Any Tips for a Toddler in Church


#1

Good Am everyone. I have a questionsand looking for any tips that could be given please. I have been going to mass and finding my path to giving myself to our Lord. It has been so amazing :slight_smile: Yesterday my husband went to confession for the first time in more then 8 years! We are also are getting our marriage convalidated next Saturday. We were going to stay for the 5 pm mass. My sons (I have 2) go to Catholic school and so they are “use” to going to mass and my oldest son has just started serving as an altar boy (so proud!!) Here is my questions our baby girl who is 2 isn’t really use to be being at church and my husband stays with her while I go w/the boys to chruch now… I want him to be able to attend and I know that is part of him getting his journey(If you look my name you will see my post and requests for prayers) Our little girl is very vocal and yesterday she was VERY vocal while we waited for mass to start she wanted to walk about in church and then when she saw my oldest son getting ready for mass screamed out to my son and wanted to go to him and started to cry and my husband had to leave with her and then she started to scream for me… (there is no family room at this church). sooo any suggestions to get her to start transition to get her use to church. She knows what Church is and she told me shhh mama church… lol… but nooo shhhhing for her…lol… I did bring a little backpack for her with books and other little things for her but it didn’t work :frowning: I would love to have the whole family be able to attend together. I thank you as always for anyone that posts any suggestions. :slight_smile:

-Ellie


#2

Take her to a church where nobody knows you and just hold her and let her scream and misbehave. Don’t put her down or let her play no matter what. After a while she will get used to mass and stop fussing, crying, and wanting to play every time. After she starts to behave take her back to the church you normally go to. :slight_smile:

I had the problem where my 3 year old son associated mass with running around and playing. I just held him and didn’t let him play and after a while he got used to it.


#3

Can you distract her with toys, books, mess-free coloring pages, snacks?


#4

I have a 2 year old…My church has a family mass, so a lot of kids go to this Mass, and people expect little ones to be noisy…We don’t have a family room either, so instead, we have the chidren’s mass…Does your church have that?


#5

Personally I don’t think it’s a good idea to feed a baby snacks at Mass. Sets a bad example for others there and a bad precedent for your toddler. As far as other ideas…The more you take her to Mass, the more she will get used to it. But it’s not just being there at Mass that you want her to get used to; it’s behaving appropriately in Mass. If that makes sense lol. To some extent, since she’s a toddler, there’s only so much you can do. She’s going to behave like a toddler at least for the next year or so, which is of course as it should be. But the running around and screaming are things that she can still learn to not do at church, even at her age.

Maybe you could start by sitting near an exit door when you bring your daughter? That way you can slip out into the lobby if she gets too restless or starts making a loud fuss.


#6

My grandson is 21 months. He too is vocal and mobile. We take turns during mass holding him and occasionally walking to the back of the Church as a bit of distraction. If he really gets niosy his dad or mom usually takes him to the crying room so they can still hear the mass. Most of the time though since he adores sitting with my DH “PapaTim” he is somewhat quiet. This is our second grandchild to go through this process and it has not always been easy. But my feeling has been that I ignore the little voices in the congregation while I assist at mass. Jesus had noisy babies in His crowds too. And I am sure He didn’t have problems with that. Father usually doesn’t either I have noticed.

PS If all else fails I use duct tape on my DH when he gets noisy…Probably a bad idea for a little one though. :whistle:


#7

hehehehe…

Oh thank you everyone I was thinking of going to the very early masses w/her throughtout the week since its only her and I through the Day time and let get use to those?.. She is good when we go to other places I think the part that she actually has to be quiet that is where we have to work on and since she is only 2 that will take some time :slight_smile: I actually belong to 2 parishes… One is where our boys go to school at and they have a family room and when we have gone there (my husband would have to take us as I don’t drive) ) Although I love that church I feel a bigger connection now to other parish that I go to is close by where I can walk and I that is where we are having our marriage convalidated. which is very small and doesn’t have a family room nor family mass I like that parish because it really feels so wonderful and I feel at peace. It should be very interesting next Saturday…:slight_smile:

-Ellie


#8

I don’t have advice to you, but I only want to say from a parishioner’s perspective that little kids never bother me, and probably a lot of other parishioners feel the same. Let the toddlers be there and do their thing, we will deal with it. Crying is a good workout and strengthens their little lungs and vocal cords LOL.

You have a wonderful family. God bless you all.


#9

Repeated exposure and consistant limits will help your 2 year old learn how to behave. Please realize this won’t be an overnight transformation. She has to learn how to behave at Mass, with Mommy and Daddy and her siblings to help her, she’ll learn pretty quickly. I usually keep babies 3 and under in arms until they know what’s expected. That can make for a long Mass, but in the long run, I’ve had good results. If you must take the baby/toddler out, then please don’t let them down to run around! They figure out pretty quickly that misbehaving during Mass = running around in the vestibule. :eek: :stuck_out_tongue:

You can also start “teaching” basic prayers/songs–allelluia, Sanctus, Memorial Acclaimation, Amen, Lamb of God, Our Father. Just repeating them during the day–meal time, nap time, etc. can help then recognize them–even if they are too young to say/sing them.

Practice “quiet time” where you watch a portion of Mass on TV or read a quiet book–talk about quiet voices and sitting quietly–this should be VERY short at age 2 and gradually lengthen over time.

