Monday, April 19, 2010

How do you get your kids to behave during sacrament meeting?

(Particularly young kids) Like really behave, not just be quiet as long as there is a snack in their mouth or a toy in their hand.

We've been struggling with this a bit lately! With a three year old, two year old, one year old, and my pregnant belly sometimes I feel like we're the ward circus show!

*This question was submitted by a good friend of mine and boy is it a good question. I am sure many of you can relate, I know I can and I only have a three year old and a baby. Some Sundays I feel like we have it all under control and then the next week my little guy will assure me that we don't. If only this picture was each of our scenarios each week. :) Can't wait to hear all of the reponses on this one. So lets help a sister out and give some great suggestions and all the while help everyone out.


Laurie said...

I'm not sure how to entertain a one-year-old, since I think I've blocked that out of my memory! :)

But here's what we use (for a 4- and 6-year-old):
-Magna Doodle
-draw/write on the program
-file folder games (I'm actually in the process of creating a blog to sell these...)
-packet of religious coloring pages
-The Friend

Pretty much anything to keep their hands busy!

For younger (when other kids wander to our bench!), we also have finger puppets and lacing cards (where you lace a shoelace around the edge - I made these myself).

Shantel said...

I have five children - 13years down to 2. We have a standing rule that they get nothing until after the sacrament - and is they misbehave while they are waiting for that time to pass, they have to wait until the first speaker is done. I also have a no food policy. I have sippy cups with water - that is it. They get to pick between two things - drawing or coloring and a small puzzle or magnets or something of the like. If they reject both options and do not sit quietly - out they go with Dad to sit on his lap in the foyer. They cannot run around, they dont get to play - they usually pick to come back inside where they get something to do and sit nicely. If a full on tantrum ensues, he takes them out to the van - (when the weather is good - otherwise it is a empty classromm and a chair) until they settle down, and they get the chance to choose again. For the most part it works, and our kids to pretty well. We have our days, but they all just know the rules, they have allways been that way.

Alicia said...

I think it's different for everybody. You have to do what you feel is appropriate.

All of my kids are able to have a snack after the sacrament has been passed. We also keep a bottle of water so they don't need to get up to go to the drinking fountain.

My younger ones (2,5,7) can bring a toy if they play with it quietly. They also lay down under the bench sometimes and I don't mind again as long as they are not roudy. My oldest turns 9 this year and he is naturally growing out of toys at church because of his ability to read. He will spend most of the time either reading from The Friend or drawing pictures... or he'll sleep while my husband or I scratch his back....

....In fact I think the majority of the time I have one hand scratching one of my kids back and the other hand scratching another back. Between me and my husband we have four arms scratching backs all at once for nearly 40 min. straight every Sunday :)

Alicia said...

Personally I think it's too much to ask of a 3yr. old to sit still for an hour without some kind of snack or busy work.

coloring books. lacing cards with shoe laces, magnet dolls or stories (you can get ones with religous themes), activity books with buttons and zipper things to keep hands busy, The Friend, crayons coloring books, board books, favorite gospel art kit pictures in a binder, or small laminated gospel pictures on a key ring, puzzles, mazes, small toys that don't roll away or make noises...etc

Alicia said...

I am the 3rd of 4 kids. My dad used to smack us around if we didn't sit still in sacrament. We had no toys no snacks. Everything was very strict. For as long as I can remember we had to sit perfectly still with our arms folded, facing front and sitting up straight. If we started to drift off to sleep we would feel a sharp thump on the back of our head. We were scared into being good. Church was a miserable experience for us growing up. Needless to say, today, none of my siblings are active in the church or in any religion for that matter.... I know these miserable memories aren't the full reason for where they are today but I do know it contributed.

Pokemon said...

Thanks for all of the thoughts shared so far. I hope we will get a few more to join in. We like using the gospel art book, other books, the friend, crayons, stickers, etc. We do allow snacks and bring a water bottle so we don't have to go out for drinks. If our little guy makes choices that require us to take him out we go to an empty room and he sits on a chair. People are in the halls during portions of our meeting so sitting in the foyer is too entertaining.

I also wrote a post a while back that has oodles of printables of queit activities that may be helpful and there are a few more comments there as well...take a look here -

And keep the thoughts coming...

Shantel said...

I should say that the no snack policy came from my husband. His family was in charge of cleaning the building every Monday morning after church and he swore to himself that his family would never contribute to the mess that is made in the chapel. You feel differently about it when it is you that has to clean up after people for years. I do agree every family is differnt and you need to do what works for you.

Stephanie said...

We bring books, coloring, and similar activities, and the two rules that have worked best for us are: No toys and stay on the bench. Luckily that's helped us manage to avoid the trucks on the pews and wandering up and down aisles that can be pretty distracting. We did simple snacks like fruit snacks when they were smaller, but now my youngest is 3 and we don't do snacks anymore and we've limited what we bring to coloring and the Friend or scripture readers. I'm amazed it works, but we couldn't have pulled that off a couple years ago-- I felt like I packed a suitcase every week, but it helped.

Jenalee said...

When my youngest daughter was little, she had a hard time sitting still. I would bring paper and crayons and The Friend and other quiet things she could do. Still there were times when she would make too much of a disturbance. I would take her out of the chapel and down the hall to a room where I would try to get her to calm down. If it was really bad I would take her out to the car; and I would tell her when she could sit still and be quiet we would go back into the chapel and she could have the paper and crayons or the magazine to look at. If she wouldn't sit still, then we would stay in the car and I would hold her on my lap. She couldn't play or do anything she thought was fun. It seemed sometimes it wasn't working because the next week we would end up out in the car again. But it did work when it was consistent, and she grew up and became a reverent, respectful young woman.

Jamie said...

I don't have children yet but while I was on a mission my companion and I went into the library where there were oodles of old copies of the Friend and photocopied the activities out of it. I did this in two areas, once for a 9 or 10 year old and the other for a 6 or 7 or 8-ish year old. We hole punched them and put them in a binder the second time around. You can also put them into sheet protectors and go for dry erase markers (crayola now also has dry erase crayons). Also, I'd suggest making a master copy and then making a copy to use as it takes some work to do this. I'm sure you could also just go into the Friend archives or something. This is also good for waiting rooms and such.

Another thing is making a quiet book. I actually came across this blog looking for ideas for one. Someone I knew made one for her children and it rotated each week who was responsible to take it to church and bring it home. Kept their kids quiet for a long time. Good luck!!