Recently I received a lovely email from a reader who had just completed her RCIA through the church and become a catholic! I always think it’s such a lovely thing to do as it’s a big commitment to make as an adult and something that cradle to grave catholics can often take for granted. And she wondered did I have any secrets for taking my lot to church every sunday. And I’d be lying if I said it’s always a pleasant experience that I look forward to………….and let’s not even talk about taking them on my own. Let’s not go there.
I love that the day I decided to write this post I had 3 of the craziest children at mass and had to struggle with elodie and a full nappy bag and hot foot it out of there after communion as she was crying and wriggling out of my arms and I was left with a big seat full of toys and stuff with just keira as my helper. Then as we left as a family – 3 of them were crying over different things and we marched them straight to the car. Timely then I write about how we do things. But here we go………….
1. pack entertainment
We pack rice crackers, colouring pencils, paper, books, toys and tend to keep most of those things in the same bag that they can just pull out for church. Sometimes it lives in the car until next sunday but I never leave the house without entertainment.
2. children’s liturgy/sunday school is your best friend
I love that at our new church we have children’s liturgy almost every sunday. I send the 3 big kids off with their daddy (to keep an eye on the twins) and they have a ball. They do the same gospel as we do in church but at a level that little people can understand. Here is a sample of Tillie’s work that I had to keep – because didn’t you know that spiders are filled with the holy spirit too? Finn was smart enough to draw a picture of his Daddy…..since he was sitting next to him.
3. remember that you have every right to be there and your priest wants you to be there
Sometimes it can be easy to think that your kids are disturbing the peace of the church. I still think older people are staring at us because someone is acting up but I’ve never received a bad comment in all the years I’ve been taking the kids to church. I get plenty of nice comments and am reminded by priests that they want families to be there. You’re doing a good thing so don’t worry about what people think.
4. be prepared early
I always lay clothes out the night before for everyone – sometimes myself included – and get up early. Not always easy to do on a sunday morning and we are loving the extra hour we get at our new church. When I took these pictures we even had time to play outside before we left home. Sometimes we are getting in the car 5 minutes before mass starts…………..
5. Keep smiling
I sometimes forget this one but you’ve got to keep smiling. Plus my fake smile hides what I’m really thinking as I glare at one of my little ones who might be misbehaving!!!
6. Try to sit in the same spot each week
We sit near the back or near an exit. Very important for a quick exit when necessary (and it usually is necessary).Retro daddy is usually the one who has to take the twins out if they need a break or are acting up and that generally means a little run around outside. If your little ones are older than mine you might prefer to sit closer to the front (my mum always marched up the front for church each week) so they can pay attention.
7. Find the right service for you
We always attend church that is closest to home and also where keira goes to school. She loves to see her little friends there each sunday. And we always do sunday morning mass but if you think your kids would be better on saturday night then try it. Retro daddy would love us to go to saturday night mass so he could have a sleep in but I know my lot and there is no way they would be better behaved on saturday night! But if your church isn’t really right for you then see what else is around.
And that is how I take all the family to church – if you have anything to add just let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you because I know some of you are old hands at this!