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So again today in church my toddler would not sit still. I don't even attempt to sit in the church anymore because she is so active that we may it about 5 minutes before I have to leave. We sit where the small children are supposed to sit and I still get dirty looks from other Catholics. Maybe I should just stop going until she is older.
I have tried bringing books, etc. but at the back of the church they have ramps and she loves to run up and down them. Frustrated.
Marirose - I feel your pain. I had toddler who was "active" in church, and now at six yrs, his attention span is longer, but one hour is a long time for him to sit without needing to "express" himself. My estimate is that 50% of families at the 10AM mass have the same issue, if not more activity. There is safety in numbers, so maybe find a mass with more families? Also, our church has weekly coloring handouts for the children and we keep a small box of crayons in the car. Rules are one crayon at a time, so this offers a good task to keep him busy. Also, no sugary cereals of juices before church - keeping the blood sugar at the normal morning level helps.
When my daughter was a toddler she actually did better sitting up front. This was a very scary prospect the first time. she messed around and talked non stop when we sat in back or the family room. But I really wanted to sit with my mom and grandma so the one week we sat up front with them (thats where the wheelchair area was for grandma). To my surprise, my daughter paid attention. She of course asked a lot of questions because she wanted to know what was happening. She was still a child so she still did child things but thankfully we had an understanding priest. the preist loved it when she was there, she would answer the questions in his sermon and react to the things he spoke about, and he found this entertaining. Everyone was understanding, knowing that this little 2 or 3 yr old was not trying to interrupt but was just very absorbed in what was being said and done.
Good Luck and God Bless, Marirose.
If you watch kids that are not close to the front, you'll see a lot of them partially in the aisle, or hanging over the pew in front of them so they can see what's transpiring.
Obviously they can't understand a lot at their age, but they can learn something about Jesus, the Crucifix, and some of the other articles used during Mass. The children are naturally curious, so it's helpful for them to have an explanation about what they're seeing. It's also helpful to escort them around the Church, showing them all there is to see (Stations, statues, candles, special decorations, advent candles, and lots of other things).
- but at Mass, what's going on is something that nobody can actually see anyway.
This is a nice post Marirose. Full of community support from non judgemental members who have been there.
As one who has never had children I truly cannot feel what you are experiencing or know what would work for you.
A lot of collective wisdom has been offered. Consider what has been said and use what works for you.
If you are doing your best to Shepard your flock what more can be asked. At times it may not be pretty but it is a challenge offered. If one can manage the shame, and keep an open mind as to ones charges as they are seeing the world, the situation can be positive. There are not many visions that surpass a mother patiently and lovingly....mothering.
Beware of the power of shame and those that wield it carelessly.
For my part I welcome those as yourself who are struggling in public. How else to socialize children? I try to offer a knowing smile, one meant to say "I see your hands are full, and you are doing OK" "I am OK with your efforts". If possible I like to actually say a few words complimenting the parents and children and offering understanding. This is true whether in church or wherever.
For those "bothered", might there be a way to offer a light hearted Thank You for their patience as your "brood" learns its way? If offered even only to one party, the effort would likely be noticed by others who could see your sensitivity to their needs also. Perhaps such a gesture would buy some good will from the impatient.
On a somewhat related track my sister visited over the holiday. She came with her eight year old 110 pound Labrador Retriever and her new eight week old Jak Russel Terrier. That puppy was the worst in a very fun way. What impimishness and pure unorganized zest for the the life within. And how patient the Lab was to the incessant "bothering". There was something to be learned in watching the two dogs interact. May we all have the openness to life as was witnessed between the two of them.
Best to you and Happy New Year!