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How to Keep Your Child Quiet During Church

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Marissa is the writer of ThePracticalMommy and the blog Mommy Knows What's Best. She is a stay-at-home mom to four and was a teacher.

My kids, ready for my daughter's first church service.

My kids, ready for my daughter's first church service.

Do you bring your kids to church? Many parents already bring their children to church on a regular basis, but there is always a surge in attendance around holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter. Are you one of those parents? Are you worried about bringing your child to church and still having a pleasant experience?

I bring my kids to church on a regular basis, and even though they are used to going, it’s still a challenge to keep them calm and quiet. I use a few tactics to make it a nice time for all of us in the family.

Tips to Keep Children Quiet During a Church Service

Here are a few tips to keep your little ones calm and quiet so you can enjoy and listen to the service.

1. Dress your children comfortably. It seems like such an obvious tip, but it is one that might be overlooked, especially during holidays when it is popular to dress kids up in the cutest outfits fit for the season. Usually, this is during the Easter and Christmas seasons, when little girls and boys get cute little frilly dresses or new little suits and ties. Often, these clothing items are itchy or just annoying to the kids. If the outfits include extras that might bother the kids in a long period of time, like ties, hats, etc., skip them for the church service and save them for the pictures.

2. Bring drinks and a snack. For infants, you’ll most likely want to be prepared for a feeding, even if the service is not during a regular feeding time. If you are breastfeeding, make sure there is a space you can quietly nurse the baby, like a children’s Sunday school room or nursery. For older babies and toddlers, it’s probably okay to bring a bottle or two, or a no-spill sippy cup along with some small, quiet snacks like Cheerios, fruit snacks, or Goldfish. Those snacks work for my kids, as long as we make sure we clean up our pew before we leave.

3. Bring quiet toys. My kids each have some soft books and little toys to keep themselves occupied. My son likes to bring some of his Fisher Price Noah’s Ark animals and some crayons and paper. My daughter is content with her Taggy book, Touch and Feel books, teething rings, or her cloth dolls. While these toys are nice and quiet, others might not work so well, such as rattles, electronic toys or toys that move too much (cars, balls, etc).

4. Sit near the back of the church, where the kids won’t be as much of a distraction. My husband and I occupy one of the back benches of our church, as do other parents of small children. It’s easier to keep the kids from being a distraction in the back where there are few people behind us and the door is near if we needed a quick exit.

5. Encourage babies to nap during service. When both of my kids were infants, they would normally take small naps around the same time we would have church service. If you can encourage your baby to take a nap, do so. It might be tough to hold them still for an hour or so, but you will be able to listen to the service and your baby will be rested afterward.

6. Give clear expectations to toddlers and older children. Before every church service, I remind my son of what is going to happen and how I expect him to behave. I remind him that he needs to sit nicely on the bench, play quietly with his things, not to make a mess with his snack and to be polite to those around us. He also is reminded that if he needs to use the potty he should before the church service so he doesn’t distract others during the service.

What to Do When Your Child Cannot Sit Still During a Church Service

It is hard for young children and babies to sit still for long periods of time. Most young children can only sit for 15-30 minutes at a time. It may be necessary to take them out of the church after 30 minutes have passed just to give them a break. If there is a children’s playroom, take your child there to relax for a few minutes, reminding him/her how they need to behave once you go back inside. Often there is a TV monitor or speaker in the playroom for parents to view the service from downstairs if you need to be in there for a longer period of time.

Taking Kids to Church

Do You Have Any Tips for When You Bring Your Children to Church?

Do you have any tips or tricks you use when you bring your children to church? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below!

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: I understand how giving children a break in the church nursery may be helpful, but what if it's encouraging bad behavior?

Answer: In my case, I bring my daughter out to give her a break, and then I bring her back in.

Question: What do I say to my 2-year-old to get her to stay quiet during church?

Answer: I explain to my kids that it's like story time, which is a time to listen with our ears. At two years of age, it might be hard to understand, but after repetition and redirecting, your daughter will eventually get it.

Question: Should you let your child bring their phone to church if they have one?

Answer: A phone during church might be a distraction to others, especially if it accidentally makes a noise.

© 2011 Marissa


Marissa (author) from United States on September 23, 2013:

Church Girl, I definitely agree that there can be training at home for how kids should behave in public. This can be practiced at dinner time or during story time. There are times though, especially when kids are very young, that they need some distractions during a long period of time, such as during a service. It is well known that kids' attention spans only last 20-30 minutes, so to keep them quiet and calm during a service which can last up to 60 minutes or more, it can be helpful to bring a quiet book/toy or a small snack. Once they're around the ages of 4-6 years and can better control themselves, they can be expected to sit quietly for that long without any toys or snacks. My 5 year old son is now at that stage and does very well during church sitting still without a toy or book or snack, but for my two year old and 6 month old, I come well prepared.

