I want to preface this post by letting you all know that I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Most people know members of our church as Latter-Day Saints, LDS, or "Mormons" (because we have an additional book of scripture called "The Book of Mormon"). Our church meetings might have a different set-up than yours do, but I feel that a lot of the information I've provided below is valid and helpful, regardless of your religion. I hope you enjoy the post!
Also, if you have questions about what I believe, you can send me a message or check out Mormon.org, LDS.org, or the link on the left side of my blog!
Okay! On to today's post! My friend Annie said:
I thought of a topic for a blog post: how to learn, be spiritually fed, and participate in church with little ones, in and out of nursery. My little guy is almost one and some Sundays are ROUGH. I leave thinking, 'what did we even talk about today?' Anyway, interested to hear your thoughts about it!
Answer: A lot of times I can't participate or feel spiritually fed, it's a hard time of life for that! Because this is something that I struggle with, I asked her and some other friends the types of things they do with their children in order to promote reverence and interest in gospel topics. I got some great ideas that I'm going to be incorporating from now on! Here they are:
I usually have a diaper bag filled to the brim with snacks. If their mouths are occupied then they usually can't cause too much trouble. Once at church, I was feeding my kids their snacks and I turned to my friend and said "I feel like church is just one big feast!" And she, being the righteous one that she is, "Oh! Isn't it just?!" And then I had to explain that I'm not as holy as she is, but yes, it is also a spiritual feast. Or at least it should be.
Moving on. Here are some snack ideas that we like for church:
Apple slices, bananas, nuts, crackers, pretzels, string cheese, occasional fruit pouches (they're expensive and it's excessive packaging so we get them very rarely. It's easier to feed my kids applesauce at home in bowls), ham slices, dry cereal, peanut butter and honey sandwiches on whole wheat bread, granola bars, clementines, and carrots.
Most of the time I pack all of these. Not kidding.
|I've found that when I put the snacks in these compartmentalized tupperware containers, it is a total game changer. My girls think it's so fun to get their very own package of snacks!|
Coloring, quiet toys, and looking at pictures of temples and Jesus Christ on my phone are our go-to's. That about exhausts our creativity, but you people are super creative! You sent me some great ideas and I'm excited to share them!
Stickers and Puzzles: My friend Brooke says they like to take stickers and my friend Kristi takes wooden puzzles. Both are great and not noisy. Depending on your kid.
File folder games: My friend Natalie said her mom made them for her when she was young and they only got to play with them at church so it made it more special. You can do different topics like tithing, Noah's ark, matching games, etc. There are so many great ideas for these on Pinterest and a lot of them are free!
|My friend Brittany made this file folder matching game for her son. She made it using magnets, a file folder, and pictures of members of their family on both sides!|
We like to take books that have scripture stories in them, but we'll take other books as well. Besides regular books, here are a few other types of books you could take to church.
Photo albums: For Tina and Lil Spits' birthdays I usually compile some favorite photos from their past year of life and put them in a $1 photo album. They love looking at the pictures.
Quiet books: These could be considered activities because they're interactive. Either way, you're going to have a quiet kid in church. You can purchase them, or, again, there are some great ideas on Pinterest. If you love crafting you can really make some awesome quiet books. A lot of the materials aren't very expensive (you can get several sheets of felt for $1) and you can customize it to what you think your child will enjoy! Here's some quiet books my friend KarLee made for her daughter. She's super talented, so don't feel bad if your quiet books don't look like hers and look more like my nonexistent ones. We'll all just show theses video to our kids during church and pretend we made them.
Remember: little bodies are meant to move, so don't get discouraged if they don't sit quietly for the whole meeting. It's an unrealistic expectation! If your kids sit quietly the whole meeting, then "you go, Glenn Coco!" but that's not going to be the norm. Here's a wonderful insight from my friend Nicole: "If we made it [however many minutes] into the meeting before my kids needed to go run around the halls, then I consider it a success."
That takes care of your kids! Phew, what a list!
Now, how about YOU? How can YOU be taken care of and spiritually nourished during church?
1. Making the effort to go, even though it's hard! You show yourself, your partner, and your children what's important to you and where your priorities lie when you choose to go! God will bless you for making the effort. I promise.
2. Prepare beforehand by doing what works for you! Examples of things you can do:
- Pray that you'll hear what you need to hear, receive the peace you need to receive, or get an answer to a question you've been seeking.
- Think about your baptismal covenants and how you can better keep them.
- Read your scriptures.
- Think about the sacrament.
- Think about Christ! How can you draw closer to Him?
- Read the lessons you're going to be discussing in your classes beforehand.
- Take inventory on how your week went. What did you do right? What do you need to work on? What can you do to make that happen?
- Who can you serve?
I hope you like this post as much as I do! As I said before, a lot of these ideas are ones that I got from you amazing people. I am still working on all of this stuff. I'm nowhere where I want to be, but after writing this post I know where I can start!
What do you like to do to help your children learn and help them be quiet in church? What do you do to spiritually recharge during your church meetings? Let me know in the comments!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog today! As always, I'll see you on the flip-flop!