J loves to go to church. He really loves his bible class. Bible class is fun and you get to be with other kids and be a little noisy, even if it is just a little. During worship though, it can be hard for toddlers to sit still. We try to keep J with us as long as possible to teach him, before we take him to the toddler room. I want him to understand what worship is so I keep him with us as long as he can stand it. I really think it helps him to see us sing and pray and it also helps train him in how to sit and be quiet. We have a special church bag that is packed full of fun books, coloring books, crayons, stickers, and toy cars with rubber wheels (plastic wheels make too much noise on a pew!). J is now able to sit with us for about 40-45 minutes which is awesome! Around the 45 minute mark is when he starts getting whiny and antsy. One of us always takes him to the toddler room before he does something to get in trouble. The last thing I want is for him to associate getting in trouble with getting to go to the “fun toy room” so we try to take him out before he gets to that point. One day, back in February, it was about 35-40 minutes into worship and I stood up to take J to the toddler room. As soon as I stood up, he got really excited and exclaimed, “I get to go! Go! Get to go!” Of course everyone around us chuckled. I like to think of the toddler room as a reward for him being so good for as long as he was able to. We have stretched that time by about 10 minutes since then, so his time in the toddler room is a little shorter these days. Soon, we may not have a toddler room to go to, depending on what church we go to when we move. I hope he can make it all the way through! If not right away, I am sure he will soon.
I am so proud of how long he can make it in a quiet environment, and it actually helped us so much when we took J to Chase’s Honors Convocation. He sat still and either looked at everything that was going on or looked at books. He lasted almost a whole hour! Just enough to see daddy walk across the stage. After that, Papa took him out to the foyer and they played for the last 30 minutes.
Although it didn’t happen right away, I found out it is possible to teach your toddler or your older child how to sit quietly for an extended amount of time. It does take time. I remember wondering a year ago how long it would take for J to be able to make it through worship without fussing and crying. They can and they will learn if you take the time to teach them. This will come in handy in so many other areas of life as well, like waiting for a flight, or going to a graduation, or a wedding or funeral. And I am definitely not claiming to have a perfect child or to know exactly what I am doing. I just learn as I go as the rest of us moms do! Now that I have gushed about J sitting through worship, he will probably give me an exciting loud morning this Sunday. 😉