Thanks for your comment! :)

Church Girl on September 23, 2013:

When I was a child of 8 and when I had my children (2), the training for public places took place in my home. That's where I learned and taught my children to sit and be quite so that when in a public I knew how to. As a child I didn't "play or eat" in church or anywhere else and I trained my children the same way. The lack of home training is the source of the problems we see and hear with young children. You can do it moms.

Marissa (author) from United States on May 04, 2013:

paula, it does help to bring a few small things for your child to do while in church. It's hard for little ones to sit still and quiet for so long! Thanks for reading!

paula on May 03, 2013:

my church doesn't have a daycare and I need too take them too church with me it's a must so they will in still godly things in them with the way the world is. they need four year old just can't keep still in church. and I take her all the time. am going too start takin coloring books and crayons. and see will this help her.and she loves too go too church with me she sings in the choir with me but she just want keep still. my.

Marissa (author) from United States on April 12, 2013:

Pinkchic18 , while it's great that these parents are bringing their kids to church, the noise can be a distraction for others around them. I'm glad you like my tips and hope that others can benefit from them! Thanks for reading!

Sarah Carlsley from Minnesota on April 11, 2013:

I feel like more members of my church need to read this ;) there is always very loud children and parents who can't control them. Oye. Nice work here, great tips!

Marissa (author) from United States on February 18, 2013:

MissJamieD, glad you like the tips! Thanks for reading!

MissJamieD from Minnes-O-ta on February 18, 2013:

Very cute ideas and great idea for a hub:) Something many of us have struggled with:)

Marissa (author) from United States on February 18, 2013:

Anna Evanswood , glad you like the tips! Thanks for reading and commenting!

Anna from Malaysia on February 18, 2013:

Great work. We take my child to Church and your hints are gold:) Thanks

Marissa (author) from United States on December 28, 2012:

ExpectGreatThings, I'm sure if your daughter is a good example, your son might just do the same. Let's hope for the best!

When this hub was the HOTD, I had many people who don't generally read parenting hubs read it, so I saw a ton of varied opinions when it comes to kids. No biggie. To each their own! I personally love my little kids. :)

Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

ExpectGreatThings from Illinois on December 28, 2012:

This is such a useful hub! Thanks for all of your ideas. My daughter does really well with a pad of paper and some pens. But I am not counting on her little brother to be as quiet - in the summer he turns 3 and will promote out of the nursery. I am amazed at how many of your commenters get annoyed with kids. I have always been entertained by their squeaky little voices and fun spirits.

Marissa (author) from United States on May 06, 2012:

liftandsoar, followers used to be called 'fans' here on HP sometime before even I started writing on the site. I guess they decided to change it for good reasons. I'm glad to be a 'fan'! :) Thanks again for stopping by!

Frank P. Crane from Richmond, VA on May 06, 2012:

Thanks, TPM, you're very gracious. You are right about PDX...

I've enjoyed reading some of your other hubs as well. Welcome to my growing group of followers. I have to admit to being just a little uncomfortable with anyone "following" me. I've preached all my life that it's Jesus we follow. But I understand what HP means by it.

Marissa (author) from United States on May 06, 2012:

liftandsoar, thank you very much for your kind words! You're right about bringing kids to church to learn how worship can be a useful and encouraging experience. Our kids are very accustomed to going now that it isn't a hassle.

Be easy on PDXKaraokeGuy; he's a good guy and he was just being honest when he commented on here, which I really appreciated. To each his own, right? :)

Thank you for reading and commenting!

Frank P. Crane from Richmond, VA on May 06, 2012:

If I were still a pastor, I'd print your hub on a bulletin insert and include it once a quarter. (w/your permission, of course) Excellent! Having said that, it's a good thing to remember that presumably one brings kids to church because you want them to find worship a useful and encouraging experience, if not immediately, later. Don't let going to church become such a hassle that the child grows you to avoid it altogether.

Word to PDXKaraokeGuy: were you never a kid?

Marissa (author) from United States on April 19, 2012:

Kelleyward, thanks! I'll have to go read that hub if I didn't already. :)

kelleyward on April 19, 2012:

Wanted to let you know I added you and this hub on my latest hub on free things to do with your kids. Thanks for writing this useful article!

Marissa (author) from United States on March 28, 2012:

jenniferg78, thank you for sharing your story. I too think exposing young children to a religion helps to create a strong foundation for a good value system. Thank you for reading and for commenting! :)

jenniferg78 from Philadelphia, PA on March 27, 2012:

Your kids are very cute :) This is a great post and your kids will have good memories from going to church because you prepare them well and make it a good experience.

