Thursday, April 28, 2011

Keeping Quiet in the Pew

    Six-year-old Angie and her four-year-old brother Joel were sitting together in church. Joel giggled, sang, and talked out loud. Finally, his big sister had enough. "You're not supposed to talk out loud in church."
    "Why? Who's going to stop me?" Joel asked.
    Angie pointed to the back of the church and said, "See those two men standing by the door?  They're hushers."

   My kids are very antsy and sometimes loud during Mass. I'm sure many moms have something in their purse or perhaps a lineup of activity bags in the pew. Or perhaps you have a strict behavior policy your children adhere to well? I must say, I feel at peace during the first half of The Mass and The Children's Liturgy of the Word, where the young ones go out to learn in their own way. But when they return or sometime around The Consecration, it's "All Hands on Deck!"

   **Every young child has a point when they can't sit quietly any longer. I'd like us to share what we do to keep our children quiet or busy at Church. Read my ideas below, then link to or comment on yours!



FOCUS ACTIVITY: 


Keep your set in a Quiet in the Pew Bag! Read more on my craft blog, Modest Mommies

Catholic Mass Seek and Find cards w/ Mass Bingo


   Because I am crafty, I made a set of Catholic Mass Seek and Find cards. These cards include the parts of the Mass, objects within the church, and for kids who can read – finding phrases during Mass. This centers the focus of their attention on what's going on at Mass, not other activities.

A newly designed version is available for purchase at HomegrownCatholics.Etsy.com as a printable file. Buy once and print as often as you need to replace or give as gifts.  Includes several cards with things you can look for during Mass. Also includes a Bonus Mass Bingo set.
 
  I decided to publish my first draft version here for FREE. Simply print on card stock or business card paper. Have your kids sift through the cards to find the items or parts of Mass as pictured.


Catholic Mass Cards sampleCatholic Mass Cards sample2

The Soul Diet: For Kids
   Free Printable Booklet about having a satisfying faith life. Children can match, write and color about prayer, virtues, scripture and Sacraments.

The Soul Diet 4kids bookSoul Diet 4 Kids sample


ABCs of our Catholic Faith
  Print these 4x6 Cards and add to a photo sleeve book. Used glue and clear laminate to add cover to photo book.

My Catholic ABC Book CoverBaptism Edward Joseph
BaptismImmaculate Mary

QUIET TOYS
   Sometimes the little ones need something to hold onto. I lean towards plush objects for my toddlers. Nothing that will make a noise or zoom from one end of the pew into another parishioner's purse.
  •  We bought the soft My Mass Kit by Wee Believers when it first came out, paying top dollar. So I'm not inclined to bring it outside of our home and be potentially lost or dirtied. But it is a wonderful idea to consider!
  •  Wee Believers have their My Quiet Church which is on my wish list! They also have plush dolls with books, a nun and a priest. Go to their FAITH FORT for games, activities and printables!  The Let's Go to Church playset and sacramental accessories are available at a few online stores including St. Patrick's Guild.
  •  Shining Light Dolls are vinyl dolls that are a perfect addition to your church bag. It's quiet, no batteries, indestructible, and easy to wash.
  • My Little Felt Friends and Saintly Silver have wonderful felt saint dolls you can purchase, or be inspired to make your own! 
  • Wooden Saint Dolls found at St. Annes Pixies as well as St. Luke's Brush are reminders of those Saints who lived their lives yearning for more time with God. Some of us have ventured to make our own. Though against wooden pews, these could be a loud toy. A set for the non-crafter can be easily made using a great printout and decoupage from Catholic Icing!
CATHOLIC MAGAZINES and BOOKS
   I have a few versions of books for my children to follow along with the Mass, and multiple other Catholic Readers of sorts. Only problem is only 1 of 4 can read, so I need ideas for my little ones - the ones who can't read or sit still for more than 10 minutes! Books I carry in my bag are full of pictures, and many have a handle. They like that.
LAPBOOKS or FAITH FOLDERS


   Many mom's have expressed that Lap-Books are excellent for any quiet time. It is easy to find ideas online to create them. These are great for the car ride to church, or instead of Sunday cartoons while you get yourself ready to go.
http://lapbooksforcatholics.com/
http://showerofroses.blogspot.com/p/lap-books.html
http://www.homeschoolingonashoestring.com/lapbooks.html
http://hfclassicalacademy.blogspot.com/search/label/Lapbooking
http://catholicblogger1.blogspot.com/2010/02/lent-lapbooks.html


FREE PRINTABLE MASS WORKSHEETS
Catholic Kids Bulletin by Is There Zucchini in This (blog)
Today's Gospel Activity Sheets by CatholicMom.com
Mass Worksheets for ages 7-14 by CatholicMom.com

Catholic Focused COLORING PAGES and Other Printables
Celebrating the Mass Lesson Plans by The Catholic Toolbox (1st Gr+)
Divine Mercy Jesus by TheDivineMercy.org
Great Saints Coloring Book by Relevant Radio
Saint Coloring Pages by Waltzing Matilda
Plenty of Enrichment Ideas at Catholic Icing
Many links also found at ReligiousResources.org

STORES - Visit one near you, or shop online!
The Catholic Company
Catholic Supply
St. Patrick's Guild
Christian Book
Catholic Family Gifts


CHURCH ETIQUETTE FOR CHILDREN:
   Go online to see there is much to be said about this subject. Here's a printable list of hints I found at King of Peace.  Rather well said.

