It’s been awhile since my last blog post, and I’ve definitely been inspired to write this particular blog post! I read a few things about bringing kids to mass: some of the things I agree with and some I respectfully disagree with.
With that being said, here are some tips that have helped me and my husband enjoy mass with our children.
1) Have a set time for mass. We used to go to the 12:30 pm mass but found that our kids would misbehave more during later masses than earlier times, so we decided to start attending the 9:30 am mass. Usually children are happier earlier in the day, so it’s great to capitalize on that happiness. Either way, you should have a scheduled mass so that your kids get used to going and have something to look forward to each week.
2) Make sure the kids have eaten something. For me, I’m definitely one of those people who can’t eat food early in the morning, but my kids tend to want to eat something right before we step out the door. Soooo…. it’s better to give them something small to keep them satiated during Mass.
3) Find a church that offers a children’s liturgy. Our parish is blessed to have a children’s liturgy at the 9:30 am mass, but not every church has the resources to have a separate liturgy for them. If you don’t have that luxury because of the lack of manpower, perhaps consider running the liturgy for the kids yourself. In my opinion, it’s great to have the children learn from someone who wants them to love Jesus like we do. It allows your kids to interact with other kids as well as learn about the readings from another source.
4) Take your kids to more than one mass a week. The beautiful thing about the Catholic Church is that at most churches, at least in my area,they offer daily mass. I strongly recommend taking your children to more than one mass a week. As you know I have 3 boys and now my 7 and 5 year old are able to behave during Mass because they are older, but my 1 and a half year old used to misbehave during Mass, but now he’s great!! My secret: I take him to mass daily! Someone mentioned to me that kids will often misbehave during Mass because they want to know what’s going on, so I decided to take Aaron daily, and after the mass, I would allow him to walk up to the altar and check things out. He absolutely loved it! I get all sorts of compliments on how well behaved he is! THANK YOU God for your grace!! Aaron is a gem at mass, and it also brings the elders joy when they see young children during the week! They look forward to seeing him daily.
5) Sit close to the front. During Good Friday I allowed Philip to sit with me during the mass. We got a seat right in the front row because of the RCIA. Because he got to see everything up close and at times have the deacons and priests looking at him, he behaved so well! I was so pleased with his behaviour! Since then, he has wanted a seat close to the front of the church. I also noticed that the loudness is typically at the back of the church and the closer you get to the front, the quieter it gets. It also allows you and your young family to focus. Again the thing is… kids want to see what’s going on.
6) Explain the mass. Ok… so you may have to whisper, but if you do it consistently, your children will know the true significance of the mass. Especially when the kids hear the bells during the consecration of the bread and wine, it’s great to whisper to your kids… “listen for the bells, it’s a very important part of the mass because it’s when the bread and wine become Jesus.” I found this helpful with both Philip and Isaac.
7) Participate during the whole mass. Children learn by example, so when you do something or don’t do something, they will follow your example. Remember that you are your children’s first teacher. They need to see you participate in your faith so they can learn from you.
8) Talk about what you learned. If you have a children’s liturgy, it’s a great discussion to have after Mass to learn about what they learned. If you don’t have one, it’s still ok because you can tell them on the way to mass that they should listen to what God wants to teach them during the mass. You can find out what they absorbed during the readings, but if they say… “I don’t know” then you can go back over the readings and help them to seek God’s message for the week.
9) Be consistent. This echoes number 4, but it is slightly different. Consistency is the key to learning anything new. The key is to start slowly and consistently instead of fast and inconsistent. Going to mass is about being consistent. Once a week is ok, but it is the bare minimum, and if you only frequent church once a month or less than, it will be hard for kids to pay attention especially during times like Good Friday, where the service is extra long.
10) Always pray for your children’s holiness. This particular tip is less about mass an more about praying for your children. Holiness is something that is learned. With the exception of Mother Mary, we are all sinners, but with the grace of God, we can be great Saints. We all have bad days, especially children, but always intercede for your children and ask the Saints and Mother Mary for their prayers! Jesus never turned children away because He loved their innocence! Children can teach us how to love God more fully.
There you go… here are the tips my husband and I use to ensure we all have a great and wonderful time during Mass. Remember that children will always try and test your limits, but with the grace of God, all things a possible!
Comment below for other tips that have helped you! May God bless you abundantly!!
Your sister in Christ,