Do toddlers belong at daily Mass?

I am a mommy of a beautiful 14-month-old baby. I would love to attend daily Mass as frequently as God wills it. Is it an appropriate place for my daughter? Does God want her there, along with her budding toddler independence and occasional distraction? I tried on my first day off and, when she became too noisy, I moved her into the gathering space and ended up missing the entire Mass.

Certainly God loves your daughter and wants her at Mass. I’m sure that he doesn’t mind her “budding toddler independence and occasional distraction.” But your fellow congregants will and their feelings should be taken into consideration also. (After all, we are called to love both God and neighbor.) They too are at Mass to worship God and should be able to expect a reasonably quiet, reverent atmosphere for Mass.

If your daughter is too immature to be expected to sit quietly and there is not a cry room where you can take her when she needs a time-out to quiet down, then you might need to be willing to take her outside as necessary, find a sitter for her while you attend Mass, or forego daily Mass for the time being. As she matures, you should be able to gradually increase limits and boundaries so that the Mass will be a reverent experience for you, your daughter, and your fellow congregants.

Recommended reading:

Keeping children quiet at Mass

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