How to deal with extremely noisy children during Mass?


#1

We have a family in church with 6 children. They let their children bring hot wheels, wooden blocks, rattles, and other noisy toys into Mass. The kids run the hot wheels up and down their pew, talk out loud, throw toys, it’s total chaos! Our priest has posted in the bulletin numerous times to please bring soft toys for the children but the mother flat out told me she didn’t care what the priest says, that her kids aren’t “entertained” by quiet toys. My husband was so upset this morning because he couldn’t hear the homily and we were in the THE FRONT ROW! We can’t get any closer! Several people have asked our priest to please say something because even HE says it’s bothers him greatly, but he said that other than putting it into the bulletin, that he won’t say anything because he doesn’t want them to stop coming to Mass. I understand that but at the same time, there are other people going to other churches because of this.

What can be done?


#2

The pastor needs to talk to the parents well away from Mass in a cordial, sit-down meeting. That’s his responsibility. He encourages them to continue attending Mass by what he says to them in private and even more importantly how he says it to them. With six kids she might also be a bit desperate. Maybe he can suggest some “Sunday aunts” to help her deal with the kids?


#3

Go to a different Mass.

It is difficult enough to take 6 kids anywhere. Don’t give this family any grief.


#4

[quote="Exorcist, post:2, topic:288349"]
The pastor needs to talk to the parents well away from Mass in a cordial, sit-down meeting. That's his responsibility. He encourages them to continue attending Mass by what he says to them in private and even more importantly how he says it to them. With six kids she might also be a bit desperate. Maybe he can suggest some "Sunday aunts" to help her deal with the kids?

[/quote]

I've suggested a nursery type area in the basement. I even volunteered to take care of them but he said they need to learn to sit in Mass. I don't know that she's desperate...her and her husband laugh and say how cute the kids are so.... yeah...

I'm hoping to talk with the priest again and see if we can arrange an area for the kids even though he nixed it the first few times around. wish me luck!


#5

[quote="vsedriver, post:3, topic:288349"]
Go to a different Mass.

It is difficult enough to take 6 kids anywhere. Don't give this family any grief.

[/quote]

unfortunately that's what a lot of families are doing.


#6

You go over to the family and offer to help with the kids.


#7

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:6, topic:288349"]
You go over to the family and offer to help with the kids.

[/quote]

:thumbsup:


#8

[quote="vsedriver, post:3, topic:288349"]
Go to a different Mass.

It is difficult enough to take 6 kids anywhere. Don't give this family any grief.

[/quote]

It's how parents raise their children. I attend the EF Mass, and there are numerous large families with as much as 8 to 10 children. Somehow they manage to get their children to remain quiet during Mass without loud toys. Most don't even bring toys. They sit there in their pew and "read" their children's missal.


#9

Get together all those so distracted and volunteer to take the children and keep them occupied outside the church...starting a nursery "ministry" could be a win/win proposition!


#10

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:6, topic:288349"]
You go over to the family and offer to help with the kids.

[/quote]

tried that, they think the kids are being cute (their words)


#11

[quote="Deo_Gratias42, post:8, topic:288349"]
It's how parents raise their children. I attend the EF Mass, and there are numerous large families with as much as 8 to 10 children. Somehow they manage to get their children to remain quiet during Mass without loud toys. Most don't even bring toys. They sit there in their pew and "read" their children's missal.

[/quote]

I went to church with several families that had more than 6 kids and those kids were so quiet and well-behaved! I think the difference is the respect those parents had for others around them.


#12

[quote="Sandalwood, post:1, topic:288349"]
We have a family in church with 6 children. They let their children bring hot wheels, wooden blocks, rattles, and other noisy toys into Mass. The kids run the hot wheels up and down their pew, talk out loud, throw toys, it's total chaos! Our priest has posted in the bulletin numerous times to please bring soft toys for the children but the mother flat out told me she didn't care what the priest says, that her kids aren't "entertained" by quiet toys. My husband was so upset this morning because he couldn't hear the homily and we were in the THE FRONT ROW! We can't get any closer! Several people have asked our priest to please say something because even HE says it's bothers him greatly, but he said that other than putting it into the bulletin, that he won't say anything because he doesn't want them to stop coming to Mass. I understand that but at the same time, there are other people going to other churches because of this.

What can be done?

[/quote]

It depends, that is the responsibility of the parents and or the lay ministers.


#13

you know, I haven’t talked with the lay ministers. that’s a good idea, thank you


#14

While I agree with everyone here that loud toys are not what should be brought to entertain the children, I disagree with all of the suggestions to take them out of the Mass whether it be to a Nursery or offering to watch them. Children should be present at the Mass. If we fail to welcome them simply so we can hear better, then we fail to live out Christ's wish, which was to bring the children to Him. I think your priest should have a personal sidebar conversation with the family kindly asking them to bring soft toys. Maybe the priest could even state that "hard" toys simply are not allowed for any reason.

In answer to your question on how to "deal" with it, I think you may need to just let it go. It is the priest's responsibility, not yours. Really, it is the priest's jurisdiction and not yours. Perhaps attend a different Mass, or offer silent prayers for the family when they are bothering you most.