God bless!


#10

I suggest you start by taking her on a tour of the church. Show her the statues, explaining who they are, show her the Holy Water and teach her how to make the sign of the cross…ect… Then at home before you leave, explain that you are all going to Chuch and we must all not talk in Church or leave our seat. You can bring some silent distractions, but try and get her to participate as much as possible. Most little ones LOVE to come up with their parents in the Communion line. Please be prepared to remove her if she gets too disruptive, sitting still for an hour or so is a little too much to ask for some kids!


#11

This article has very good advice!

catholicexchange.com/2000/12/15/79913/

Surviving the Toddler Years at Mass


Should my tiny nephews go to church
#12

The baby will get used to being at Mass with repetition. If it is possible to go to daily mass in the morning, try that for a couple of weeks. Daily masses are shorter and children are often quiet early in the morning.

Sit in the back, by a door, and try to stay away from people if possible. If there are empty pews and someone sits by you, get up and move. Those same people who insisted on sitting right next to you may turn around and give you dirty looks when your child makes noise, so don’t worry about offending anyone by moving.

Keep her still physically by holding her. Keep saying, “shh, quiet now. We’re here to see Jesus.” Point out pretty things in the Church.

Take her out as a last resort. If she is loud enough, you will have to do it because somebody will be mad. There is always at least one. I waited too long once with a 3-year old, and after Mass a woman walked up to me and told me I needed to spank my daughter until she sat still.

The trick is to not let getting up and leaving become a reward. Don’t let her run when you go out into the vestibule. Take her to a corner and talk to her about sitting like a big girl. Let her fuss and whine out there away from people, and when she stops, take her back inside.

QUIET distractions, like soft toys, are ok by me as long as they don’t bother anyone. But here’s the trick with those- don’t use them right away! Wait until the boredom becomes unbearable for her, then take out the soft toy. You want her to build up her endurance for sitting.

She will be sitting all the way through Mass before you know it if you do those things, I promise.


#13

Good advice except I’d suggest front of church rather than back. It’s hard to see what’s going on up front from the back of church and sitting up front may help small children pay better attention.

…little girl is very vocal and yesterday she was VERY vocal while we waited for mass to start she wanted to walk about in church

It’s usually difficult for toddlers to sit quietly and wait for most anything. Maybe you could get your husband and family situated in the pew before Mass and then take your toddler out of church to ler her walk around outside or in the hall, use the restroom, etc. before Mass begins. Return in time for Mass but not too early. Arriving early may be great–esp if your other children are altar serving–but it also prolongs the amount of time a toddler needs to sit still.


#14

I found the best consequence for my children misbehaving in Mass was to go without them next time - or just take one of them. Also, since I sorely needed to be fed at Mass at the time and wasn’t getting that with them in attendence, I did go several months without my children attending Mass but once a month until they were able to behave well (twins - so they hit the worst stage at the same time, and fed off of each other’s misbehavior). However, I wasn’t completely satisfied with this solution since I don’t like my children missing Sunday Mass, and would only recommend it as a last resort.

I think with my next child, I will make a special effort to attend one extra Mass per week, and their behavior on Sunday will determine if they get to join me for the next daily Mass we attend. I very much liked the way having them stay home from Mass while I attended encouraged them to see Mass as a privelege; when we returned to regular Mass attendence, they grew in love for the Mass very quickly; unfortunately, now that it is becoming commonplace, they are losing their respect again.


#15

I wouldn’t think a 2 or 3 year old would be able to remember or understand that they weren’t coming with Mommy this week because they were “bad” last week?

I don’t think 2 and 3 year olds can be characterized as “bad” in Mass. They just need help to learn how to sit, and it’s very hard for them.


#16

I agree :slight_smile: My DD is curious and just wants to know whats going on but with her reg. voice! lol… and how she loves the echo…lol… You guys have been amazing! Thank you so much for all your comments. I have been watching mass with her on TV and telling her look Church remember you have to be quiet and she said oh yes mama shhh… lol… I hope by the end of the summer she will be better :slight_smile: I plan to start next week with the daily masses as this week has been so busy as we finish our planning for our convalidation on Saturday :slight_smile:

Again thank you so much for all your advice!! :slight_smile: Keep them coming please…

-Ellie


#17

Ellie,

My daughter is 21 months and is very noisy during mass. I can’t put my hand over her mouth :stuck_out_tongue:

She is acting like a healthy toddler and I find that most of the parishners look forward to seeing her there. They all smile at her and wave. She too likes to hear her echo and says, “Go Go!!” over and over. I just ignore it b/c after a minute or two, she stops on her own.

I just don’t let her walk away from me. I tell her that she has to stay close to mommy.

Oh and we sit front row centre. She loves it there b/c she can move around a little bit and see everything that’s going on.

She sometimes colors with washable crayons or plays with some of her toys. I let her entertain herself. I don’t see what the big deal is. I want her to be there and most of the parishners want her to be there too. At the end of mass, while the priest makes his announcements, I let her walk around the front. Once the parishners began clapping their hands at an announcement that the priest said, and my DD, began to clap back at the parishners b/c she thought they were clapping at her. The parishners loved it.

I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. If they cry, they cry. Oh well…that’s what they do. We can’t get angry with toddlers for being toddlers :shrug: As long as they’re not running around, it’s harmless.


#18

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