Going to church as a family is a blessing. When young children are a part of your family, you need to think ahead when it comes to church. Families with young children may need to ask these questions when preparing for worship: “How do I help my child participate in the service?”; “How do I help them concentrate?”; “What should I do if my child wants to start moving around?”
A popular way churches equip families with young children is by providing “busy bags” or “quiet bags” to keep children engaged during the church service. Rather than putting together a random selection of toys or books, consider these resources, which will also help your child learn about what they are experiencing at church!
Busy Bag for Early Childhood
While it may be challenging to guide a young one through an entire church service, being there regularly reinforces a healthy spiritual habit. These books are a great resource to bring your child into the beauty of worshiping with others at church. My Book about Church is a great book to use if your child benefits from understanding what to expect ahead of time. Use the book to introduce them to what will happen at church. When the service starts, they already have some familiarity and confidence as they learn to join in worship.
Using Whisper, Whisper: Learning about Church, you can remind your child why you are there. Each page and illustration references a different part of the church service, making it easy for them to follow along.
If your child is too young to follow along in the service, there are resources for them as well! It is still important that they are with you during worship. During the sermon, they can still learn about Jesus using any one of these books.
Children’s Bibles and Hymnals
A Bible and a hymnal are essential to any busy bag. Take it one step further by having them read along from their very own Bible during the Scripture readings. It’s never too early for kids to sing praises to God! Pack up My First Hymnal so your young one can sing along.
Busy Bag for Elementary Children
Your child can be in God’s Word as they work through these activity books. If your church is following the lectionary, you can look ahead and see what passages will be read in church. Coloring and activity books can help your child as they color a page that goes along with the passages for that day.
Books like Luther’s Small Catechism for Kids and Our Faith from A to Z are also great books to read to strengthen our understanding of why we go to church and how worship impacts our faith.
Children can also follow along with lessons connected to the church season with children’s coloring bulletins or the Growing in Worship. Ask your church to stock up on these bulletins to aid your worship together as a family.
Worshiping with Your Children
Even if your young ones are having a hard time sitting still and listening during church, you can take this opportunity to teach them about where they are worshiping and why. While sitting in the back is convenient for making a quick exit, sitting toward the front allows your child to see the pastor speaking and look around the church. Point out the specifics of the altar and what they mean, or point out what the pastor and acolytes are wearing and why they are wearing them. Church is an opportunity to welcome your child into community and relationship with God.
Find more resources to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with children.