Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Ideas for Teaching Small Children to Sit in Quietly in Service: Part 2

Although this post is entitled teaching small children to sit quietly in church these are just 'my ideas' on how to teach them to sit in church ( homeschool & quiet outings like the Music Theory Test at a local church). Out of our 5 children we've used the nursery for one, and taught 2 small ones to sit and we are working on teaching 2 more to sit quietly during church. So we are by no means experts but I thought I might share a few things that have worked for us this go around.
practicing sitting for & during homeschool for the big kids

As you may know we've been blessed with twins, who are now almost 2. We have been pretty lax on teaching them to sit during service. It's really been overwhelming to have the two one year olds as you can imagine. In addition, to having them chattering, talking & occassionally screaming to each other throughout the service. I finally decided to just sit in the hallway with them. But this was just teaching them that if they chatter they get to play when we go to church.

Then we started a family book club and we became very serious about teaching them to sit quietly it and service. The biggest thing we've done to help them to sit quietly is that during family devotions & book club (and soon we will start at Lifegroup) is having them sit still & quiet in our lap. If they are fidgety or noisy they are gently warned and if they continue, then they receive a punishment and we quickly return to what we were doing.

more practicing sitting for & during homeschool
We are no longer alowing them long periods of time removed from the activity but instead we go right back to what we were doing. We have enjoyed several services sitting in the service for the most part with quiet and obedient toddlers. By the way one of the twins is a boy and he is the fidgetiest thing I have ever seen!

For our family when we made it a priority that they sit quietly with us then it began ot happen. If you are having trouble training kiddos here are a few questions that we had to consider that may help you ....
  1. Is it a priority for your family?
  2. Have you identified good training times?
  3. Have you been consistent in both the training times and the  discipline?
  4. Do you provide proper encouragement while they are sitting and after they have done a good job sitting quietly? ("Oh, you sat just like a big boy/girl...)
  5. Are both parents really & practically (as in hands on/will stop whatever they are doing to disciple their children) on board? If Dad espeacially is busy teaching/talking then training may take much longer. If Dad doesn't think this is something he wants to do, then we need to joyfully be on board with Dad's plan.
  6. Have you discussed your game plan so you are both on the same page.

Quiet blanket time at the Music Theory Test
That said I know this is difficult, I live the difficulty times 2.  I know at GFBC the pastors (who are elders) share in the preaching responsiblibty and I can't help but think what a blessing this must be to their wives. I choose to discuss this church because they are Family Integrated Church with an emphasis on husbands shepharding their children. This is not meant to say if  your church doesn't do it like this your church is wrong, it's just an option. I attend New Life Baptist church and we have Elders who occasionally switch duties too. I know for single Mama's & Mama's attending church without Dad they too would face special challeges in child rearing and my prayer would be that families would come along side of them and help them in what they think is right for their families.

Not suprisingly I have also found is that it has been a huge help to me in homeschool also. The little ones play happily on their "blanketed area" or sit happily in my lap. We have less random crying and fits and our life has become a little more orderly because the twins are learning self control through this training.

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