the homily or the Readings. It can be frustrating, but remember that God wants those littles there because they're part of His family and part of your Parish. Offer up your frustrations and be of cheerful heart - some day, those babies will be older kids, receiving their first communions, and the more you welcome them now, while they're small, the more they'll want to be part of the Catholic family when they're bigger.
3) Sing! Be happy! Smile during Mass! Remember, we're there to celebrate Christ and to focus on Him. By loving God as much as you can, and showing your love for Him in Mass, you're showing the next generation of Catholics what the joy and happiness of Catholicism is. Yes, sometimes the focus of the Mass is on damnation, which is serious and needs to be treated as such. Be thoughtful and prayerful about Hell and accept its reality, but be joyful about the outpouring of mercy that Jesus Christ offers to us all, and look at the opportunity to bring a little to God as a way of keeping people out of Hell. Ultimately, God wins, Hell loses, and it's this reality that we should celebrate!
God is beautiful and takes good care of us. I just want to see people with kids be able to enjoy the Mass fully, and see littles get the chance to experience the awe and joy of Mass as early as possible. Littles have this ability to grasp the beauty of Mass better than adults, like how they capture the magic of Christmas better than we do, but only if they're shown that Mass isn't boring and a drag.