Sunday, September 30, 2007

Babies at church--any tips?

Hubby and I are part of a house church of about 30 people. We meet every Sunday night at the home of someone in the church. We eat dinner together (prepared by different people every week), then we sing, pray, usually have a teaching time, and share what's going on in our lives. I love getting together with other believers, listening to the Word being taught, etc., but nearly every week I dread going to church because there's no easy solution as to what to do with 1-year-old. Usually we bring a playpen and set it up in a back bedroom, then I nurse him, sing to him, do all the usual things, and then put him in the playpen and tell him to go nigh-night. He always screams for a long time before (sometimes) finally drifting off to sleep, and I feel so bad for making him to try to sleep all alone in an unfamiliar environment with the noise of 30 people swirling around him. The other choice is letting him stay awake and be out with us, which usually means that he is a distraction to everyone and neither Hubby nor I (especially I) can focus on the teaching or what anyone else is sharing at all, because we're too busy trying to keep 1-year-old quiet and occupied. It's such a huge hassle that sometimes I wonder if it's even worth it.

Tonight 1-year-old was acting so extremely fussy right before it was time to leave for church that we decided that I would just stay home with him. He is teething and must be in pain, because he is constantly crying and pointing at the little tooth that is pushing through, plus he still has a bit of a cold. Hubby had to go to church because he is teaching the Bible lesson to the older kids tonight.

Anyway, I guess I am wondering if anyone has ever been in a similar situation and what you have done. I don't want to dread going to church every week! Also, I suppose I'm getting ahead of myself, but I keep thinking about how crazy and challenging church will be when this new baby is born. 1-year-old will be 20 months old then.


Swylv said...

well there are 2 camps on this...

u and DH can take turns going so one stays home with 1 year old


just take the child and I'm sure you will find it is only you thinking he is distracting others and who knows maybe people will take turns with him on their laps occupying him. a few teethers, snacks, etc ... that's what we did with DS during service, he wanted to be with us not in a nursery so we kept him with us.

even now that he is 6 and we've been attending a home church since he was 3 and he is the only child there....he is good...we let him roam the house and play as long as he is quiet, and we just tune him out other than keeping an eye/ear out to make sure he is safe of course...but even at a church where he has to sit still, DS is quite capable of sitting next to me or on the floor by me playing quietly with non noise making toys...and we even sit in the front row and I've never had someone tell me my son is a distraction. Most people comment on how well he does during the 1+ hours of teaching.

hope this helps

Monica said...

We have seven children and have them in with us each week for church. Thankfully, our church believes children should be with their parents, so my kids aren't the only ones in training:) It is such a challenge, but well worth it.

I find that my children do not sit consistently well until about the age of 3.They are not bad, but they just can't seem to keep their bodies still or their voiced quiet. Things definitely improve by age 2 however.

I usually sit near the back so that I can leave the room without interrupting others. But I really try to get in as much of the service as possible.

I've found that cheerios, board books, miniature manga doodles, photo books work well for little hands. I've also used an umbrella stroller. I think the baby could see better and wasn't quite a wiggly. Services can be hard because the times usually fall around naps.

Hang in there. It will get better.

Christi said...

Hi there, I am a mom to nine and we keep ours with us during the service as well. The best thing you can do is practice at home every singel day. Start with about five minutes of sitting there with him on your lap while listening to a teaching tape or a book on tape. Just tell him to "shhhhhhhh, listen...." Work your way up to that hour you want on Sunday. It will take a while but be consistent and do it every day (except maybe Saturday I guess...)
Hope this helps.