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How To Keep Kids Still and Quiet During Worship

This week, The 4 Moms are talking about how to keep kids still and quiet during worship. Be sure to read  how large families get to church on time, and be careful not to laugh yourself silly if you saw what time we arrived in church last Sunday.

We like to have our children worshipping with us in the assembly, so we do not participate in children's church. For this reason, it is imperative that they learn to remain relatively quiet and still during the duration of the hour long service.

I have written about training little children for church before, so you will want to read that post if the word "training" didn't just turn you off forever from reading my blog.

Yes, I am aware that our children are not dogs, but I do believe that we should "train up a child in the way he should go", and you may call that teaching or impressing or guiding, but in any case the idea is that goodness and right behavior don't just spring forth from children. It must be instilled.

And if you don't believe that last statement, have yourself 6 or 7 more kids. It'll grow on you.

So, the key to having children who actively worship during church, while not distracting the entire row behind you with monkey business is to TEACH them what is expected. The link above will give you some ideas how we teach our children what is expected, and that is not to say that they always do it perfectly.

(Check out this quiet way to keep even small children engaged and listening intently to the sermon.)

When necessary, we take them out to the "cry room" and make them sit in our laps without getting down and with no toys or books for entertainment. When they can remain calm and quiet, we go back into the assembly and they may hold a doll or a book.

When we do this consistently, along with the training methods I linked to above, it isn't long before a 15-18 month old child will understand that it is more pleasant to sit quietly in the assembly with a dolly or book than it is to go out and have nothing to hold or look at.

That is, unless my husband is out of town and I am locked in the cry room and unable to get out. Then all bets are off.

Now, be sure to see what the rest of  The 4 Moms do about keeping their children quiet during worship.

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  1. What do you do with your children until they are 15 months? Also, I’m assuming “laying on of hands” is spanking (with a hug and pray afterwards). When do you begin that type of discipline?
    Thanks ahead of time for answering my questions!

    • Yes, I too would like to know for children under 15 months….thanks soooo much!!

    • Smockity Frocks says:

      If the baby (0-12-ish months) is fussy we take her out and hold her in the cry room until she falls asleep or gives up the fussing.

      From about 12 months on, I feel like *my babies understand when I say “no” that they are to stop whatever they are doing. At that age, “bucking” or arching the back and trying to get down, along with an angry cry, is common. If this happens, I take them out and give a swift smack to the upper leg with my hand, while saying calmly, “no”. They soon come to understand that they would rather not have to be carried out during worship.

      *If you are convinced that your child doesn’t understand your expectations, by all means do NOT discipline them until they are capable of comprehending what it is you want.

  2. “And if you don’t believe that last statement, have yourself 6 or 7 more kids. It’ll grow on you.”

    As a mom of 10 children (the youngest is 19 months), I really appreciate this comment! :) Keeping them quiet seems to be the biggest challenge between 11-16 months. As you said, once they learn the alternative is no fun, they begin to settle down.

  3. Chris Frizzell says:

    Thank you for writing this. Somewhere along the way we picked up the notion that children don’t ‘get anything out of the assembly’ because it is not on their level.
    Did y’all arrive in two shifts last Sunday?

    • Smockity Frocks says:

      Thank you, Mr. Frizzell!

      I think we are in the minority on this issue, but it is important to us, and not always easy!

  4. Thank you very much for these tips and for all of the 4 moms posting about this! We have a 4 yr old and a 11 month old right now and have not been able to attend service as a family for quite a while since it is very difficult right now with the 2 of them. My husband and I have been trying to come up with ideas to be able to go together as a family again and these posts will help us tremendously! Thank you again!!

  5. Thanks, Connie, for posting this. Our family is Catholic and while our church is generally quite progressive, Catholic Mass is traditionally quiet. We have three children (at home, five more in Heaven), the youngest of whom has recently turned two and thinks he owns the world. There is a cry room upstairs but it’s like a ZOO in that place so we never utilize that room. We sit in the front pew and even when our little guy gets antsy, we stick it through. It worked with our girls who are now 6 & 8 and we are of the firm belief that children shouldn’t be “entertained” by toys and games while we’re worshipping. Sure, we sometimes get weird stares by an occasional parishioner but I’m okay with that.


  6. We always kept our kids with us in service, whatever the age. There was a lot of up and down at certain ages, but we felt we were teaching them an important thing (how to worship). Anyone who things it is impossible to train their kids this way should start by practicing on their living room couch. Sit quietly with no distractions (TV) for as long as you can manage. It it’s 5 minutes at a time, yea! It will lengthen with practice. Now that we are way beyond this stage, I absolutely love to hear little ones in the assembly. That means their parents are training/teaching their kids just like we did!

  7. I think what you said about the cry room is so important! We didn’t always have all our kids in church with us (us means my parents and me because my husband is the pastor). When I first started taking my second son, fourth child, he was 3. He had a tough adjustment, though he was quiet, he missed playing with his friends. So with our next child, we never took her anywhere else during church. Even now (she’s 2) when I have to leave the service with the baby and she comes with me, I remind her that it’s worship time and she sits quietly next to me while I nurse the baby. We don’t talk, but listen to the sermon that’s piped in through speakers. Then when baby finishes, it’s easy to sneak back into the sanctuary.

    My biggest word of advice is keep on keeping on. I wanted to give up so many times, but now I’m so glad I didn’t.



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