Children at Mass.

As much as I enjoy going to Mass it is getting quite hard now. My children are very young and they behave worse during Mass than any other time of the week.

It is at the point where I have no focus on the Mass and sometimes (like tonight) we left early as they were unbearable.

I know they were tired but even if we went to an early Mass on Sunday they are the same.

Even when we take paper and crayons for them it lasts just seconds as I know one on their own would behave but together they are worse.

Then there are the trips to the toilet, all of a sudden they go more during that short time than they would any other time.

I opinion is they think it is a fun place but I have always stopped them from running around but now they scream when I say so. (Maybe they think a member of the congregation will rescue them from me and let them run around as they are not like this at home).

I was wondering if I could appeal to their Guardian Angels as I hadn’t thought of this before or pray before Mass.

I just don’t understand how their behaviour changes the moment we get there and nowhere else. I understand the terrible twos but how can it be so discriminate, why at Mass?

I know we will end up keeping them at home meaning one of us misses out and I know my wife won’t go on her own so there will be now taking turns for a few months.

What can I do?

It’s as if someone gives them a caffeine injection as we arrive.



Ask your pastor about it. Our kids went through this, and since a) the so-called cry room was a de facto play room where all the kids just ran around and b) my MIL lived with us and could take care of the kids, we left them at home until they were about five. We let them know that anyone could go, but the obligation started when they were older. They not only go to Sunday Mass just fine now (at 14), but go to daily Mass, too. Although I think it is far better for kids to go to Mass from the cradle and on through, I didn’t think a weekly fight would be a good thing. I would probably do it the same if I had to do it all over again.

You might also try taking just one at a time, not the others, and making sure that the one who goes gets a treat and some special time with you afterwards. When we did start taking them, our kids got a treat if they could say what the readings or the homily were about. They still pay attention and know, even all these years later.

Jesus sees you and the efforts that you are making! God bless you I have been there and I know it is not easy.

You see it is easy to sit through Mass when you can hear the songs and the homily and you feel a sense of God touching your soul, what a beautiful and profoundly deep experience that Holy Mass can be! On the other hand when you are at Mass and you can’t hear the homily and you are distracted and annoyed and embarrassed and your children are irritating you and you don’t seem to get ANYTHING out of it…I believe that is when you actually get the most, it is in those moments where I believe in my heart that you are growing in grace and virtue beyond measure, even though it doesn’t feel like it.

Jesus sees your family struggling to make it to Mass even though it is hard. Keep trying different things, you are doing your best, you can only do so much. You are frustrated and burned out, Jesus knows this and He loves you so much, what a beautiful witness to the faith that you are! You are a true soldier for Christ! God bless you.

Are they old enough to understand a stranger’s admonishment? Enlist a stranger before mass to sternly warn them to behave. Kids are usually more impressed with strangers than parents.

This probably doesn’t help but this problem will pass. Continue bringing them to Mass and with your instruction, the expected behaviour will eventually(!) kick in. I empathise with and admire you very much. I will pray for you! :slight_smile:

What can you do?..and bear in mind this is coming from a 59 year old who attends the family mass, and has no children living at home…I would recommend reading today’s gospel reading.

And, remember if at Mass you don’t hear children crying, the church just might be dying!

Patience is a virtue!

Some problems have better solutions. No drink for one hour before mass since you didn’t make it last week. Arrive early and take them to the bathroom. Then make them hold it. Anyone who makes it through without having to potty gets a treat. Or for good behavior. For our oldest, at first if she could sit quiet for 5 minutes that was enough for praise and special treat, the standards got more demanding over time. Using negative punishment is hard under 5 as the time between bad and a spanking is too long unless you just take them outside and so it right there. I start now by asking what everyone wants if they’re good at church on Saturday and continue on till we get to church on Sunday. Sit quiet, no running around, read your book, color, that’s what you do. That’s what i tell them, and other things.

When I was little, my mom used to be pretty strict about how my sisters and I behaved during Mass. We were never allowed any toys or crayons or books. We were always expected to be quiet and pay attention, and bathroom breaks were pretty rare.

If we did act up during the service, she would take us out to the back of the church and make us stand with our nose against the wall. Only had to do that a maximum of twice before we never misbehaved during church again… So embarrassing for 5-year-old me…:blush:

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