We started going to our church when our son was about 6 months old. He is almost 4 now. He has barely ever been out of our sight while he is there. So I feel pretty confident in vouching that nothing bad or traumatic has happened. I don’t know if it’s because of the people or music or having to sit still, but he does not like going to church. I would even be as bold to say that he hates it.

I am not proud of it. We are “those” parents with “that” kid. We have tried all sorts of strategies and appeasements. Some visits are smoother than others, but by the time we make it home around noon on Sundays, my husband and I typically feel like Vikings that survived battle. We are still hoping he will grow out of it or we will find a way to make it more comfortable for him. In the meantime, here’s a list of some things my son who hates going to church has done.

  1. He wouldn’t go to nursery unless I was the nursery worker. Yep it was either me or let whoever was on nursery duty handle a 30-45 minute meltdown. They always said it was okay, but I felt bad to put them through that. He is old enough for children’s church now and does better with that. Or at least he goes to children’s church without me.
  2.  He cries every time we pull into the church parking lot.We tell him that we are going to church, but on the short drive there he tries to convince us to go in the opposite direction. Then he instantly wails as our wheels turn into the church lot instead of magically taking him back home or to a playground.
  3. He offers to wait in the car. 
  4. We get him calmed down enough to go inside, but as soon as he sees the preacher he will cry again.
  5. One Wednesday a group of us were decorating the fellowship hall for an upcoming event while Wednesday evening church service was taking place. My son got away from me for a minute, and then I heard my name being called from inside the sanctuary. There my son was dancing behind the preacher on the edge of the baptismal interrupting service. I was mortified. Of course, that was the best time he had ever had in church.

We have learned that it goes best if he eats well before we go. Thanks to a fellow churchgoer we have learned that if we have goldfish (don’t judge) for him to snack on, he is more likely to sit quietly until children’s church begins. He tends to do better when we are able to attend consistently.

How do your littles act in church? What are your tips for making Sunday mornings smoother?

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Published by Lacey Hamilton