At the Journey, we welcome and enjoy having kids with us in the worship services. Kids can learn the songs, sing along, engage in prayer, and even glean truths from the sermons. I love it when kids answer my rhetorical questions out loud!
In 2024, we will have Together Services on the first Sunday of each month. This means kids aged kindergarten and up will join us on those Sundays (and I hope you often bring kids in on other Sundays too!) For some of you, that’s terrifying! No one wants to be the parent whose kid is jumping on the chairs or rolling on the floor during the sermon, right?
How can you help your kids, especially the younger ones, to not wreak havoc, but instead engage with God in the worship services? Here are 10 tips for you:
- Snacks. Have three separate snacks ready for them during the sermon. It breaks up the time and helps keep them happy. If you bring one extra tasty snack, they’ll even look forward to the sermon, because they’ll get the treat! As they feast on God’s word, they can feast on a graham cracker.
- Prepare them beforehand. Every Friday, we email the church to share what songs we’ll sing on Sunday. Listen to them with your kids before Sunday morning! This will help them (and you!) be familiar with the tune and engage during the singing portion. When it comes to deeper parts of the service, like communion, talk in advance about it. See my article on kids and communion HERE for some biblical and practical considerations.
- Teach reverence. Though we hope church is fun for kids, fun is not the primary goal. They may feel bored sometimes. But talk with them about the deeper realities of what’s happening at church. We are worshipping the God of the universe who loves us. When we pray, we talk to God together as a church. A sense of reverence will help them engage in the service.
- Snacks. Did I mention that already? Seriously. Snacks. It’s ok if they spill; we’ll clean it up.
- Kids’ Clipboards. We have little clipboards with crayons and activity sheets related to the Bible passage. Grab one and use it! It may help them focus for 5 minutes and even connect with the passage.
- Younger kids stay with family. Getting a bunch of 6 year olds together is not a good formula for staying focused. Have your younger kids sit with you. Older kids could sit with friends sometimes, though I personally prefer having my family together for worship.
- Snacks. Got it? Bring snacks. The best ones are the ones that take longer time to eat.
- Other activities. It’s ok if your kid doesn’t sit with eyes forward for the whole service. Coloring, reading, puzzle books, and other quiet activities are AOK!
- Don’t worry what other people think. The vast majority of people respect you for trying to help your kids be in church. As a church, we support your efforts. If your kid makes a little noise, chances are everyone around you is smiling, praying for you, loves you, and is glad to see children with us in the room. If they make a lot of noise and are a distraction, just take them out for a few minutes. It’s ok!
- Be a model. Do you want your kids to sing? You sing! Do you want your kids engaged with the sermon? Show them you are listening and engaged. What a joy to see a parent and child next to each other and each taking notes. If you’re disengaged, you can pretty much guarantee they will be double disengaged.
We look forward to having the kids worship with us more in 2024! I trust it will help them in their discipleship and be a blessing for our church.