My mother used to take us to synagogue when we were little and we learned very quickly to be quiet and sit nicely. I think it was a very positive experience for us and i think exposing children to religion at a young age helps to give them a good value system. I have only good memories and I hope one day I will be able to give my kids the same positive experience.

djmiller83 from Orlando, FL on March 26, 2012:

you are very welcome. Please read mine when you have a chance. It's the first freelance article I ever wrote so I am new at this. Much Appreciated.

Marissa (author) from United States on March 26, 2012:

djmiller83, I'm glad you liked the article! Thanks for reading and commenting!

djmiller83 from Orlando, FL on March 25, 2012:

good article. we can use it for our little girls.

Marissa (author) from United States on March 23, 2012:

khae_g, I'm glad you found the hub to be helpful! It's hard for little ones to sit through services, especially those that may be longer than 30 minutes. A book or a quiet toy may help your daughter to stay quiet so others around her can listen. My daughter enjoys a little Noah's Ark book I keep in our bag since she loves animals now. Perhaps your daughter would like something similar. Best of luck! :)

khae_g from Vienna, Austria on March 23, 2012:

It's a very helpful hub. My daughter is always in the Church since birth because I'm an Organist in our choir and my husband sings in the choir too. So I have a babysitter(most of the time it's a family member like my aunt or cousin) watching for my daughter during our worship services. And because of that, I think my daughter is not that kind of a child who cries when her mother leaves her and she is not a shy-type-little-girl. Yet I never let her bring a toy or a book or anything else to the church which is why she has become very noisy and can't sit still during services. Next time I'll try to bring a book and let's see if this will make her sit down quietly.

Marissa (author) from United States on March 12, 2012:

louromano, kids are fun! Thanks for reading!

louromano on March 12, 2012:

I like kids very much. Because i seem kids character pure.Thanks for sharing.

Marissa (author) from United States on February 13, 2012:

teaches12345, I'm glad you liked the hub! Keeping kids calm and quiet in church is important not only so that they learn to respect the service but that others get to enjoy the service as well. I'm sure you know that as the preacher's kid! ;) Thanks for reading and commenting!

Dianna Mendez on February 11, 2012:

As a preacher's kid I had to model quiet behavior during church services. I highly suggest your advice to parents in keeping children happy and interested in church attendance. When my son was little I would keep stickers, matchbox cars, snacks in my purse to keep him quiet. Enjoyed your hub!

Marissa (author) from United States on January 27, 2012:

Lol. :)

Justin W Price from Juneau, Alaska on January 26, 2012:

exactly. and, yesterday, my wife said to me "These girls are driving me crazy. I need a break." it sounded an awful lot like having children...

Marissa (author) from United States on January 24, 2012:

Oh Justin. It just means that you devote your life to other great things (like your wife and your great poetry!) for which you will have more patience. To each their own, right? :)

Justin W Price from Juneau, Alaska on January 24, 2012:

that's what I hear... but i know i'm too selfish and impatient :)

Marissa (author) from United States on January 21, 2012:

PDXKaraokeGuy, gotcha. Not everyone is all about raising kids. It does take a high level of patience and love, understanding that the little monsters (cute little monsters, of course) will someday grow up as wonderful adults who are able to make the world a better place. In that is the reward. :)

I will read your poem, certainly. Thanks for stopping by again!

Justin W Price from Juneau, Alaska on January 21, 2012:

Practical, once my wife and I made the decision not to have children, my patience for them went from slightly detectable to none., I view them as the ultimate narciststs who take take take, weaving a path f destruction, finances, relationships, etc in their wake. i don't understand why people have kids, but, i hear it's rewarding :-)

read my poem Lizards

Marissa (author) from United States on January 20, 2012:

Hi, swayaminfotech, I'm not sure which 'parents' you're referring to, but if it's the parents in the hub, I don't quite see how trying to keep kids occupied or quiet so other people can enjoy a church service (or any public event) is letting them 'get away with it'. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, though! :)

swayaminfotech on January 19, 2012:

At the same time, these parents are letting them "get away with it."

Marissa (author) from United States on January 19, 2012:

Paul, I like your premise, to not have your children be a problem to society. If only all parents had that idea about their kids! Thanks so much for commenting and sharing your ideas. :)

Paul Bisquera from Los Angeles on January 19, 2012:

You're right Practical Mommy, there are a lot of parents who don't properly train their children. Unfortunately, those parents "live on guilt" that they didn't get the things they got as a child so they feel obligated to give them everything. At the same time, these parents are letting them "get away with it."

I don't believe in "being popular with my kids" or being their friend. All I want is to keep them safe and make sound decisions when they grow up. My basic premise is to have them "not be a problem to society." That's all.

