Making room for children

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Making room for children

  1. 1. Worship and Learning ABC’s for ParentsWorship is one of the basic ways people learnwhat it means to be Christian. Children learn and Friends of Childrenworship by worshipping with the congregation Arrive in time to find a good place to sit. SittingSunday after Sunday. near the front will provide younger children with a better view of the sanctuary. They learn they belong to Christ and are welcome in His Church. Bring quiet toys, books, or coloring books for They learn to know the Lord’s Prayer and preschool and early elementary school age other parts of the liturgy from memory. children. They build a fund of memorable, shared experiences of Christian community against which they may draw when they are older. They are enriched by the beauty of music and Clue in children as to what will happen next in worship. Children who can read will want to follow the service in the Prayer Book and find hymns in Making art as expressions of praise and as human responses to God. They hear stories from the Bible read and The Hymnal. Children like to be ready. Room Discuss worship at home to prepare children for interpreted, and begin to see Christian worship as one place where God may speak any departures from the routine of worship such as Baptism or other special features. Also give for Children in Church to them. time to answer questions about worship experi- They witness the drama of Baptism and ences. Eucharist as signs of God’s kindness and favor. They discover that they are valued as Express your gladness at having children in persons by God and by the people of God at worship. During the Peace be sure to welcome the Church. children near you. Include them in you conversa- tions before and after worship to let them knowBringing children to worship may not always be they belong.easy, but it is an essential part of their growthin Christ. The Body of Christ assembled is Free yourself from worry about children’s behav-incomplete in their absence. We need children. ior and be open to receiving their ministry to you. A Guide for Parents and Friends of Children
  2. 2. Children at Worship The Preschool Child The Primary ChildOur parish family includes an increasing number Adults may question the wisdom of including The school-age child brings some new abilities toof families with children. The inclusion of these preschool children in worship. It is true that they worship:children in worship is of great importance. sometimes distract those around them and A greater capacity for attentive listening. distress parents by their behavior. But as An increasing ability to read.We welcome children to worship by: members of the family, they are needed by all of The ability to organize and memorize infor- Providing a family worship service each us to complete the circle at God’s table. mation. Sunday; Encouraging families to bring their children The preschool child comes to worship with: Parents help the primary child toward greater of all ages to the family worship. Children are A short attention span, participation in worship as these capacities an important and welcomed part of our Seemingly endless energy, develop when they: worshipping community; A growing curiosity about everything. Providing child care for infants and toddlers Help memorize the Lord’s Prayer and other through age two during worship and urging While these ingredients can combine to test the parts of the liturgy. parents to slip out at the time of The patience of adults, there are several things Review the bulletin with the child to identify Communion of the People to pick up their parents can do to make the preschooler’s new or difficult words and preview together infants and toddlers so that they can go to experience—and everyone’s—more relaxed and those parts where the congregation re- the altar rail as a family; enjoyable: sponds by reading and speaking. Encouraging older children to participate in Invite the child to follow the liturgy in the worship as acolytes and choir members; Sit near the front where the child can have a book Holy Communion for Children. Encouraging parents to take their children clear view of the sanctuary. Find hymns in The Hymnal and go over the to the vestibule for a break whenever needed Prepare the child for the different parts of words. and to use the resources listed elsewhere in the worship service, explaining special events Talk about the sermon and ask the primary this brochure; ahead of time and answering questions that child what he or she remembers best about Providing children’s bulletins for young need an answer “right now” in a whisper. it. children based on the Gospel lesson and Allow the preschooler to bring along a Encourage the child to listen to the sermon having picture and storybooks on a table in favorite stuffed animal, picture books, for stories, answers to questions or impor- the back of the church; coloring books or other quiet toys to play tant thoughts. Modeling appropriate church behavior for with when they get bored. Make use of those children by teaching them to stand, sit, or provided in the back of the church. kneel with the congregation. Encourage as much adult-like behavior asAn effective teaching method is to gradually the child can tolerate. Allow children to belengthen the time a child remains in church. active within limits of the situation, as longChildren can usually be expected to participate as the activity is not distracting others.in an entire service in an orderly manner by the Use the quiet time of church as a chance fortime they enter second grade. a special togetherness of parents and child which may not be possible during the week. A sensitivity to the preschooler’s abilities and needs can help make worship a pleasant experi- ence for everyone.

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