#15

[quote="Ophelia23, post:14, topic:288349"]
While I agree with everyone here that loud toys are not what should be brought to entertain the children, I disagree with all of the suggestions to take them out of the Mass whether it be to a Nursery or offering to watch them. Children should be present at the Mass. If we fail to welcome them simply so we can hear better, then we fail to live out Christ's wish, which was to bring the children to Him. I think your priest should have a personal sidebar conversation with the family kindly asking them to bring soft toys. Maybe the priest could even state that "hard" toys simply are not allowed for any reason.

In answer to your question on how to "deal" with it, I think you may need to just let it go. It is the priest's responsibility, not yours. Really, it is the priest's jurisdiction and not yours. Perhaps attend a different Mass, or offer silent prayers for the family when they are bothering you most.

[/quote]

good suggestions. I'm always praying about it! the problem is we don't hear any of the homily or any of the Mass! It is a real problem. We only have one Mass time at our church (it's very very small) and we could drive to the next town for Mass but I hate to leave our church, you know?


#16

OK, I've got a few ideass based on what we do in our parish:

1) Has the parish council discussed this? If the priest is uncomfortable with confronting the parents, someone from the council might speak to them.
2) Are there enough children in your parish for a children's liturgy? We have ours in the church basement during the Liturgy of the Word - the children can actually be more involved than they would be sitting on a pew.
3) We've started handing out free Catholic coloring pages and crayons. The images they color are typically related to the day's gospel or feast days, etc. so the kids aren't just playing, they're actually participating at an age-appropriate level.


#17

[quote="Sandalwood, post:4, topic:288349"]
I don't know that she's desperate...her and her husband laugh and say how cute the kids are so.... yeah...

[/quote]

Maybe they are trying to cover up their embarrassment?

Our priest once stopped in the middle of his homily and told me to control my children. It was really humiliating. People later told me that my kids weren't being that noisy and he (the priest) shouldn't have said anything at all, especially the way he did. The priest himself later came over to my place to say he was just joking. I've never really been comfortable in his Masses since then.

Believe me, I know every little noise my children make. It's nothing to do with not respecting the people around me. I just don't know what to do. I want my children to grow up with Mass being a normal part of their lives, but some ages are easier than others to go anywhere, let alone somewhere like Mass. And I think kids bother some people more than others, which makes it even more difficult to know what to do, where to sit, etc. None of the parishioners seem to care about my kids, and most have just given me encouragement in bringing them, so I guess there's that.


#18

Is there a box of 'stuff' for children attending Mass? Apart from crayons and (Catholic) colouring sheets put in the entrance, maybe some soft cars (you can get brightly-coloured toy cars made from soft rubbery material), other quiet but fun toys (we used to have some rubbery Power Rangers!), some books (Bible stories or saints or about the Mass, with bright pictures).

I've found this book is good for keeping young children quiet amazon.com/Sammys-Fantastic-Journeys-Early-Heroes/dp/0840791615

For children closer to learning to read, or who can read but haven't yet started receiving Communion, I find this book excellent amazon.com/Little-Missal-Including-Translation-Childrens/dp/1860825656 It lets them see where they are in the Mass, and also has lots of bright pictures with a lot of detail. It explains what is going on. It doesn't have all the words, so a child who is receiving Communion should probably be using a fuller order of Mass or missal.

Maybe if there was this welcoming collection of special church things to look at and play with, it would be easier for the family? You might be able to get the parish to fund such a thing, as a general resource for all families.

Also seconding the suggestion of a children's liturgy, if you have the people to run it.

We never get to know the full story of any else's life: I know that after my youngest brother was born (the fifth child), our family became a much more stressed group, for reasons that aren't as simple as how many children there were. Some people in the parish were ever so kind and helpful, in ways they probably never expected when they offered to help! But we could have done with so much more support, and we were all quietly miserable and struggling to cope for years. Some of that was to do with how little support we had from extended family. Yes, some families with more children sail through with impeccable manners, but you don't know what this family is coping with. The priest probably knows a little more, and won't be telling you any time soon.

And yes, it's hard for you to cope with so much noise during Mass, and obviously you should be seeking a solution (as you are doing). I'm just saying, try not to be judgemental about the family. We only get to see the surface of what is going on.


#19

thank you all.

My husband and I were discussing getting a box of soft toys, coloring books, crayons, etc. and having them in the entryway, that way, all the kids in the church could have a chance at them. I am going to talk with the priest today about that.

There's a family with 9 children there as well, and they are really well behaved during Mass. I know it can done! lol!

I'll see what I can get done today with talking with the priest and a couple other people.


#20

[quote="Sandalwood, post:19, topic:288349"]
thank you all.

My husband and I were discussing getting a box of soft toys, coloring books, crayons, etc. and having them in the entryway, that way, all the kids in the church could have a chance at them. I am going to talk with the priest today about that.

There's a family with 9 children there as well, and they are really well behaved during Mass. I know it can done! lol!

I'll see what I can get done today with talking with the priest and a couple other people.

[/quote]

Remember, if you do this, the toys have to be cleaned and bleached every week. (Even if your local laws don't require it, it's the right thing to do.)


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