Marissa (author) from United States on January 19, 2012:

Come on now, PDXKaraokeGuy, don't you remember being a child? ;) Perhaps I'll consider another hub of how to have better behaved children in public, because even as a mother I do agree that there are too many children out there who are not effectively taught how to properly behave in public (and that's aside from the guaranteed occasional public tantrum that comes with all children) and too many parents who lack the skills to teach their children proper public behavior. Thanks for commenting, and thanks for the idea!!

Marissa (author) from United States on January 19, 2012:

ishwaryaa22, thank you very much for your kind comment and for reading!

Justin W Price from Juneau, Alaska on January 18, 2012:

can you write a hub about not taking kids in any public location? If I hear one more screaming kid at winco I'm liable to public ally endorse forced castration (can you tell I'm not a parent?).

Ishwaryaa Dhandapani from Chennai, India on January 18, 2012:

Very Thoughtful and Sensible hub. This hub of yours deserved the Hub of the Day! Congrats! Keep on educating us, hubbers, with more of your mothering experience. Interesting and useful! Vote up.

P.S. Your kids are very cute!

Marissa (author) from United States on January 17, 2012:

Purple Perl, well thank you! I appreciate your comment. Thanks so much for reading! :)

Esther Shamsunder from Bangalore,India on January 16, 2012:

Such wonderful practical tips for every church going parent. You are indeed a caring mom.

Marissa (author) from United States on January 16, 2012:

jpcmc, my son would be asking in a loud toddler voice, "Where are the sounds?". Lol

ahydz, thank you so much for reading and commenting. I'm glad you liked the hub! :)

ahydz on January 15, 2012:

Great HUb! ...I agree that it's a tough job to make kids well behave while in church...these tips will really help a lot esp that my kids are very active. Congrats on Hub pf the day!

JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on January 15, 2012:

@rLcasaLme. At 7 months old, my baby also loves to watch videos on my phone. However, what she likes the most are those with loud sounds. I tried it once in the church it just made a huge ruckus. Did not try it again. LOL.

Marissa (author) from United States on January 15, 2012:

Paul Bisquera, I'm glad you liked the hub! Thanks for reading and commenting. :)

Paul Bisquera from Los Angeles on January 14, 2012:

Practical Mommy, you have a great article and detailed! So much good chock full of answers which I will certainly use. Thanks!

Marissa (author) from United States on January 14, 2012:

Thank you all so much for taking the time to read this hub and to leave such wonderful comments! I really enjoyed reading through all of your own personal stories and the tips that you shared. I'm glad that so many of you can relate to the hub, and for those who did not, I'm glad that you took the time to respond as to how the hub applied to your life. I appreciate it all so much! :)

Rael Casalme from Dubai, United Arab Emirates on January 13, 2012:

My baby loves to watch videos in my mobile. I play the video repeatedly while having the phone locked. She would just watch it until she gets asleep. But sometimes I'm not that lucky. =)

ediann on January 13, 2012:

I enjoyed reading your hub very much. Your children are adorable. You provide wonderful advice. I wish I could take my son to church but it has been very challenging. He is autistic and has great difficulty in any social situations. Sadly when he made his first holy communion he was not able to do it in procession with the other boys and girls. He did it alone at a mass that was not designated for the children. It broke our heart that our son had to do it all alone. Thanks for the good advice. I wish we had the joy of having him experience this but due to his behavioral and social struggles it is so very difficult. I have cried many tears on all that my son has lost out on. I wish we had the understanding of others.

Jennifer N. Williams from Independence, MO, USA on January 13, 2012:

Thanks for writing this hub!!! I'm always trying to find ways to keep my 2 children quiet during church and with me being a single parent with four and five year old daughters, keeping them quiet on some Sundays can be a challenge. I always bring snacks for them and make sure that they pack up books, quiet toys and art materials to keep them entertained as well as making sure that what they wear to church is comfortable. And when they make too much noise, I would take them for a walk in the hallway and would still be able to listen to different talks through the loud speakers that are in the ceiling. Again thanks for writing this hub. And the children are adorable!!! God bless and thanks in advance for reading my comment.

LaDena Campbell from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz... on January 13, 2012:

Congrats on Hub of the Day!!

oliviaharrisbrown on January 13, 2012:

Great article. Everything that you said is true and are tips that I also use with my kids. Thumbs up!

Moon Willow Lake on January 13, 2012:

Though I'm not a church-goer, these tips come in handy for all sorts of functions where a little one needs to be still and quiet for a while. We have used all of these techniques for our little guy, and they usually tend to work well. One other thing we do is bring earbuds so he can watch videos on our smartphone. It keeps him quiet and entertained at the same time.

Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on January 13, 2012:

Great tips and I love the photo of your kids too! My children are all older now, but its nice that our church provides activity baskets in each of the pews for coloring, writing and playing with colored pipe cleaners. Congrats on hub of the day!