Hello, friends. I am the proud dad of a four year old and a two year old. My wife is gracious enough to let me take the four year old to mass while she stays home with the little one (the two year old isn't ready for church yet, unless they are doing exorcisms at the front door!)
My four year old is incredibly well behaved at mass. She is quiet, she says the Our Father with us all; she loves the sign of peace. When the deacon calls the children down, she is the first to go (and often holds the hand of smaller children on the way down). She even gets to carry the gifts down from time to time! She's being a very good girl, and for a four year old, this is saint-like behavior.
BUT, lately, she has been telling me that church is boring, and she has started to try and skip out of going (thinking of reasons to stay home, etc.) It breaks my heart to find that, at age four, she is already feeling dutiful toward church! This can't be good. We read Bible stories at home, she knows who Jesus and the Blessed Mother are...our faith is a part of our life, so we are doing all that we can to hold up our end (in other words, it's not like mass is some disconnected event that happens once per week. We are Catholic. We pray together day to day, etc.)
I can't expect her to sit still for an hour and listen to the mass; she's just too little and I'd be setting her up for failure. I do let her bring her coloring books and a snack. I often times pull her up on my lap and explain to her what's going on (like the Eucharist), which she is interested in (this is a family mass, obviously, so there is a certain level of...let's just say background noise...:)
My question to the moms and dads out there in forum land is this: any advice? Is this just par for the course, something that we need to go through? Any suggestions or 'best practices' you could suggest? I want church to be something my little girl looks forward to and likes. We even have a treat at the Italian bakery afterwards as a celebratory reward when she is good (which she always is). Any thoughts?