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Worshipping with Children

Here are some tips to help you and your child have a great experience together during worship. The very things we love most about children can make it hard for them to remain focused during worship. Here are some ways to help them be engaged and involved.

Preparing ahead of time

  • Make a special church toy bag of quiet, soft toys and books (we also offer paper and crayons as you enter).
  • As you both become familiar with the service, begin to teach your child some of the simple prayers we do every week. Young children love to participate and will listen for their parts. Young readers should get their own leaflet. Some examples of prayers are the Sanctus and the Lord’s Prayer.
  • We love children in our midst and rejoice in a little noise, spontaneity, and wiggling. If you want to prepare your child for what worship is like, tell them the following. “Worship is quiet because people are talking with God. Just like restaurants, movies, and grandmother’s house, church has its own set of manners that we all follow: we use quiet voices when we talk to each other (like in a movie) and we bring only soft or quiet toys.  No one will be mad if you forget, but we do our best.” It’s less stressful on you both to tell your child the kinds of behavior you will expect from him or her ahead of time rather than panicking during the service. “Remember, Church manners!”  remember, if  your child is suddenly loud - to us this will be a joyful noise!
  • Come regularly so that your child can begin to feel comfortable and make friends.
  • Talk to your child about prayer: that we can talk with God. We can pray anywhere, any time. In church we pray together by reading prayers out loud. We can each pray silently to God, too, about anything that is on our hearts.
  • Talk to your child also about the bread and wine and why it is holy for us. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, gave us this family meal to remember him. He said he would be there for us in the bread and the wine, and that is why we treat it so carefully and with such reverence.
  • Some time before or after the service, feel free to explore the church together. You can both discover the many wonderful things in the building and learn their names and functions.

Your child and Holy Communion

We encourage you to bring infants and children up to the communion table to receive the bread and wine. At the Cathedral we don’t want children to remember a time when they did not share in the bread and wine of Christ Jesus. If you are not familiar with this more contemporary teaching of the church, come talk with our clergy or lay staff about this practice.

Tips during the service

  • Look for paper and crayons at the entrances to the church. We have found children still listen while they are focused on these activities – sometimes even more closely.
  • Sit near the front so that your child can see and feel part of the action. Show your children what is happening during the service – it’s OK to talk quietly with them to keep them involved. Tell them the names of the readers, acolytes, and priests that day, and what they are doing.
  • Children wiggle and make noise! At the Cathedral we view occasional noise and interruptions as a routine part of worship. If your younger child is increasingly restless and noisy, it is probably time to go outside briefly. Get a drink, take a quiet walk, and get ready to come back fresh. To keep children enjoying church, this should not be framed as a punishment or a time-out but as a much-needed break to get ready to worship again.

We hope these ideas and tips help you and your family feel inspired to worship together!

 

 

Last Published: September 22, 2017 10:19 PM