   Fr. Saunders comments on Appropriate Behavior in Church. He writes "Jesus loves and welcomes children, but they do need our help." This is an excellent article for all ages of churchgoers. After all "Manners, whether at Mass or in other situations, reveal the value we place on each other and God. "

   You might read this article about "Avoiding Mass Hysteria." She approaches the situation by not "packing their picnic baskets-activity bags for church"  but helping the children focus on each part of the Mass. "Children are fast learners. The key is consistency." I agree that too many parents are allowing handheld games, tempting snacks and other ridiculous options to enter The Lord's House! She suggests:
*Until a child is 3 years old, he is a lap-sitter. His feet simply do not touch the ground. The child is held lovingly, but firmly, with no exceptions. If he puts up a struggle, he is promptly removed.

   Thanks to Catholic Icing's post, I found a worksheet at TheDivineMercy.org website. You can print a chart for children about Behavior at Mass.



   There is a beautiful article on the subject at FaithandLeadership.com that says "A challenging child in church forces everyone -- parents and other parishioners -- to confront whether we value compliance over compassion." She had a son with attention disorders, but her parish saw him as an opportunity to spread Christ's love.

One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Alex was staring up at the large plaque that hung in the foyer of the church.  The plaque was covered with names, and small American flags were mounted on either side of it. The seven-year old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up, stood beside the boy, and said quietly, "Good morning Alex."
     "Good morning pastor," replied the young man, still focused on the plaque.
     "Pastor McGhee, what is this?" Alex asked.
     "Well, son, it's a memorial to all the young men and women who died in the service."
     Soberly, they stood together, staring at the large plaque. Little Alex's voice was barely audible when he asked, "Which service, the 8:30 or the 11:00?"


   All these wonderful resources and yet, they'd rather ask if they get donuts afterwards. I teach them their religion well, but their focus is easily strayed. All this research has really given me a second chance to start over in this area of discipline. I hope you've found it helpful too!


Send me more ideas, links, articles…

5 comments:

  1. I'm a little embarrassed, I don't see snacks on here?

    I think we are the only ones who do snacks in church. Bridget just got weaned from her daytime feedings and needs a little snack of pretzels....which makes my 4 year old hungry.

    We've only had one Sunday of no nursing so far and I had to walk her out and hold her in the back. Littles just need to run and can't. It's a hard stage.

    I have found the only thing that works is to pray to a couple women I know that died, they were wonderful mothers and help me every time during Mass. My children are not perfect, but we make it and I am patient enough when I remember to pray to them and ask their intercession.

    Our "religious" children books are just not interesting enough to keep their attention. They are so wordy and either have basically the same pictures on every page or just not interesting enough pictures for them.

    It's hard.
    but they grow and I look down the line and see my 3 oldest being so good during Mass and ask myself, "How did I get here?" They are so good.

    They used to be naughty in Mass too.
    Hang in there Melissa!

    PS are you coming to the Easter Party? You still belong to the group and we'd all love to see you!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for offering the seek and find cards. Keeping quiet during mass is always a challenge. Sometimes, we get to mass early and let them light candles and walk around and that seems to help calm them down.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nice post! Thanks for mentioning my Reverence and Awe Collector Cards. This is a wonderful resource! I just noticed a pin on pinterest for your cards...and repinned. I wonder if you could check out my current blog series shared with Catholic All Year...our two little boys (15 months and 2.5) are penpals, discussing Mass and Mass Survival Tips! http://www.equippingcatholicfamilies.com/2013/01/a-letter-to-frankie-about-moms-mass.html

    ReplyDelete
  4. oops...any mention of our Arma Dei Shoppe within your list of resources and online stores would be MOST appreciated. We have a number of Catholic books (liturgical crafts, journal) 12+ printable Catechism craft kits and 3 types of quizzing cards.
    It's all here: The Arma Dei Shoppe: www.armadei.blogspot.ca
    THANKS!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am so happy to have found this site. My two little ones have been making it so hard for me to focus during Mass. So happy for all the help!!!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for reading about our family. I look forwards to sharing ideas, joys and struggles. God Bless you in your journey!

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