Avoid Going to Church With Your Toddler? 11 Tips to Keep Kids Engaged Before, During & After Services by Abraham Alarcon

Avoid Going to Church With Your Toddler? 11 Tips to Keep Kids Engaged Before, During & After Services

Going to church on any given Sunday can be exhausting and embarrassing if your toddler won’t sit still or stop talking. Sometimes sitting in the back pews won’t help because the running or yelling can get out of control. The looks that fellow members of your church give you would be enough to scare anyone away. You also might feel like a failure because you’re trying to do the right thing, but it seems as if nothing is working. So, you avoid going to church. 

Here are some things you can do before you go to church with your toddler:

  • Wake up early and make sure to have a big breakfast. Eating early enough will fill your child up and if you time it right, they will be full and less active during service.
  • Waking up early enough will give you the opportunity to be active with your toddler. They like to play, run, jump, etc. You may find that if you join your toddler, both of you will have lots of energy to stay awake and calm during church.
  • Take time to talk about how important it is to attend church and share your faith with others, especially with members of your church. Knowing why you go to church will help establish a foundation and set boundaries for your toddler.

Here are some things you can do during church service with your toddler:

  • Sing. Toddlers love to sing and belt out an “Amen!” or “Aleluya!” It is fun and completely appropriate.
  • Use the church bulletin to identify letters and numbers. Give your toddler a pencil or crayon and have them circle letters. It keeps them active and promotes literacy.
  • Have them bring their own children’s bible to church. Whisper read to them, show them pictures and encourage them to draw their own pictures.
  • Bring small snacks for them to eat like crackers, raisins or baby carrots.
  • Show them pictures, images and important objects in your church that represent your faith. Explaining these will help them become familiar with the church and ground them to be more respectful.

Here are some things you can do after you attend church:

  • Explore the church. Having your toddler see, smell and, if possible, touch things in your church will create familiarity and help them enjoy it more.
  • Help. Toddlers are active so give them a job like putting the hymnals back in their place.
  • Play. If your church has a yard, front lawn or gym, go play with your toddler. There is nothing more healthy and holy than a family that plays together after a church service.

Going to church does not have to be a chore if you plan and engage your toddler. You may be surprised at what you find if you connect their likes and needs to your church.

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Elisa Schmitz
Great tips, Abraham Alarcon ! When my kids were little, I always brought a tote bag full of coloring books, washable markers and other small, quiet toys with us. Goldfish crackers helped a lot, too. Thank you for sharing these great ideas for making church a positive experience for families with littles!
Tiffany Zook
worship music is a good time to get the wiggles out , when we can sing , clap, and have the toddlers dancing in the aisles.
Mike Prochaska
Yes going to admit i haven’t taken my kids
To chuch in awhile since last time they both were screaming. We used to goto a church that had one of those kids rooms but they moved to the front pew and my kids kept walking up to the priest. My son went up always to shake his hand.
Rachel W. Lewter
Very well stated and it’s clear that you are teaching your children their role as children, while you are the father. I secretly wish I could give this to a few people I’ve met in the past.
Thanks for sharing.
Abraham Alarcon
Rachel, t’s a work in progress and my wife and I have had good, bad and ugly days at church with our boys. Yet, God gives us the graces we need to be happy, healthy and holy. Glad that it was helpful.
Thank you so much for this, Abraham. It is so me right now with my 2 year old.
I am going to give these tips a try!
Abraham Alarcon
Hang in there! Glad that you will try. Tell me how it goea for you.

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