We have a very curious, stubborn, and strong-willed little boy who makes attending church very hard. We found how easy it was to fall into a trap of going home from church if he was acting too ornery or tired. (Especially before he was old enough for nursery, three hours with a crazy little baby was very, very hard.)
We soon decided that if we were all healthy and not bleeding, then we were going to stick it out at church…whether we got anything out of it or not. We realized that we are in the stage of going to church at for at least the sake of staying in the routine of going, and to teach our children that we go to church.
Yes, church is a lot easier now that Race is going to nursery, but sacrament meeting is still hard so I found that a well-prepared church bag and a few tricks make all the difference.
Here are a few things that I have learned:
- I have a separate bag for church than my diaper bag. I have found that it’s nice to just have one bag designated for church that I can have ready to go every Saturday night versus having to pack the bag each Sunday morning. I try to include lots of fun snacks, sippy cups, a few diapers, wipes, and books. (I try and keep the books and things in his church bag only for church so that it is “new” every Sunday.)
- We leave for church 20 minutes before it starts so that we can get a pew. Being on a pew versus a folding chair makes all the difference with a crazy toddler because he is confined!
- If we have to take him out of a church meeting because he is being cranky, we don’t let him run around in the foyer. When he was younger and didn’t understand, we’d walk around and look at paintings on the wall. Now that he’s older, one of us either holds him tight on the couch or in the car. After he has calmed down, we immediately go back in. Being out in the hall should be a punishment and something he shouldn’t want to do.
Here are a few things in my church bag that Race loves!
Race LOVES this! It has a bunch of magnets and he loves playing with it.
We try and have him look at books about the Savior during the sacrament, and he especially loves this one.
This is wonderful and so inexpensive. Race especially loves looking at all of the pictures as we whisper the scripture stories to him.
We have this Book of Mormon one and a Joseph Smith one. You have to assemble these, but Race enjoys playing with all of the different pieces.
And lastly, I made a book at shutterfly.com of pictures of him and our family. He LOVES looking at pictures of himself.
I have a strong testimony of the importance of church, and I also strongly know how hard it is to enjoy church (or even want to go) with a crazy toddler. Hopefully something in this post helped someone. We are setting examples and precedents weekly for our children.
What do you put in your church bag? What do you do to help church be enjoyable?