Motherhood Monday // Church Training

Believe it or not, I get asked quite often about how I get my kids to sit still
and obey when we are out and about, or when we are at church.
Most Sundays, Mark is involved with the worship service, 
so I sit in the front of the sanctuary with my my crew of four little ones
 and try not to cause too much distraction for those behind us.
As far as grocery shopping is concerned,
if my parents don't watch my kids when I need to get groceries,
they tag right along with me to the store.

Let me be frank,
there are days when no matter how hard I have worked with my kids,
they misbehave.
There are also days where no matter how much I have
neglected to train them, that they act like angels.
There will always be those outliers,
but for the most part they act the way I have taught them to.

I fully believe that I have to teach them what I expect of them.
I spell things out for them- word by word.
We practice good behavior at home,
and I always reiterate my hope for their behavior before we go someplace.
Before we head into church,
 I explain what I expect and tell them what the consequence 
will be if I am not honored during church.
If we head to the store,
I always tell them what I expect from them and how they need to be helpful.
They are also always aware of what privileges will be lost,
 or what consequences will be enforced if they don't obey.
I, obviously, don't expect perfection, but I do expect respect from my kiddos.

With all that being said, let's get to the training part.
Around 15-18 months of age, everything hits the fan with my kiddos.
That is when they begin to test their boundaries and they are on the go,
so they naturally want to be running around and exploring.
I remember last winter having a difficult time training Guinnyth to sit and be quiet 
during church time.
These days, she does very well for a two year old, all because of a little training.

This is how I do it... are ya ready?
We sit, for fifteen minutes, lined up on the couch, and pretend like we are at church.
That's it!  It is so elementary that it is almost silly.
At home, I don't have to worry about being a distraction as I redirect my child's behavior.
At home, I can let my child throw a fit and ignore it while teaching her (or him)
the right way to sit in church.
The main thing is to be consistent!  I use the same verbiage every time I am doing "church training."
"I have asked you to sit quietly.  You need to obey."
Say, "Okay, Mommy."
Then, you teach them what the appropriate behavior is.

Even now, if someone has a difficult time being obedient during church,
we practice our church-like behavior during that next week
while we are at home.
On the flip side,
if my kids are encouraged by others at church for their behavior,
I do try to give my kids praise and tell the kids "thank you" for being so obedient.

I also don't take "church bags" with us.
I did that with Ella and Liam for quite some time and
 realized they were more of a distraction than a help. 
 The kids would simply pull everything out, make a mess and noise, 
and then look at me and ask what they could play with next. 
 One kiddo would want what the other had, etc. 
 I chucked that idea and decided they could sit quietly for
 15-30 minutes once a week and it wouldn't hurt them one bit.  
They each have one snack that they can eat once the service has started, 
and that usually helps keep them quiet until they are dismissed for children's church.

So, that is what we now do. 
I hope this helped those mommas who are desperate
 for a little help in the "sit and be quiet" department.


  1. This is so great, Liz! Training is hard work, but it does pay off!

    1. Thanks, Aliesha! It totally does pay off!!! The more you have, the more you need to train! haha ;)

  2. We do a lot of talking about expectations ahead of time, but I haven't actually had them sit at home and practice being still. I definitely need to try this! At what age do you think you could start? My littlest one is 17 months and VERY much so on the go. I'm not sure if he is quite ready for the concept.

    1. When our #3 was 16 months (I was expecting #4), we were having a lot of trouble with her being a distraction in church. She was throwing fits and wouldn't sit still. After a few weeks of practicing a couple of times at home AND being consistent in church, she now does very well in church. Make sure you always follow through and you will see results soon!!! ;)