This annual Spiritual Toolkit for Families put together by our clergy offers helpful resources for parents and caretakers looking to support the spiritual lives of children or youth.
Tips for Parents in Worship
Find a good spot. Sit where you and your children are most comfortable. Sometimes children like to sit in the front, so they can see and hear what is going on during the service. Sometimes children like to sit toward the back near the Art and Creative Table.
Sing, pray, respond. Children will learn liturgical behavior by following along and copying what you do.
It’s okay when kids make a bit of noise and even on occasion have a full-throttle tantrum in church. We expect it, and we won’t give dirty looks if it happens to you.
Teach. Explain parts of the service to your children. You can help your children follow along in the bulletin.
Take breaks. Obviously, a screaming child needs a break from the liturgy. It’s perfectly fine to get up and take your child out of the sanctuary at any time they need it. The Narthex (i.e. entry hallway) or the Nursery in the Canterbury Room are great places to go. If you hang out in the Narthex, you can still hear the service through the speakers. If you go to the Nursery, you can stay with your child or you can ask the Nursery staff to take over so you can return to the liturgy.
Use the Art & Creative Table! At the entrance to the Sanctuary, we have crayons, coloring sheets, and books for kids to use during the liturgy.
Take a tour. Allowing the children time to explore and learn about the important elements of the sanctuary will relay the importance of entering the sacred space with reverence. If you’d like a guided tour, talk to one of our clergy.
Talk with others. If you feel like your kids are having a difficult time, chat with other parents at St. Stephen’s to ask for their advice after the service at hospitality. There’s a lot of collective wisdom out there, including parents who have been in your shoes years ago!
For any questions, concerns, or ideas about children in worship, talk to our clergy.
Adapted from St. Paul and the Redeemer, Chicago