Children don't like mass...but do like old church

My 4 year old boy dreads going to mass. (i have three kids, ages 2, 4, 6.) we came from a prot. church that had a great childrens program where they were taught kids on their own level, gave snacks, and stuff to color, etc. Now at the cath. church there are no childrens programs during service. they must just sit there.

i’m conflicted. on the one hand, i don’t believe that kids should be catered to and that i’m teaching them patience. on the other hand, i’m really feeling guilty because i’m worried they’ll rebel from the church like it seems so many catholic youth do.

i’m going because it’s been great for me and my wife is catholic. not sure there’s been a positive affect on the kids, however.:confused:

I’m a cradle Catholic, wanting to share some of my memories, experience with children, and how the Mass will affect them on the long term. I think the Mass is hard on small children. One hour to stay still seems interminably long, and a small child will not understand much of a homily designed to educate adult people. When I was this age (4) and even several years later, I would fall asleep whenever we attended evening masses with my mom and/or aunt, during the months of May and October (in the parish of my childhood, we have a great devotion to Holy Mary, with a tradition to attend daily masses when possible during those two months, in her honor). Thus, I would usually end up sleeping in my mom’s or aunt’s arms, during those evening masses. And yet, 30-40 years later, today, these are my fondest memories. :smiley: :yup: Getting up on Sunday mornings not to be late at Mass, sitting through the sermons that I usually didn’t understand too much of, and attending those evening Masses in the months of May and October. I don’t understand how, and why. :shrug: But those childhood experiences bonded me to the Church in a great way. :slight_smile:

The young children probably are bored because they do not understand what really takes place at Mass.

An easy way to help them understand at their own level is - - -

The EWTN catalogue has some great educational DVD’s for children.
The “Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist”, are the best teachers of young children. There are other great children’s DVD’s as well.
You can be sure that all will be 100% in accord with Church teachings.

Also EWTN has young children’s programs (for free) from 4 to 5pm est daily.
Go to for the channel finder in your area, and the programming schedule.

At you will also find on the left side, a link to EWTNkids. This is great.
They can even ask the Sisters and Priests to pray for their intentions.

At times I think my 5 year old granddaughter knows more than many adults, thanks to EWTN. She now explains to adults - exactly what happens at the Mass, the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and no one is allowed to eat dinner without saying grace. :thumbsup:

It has been said before, Holy Mass is not about communion with your fellow man it is about Communion with God. it is sad that your children do not like Mass, but mayb (if youre in RCIA and plan to become catholic) you can mention to your pastor that maybe you need to have a better sunday school program before or after Holy Mass.

I’m not proud to say this, but when I was little I misbehaved in mass. Actually I think most of my younger siblings are better behaved than I was.

Be patent, I came around, and I’m very glad my parents made me go to mass week after week. It also helps when you have older kids who are a good example. On the other hand when you see teens goofing off in church theres no surprise that their younger siblings do too.

It’s going to be rough for you, but it’ll do the kids a ton of good. I did for me. :thumbsup:

My practical advice is the same answer I gave my Pentecostal brother in law when he asked how I managed to get my four children to behave at Mass. I said that the ‘secret’ is to go to Mass every, single week no matter what, and arrive early so that you can sit near the front so the kids can see something beside the rear ends of the people in front of them, This might mean that on occasion you have to parade from the front to the back of the church if there is a meltdown, but I think there are fewer wrestling matches overall. Use books/paper during the homily only so that the time passes a bit quicker, but put it away afterwards and let them enjoy the stand/kneel cycle. While my oldest, now 21, has drifted away somewhat, I do not think it was boredom as a four year old that caused it. :shrug:

God Bless,

Thank you everyone. Very good suggestions. Veta, i have spoken with the pastor (or my wife has) and the answer is what you’d expect: “maybe you could volunteer to start something”. a reasonable answer.

Good suggestion watchingmedia. thanks.

Joseph, I think your post is really what i crave to know. For our family, the mass is a bonding experience where we hug and hold the kids and kiss them on the head. it’s a family experience with jesus at the center.

Catholic Dude, thank you. good to know.

I think what I’ll do is start a new thread asking for testimonies like joseph’s and catholic dudes, where people who have been raised in the church can share good memories. maybe ask them why their experiences where good and what made them good.


Thanks again.

Started a new thread:

Catholic Childhood Memories - BORRRING!

I think the question stated in that thread gets more to the root of the issue…


Fully agree with this. Also, as soon as they can, get them INVOLVED in your parish…
Faith Formation Classes
Alter Serving
Parish scouts
Parish sports
Youth Group
Youth Choir
ANYTHING that engages them in the parish that they want to do, try and do it.
What happens is that they look forward to being at their Parish and see the people truly as Church Family. The Mass itself still may not engage them every second, but the atmosphere in general becomes one they are familiar with and know how to behave in. As they get a bit older and active, they look forward to going…or at least do not dread it!

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