Tips for Making It Through Mass with Kids

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You always see families with perfect kids in church and you wonder to yourself "How did they get them to behave like that?" I must say every once in awhile we are THAT family, but more times than not our kids have their issues with sitting through mass.

Taking your little ones to church was always something I was very nervous about before we had kids! I converted to being Catholic during my pregnancy with Vincent, so I was brand spanking new to the church, just as Vincent was. I was always nervous of what he would act like, or what I would do if they had a melt down in the middle of mass. It was very terrifying because you feel like ALL eyes are on you when you have kids, and I must say that once we had Vincent and got into the groove of things, it got easier.

We have tried EVERYTHING to figure out the perfect plan of attack for all the scenarios of what can go wrong during the hour long mass. The meltdowns, the ants in their pants, trying to get them involved {as much as a toddler can}, how to handle feedings, dirty diapers and everything that can go wrong within that hour. It has all happened to us, every single scenario we have been through, but we made it through!:)

Cute Kid

Here is what we have figured out in our almost three years of weekly mass with newborns and toddlers. Obviously these are tactics that have worked for us and our boys. You may have to find your own rhythm of what works for you and your family, but here is our list:

1. {Try to}Take them EVERY week: I think this is a HUGE one! I, never in a million years, thought that I could make it to church every week, let alone make it with my babies every week. Thankfully Jordan is the driving force and we have not missed a mass. The boys went seriously days after they were born. I think that has helped them to learn that mass is a quiet time, and it is "serious."

I am shocked to see how much Vincent has learned about mass! He kneels, does the sign of the cross, stands and sits and folds his little hands just like the adults. It helps that they see everyone around them doing the same thing. Luke is slowly catching on! haha

2. Toys or NO Toys: Jordan and I totally butted heads for weeks and months on whether they should be allowed silent toys or books or nothing at all. Sometimes they would help, but more times than others, they caused more harm than good for our boys. Jordan was totally right that no toys or distractions are best for our little men. I am thankful to not have to pick up dropped toys or worry about them flinging something at someone! Every now and then they will find a random Chapstick or something in my purse and play with that, but that's all we're working with. I see a lot of families allow books and maybe in the future we will use books but for now, it's more of a hassle for us.

3. Snacks and Drinks: After two years we have FINALLY found the perfect rhythm and timing for when to give them snacks and drinks, it has been working pretty darn well for the past few months! We would just give snacks whenever they wanted but then we would find ourselves out of ammo mid-service and trust me that is not fun! We now give them their milk right when we arrive {after a quick family prayer}, they drink that through all the readings, then when the homily begins {midpoint of service} we let them have their snacks and they munch on those through the homily.

4. What to do during a Meltdown: My first instinct is always GET THE HECK OUT OF THERE and run like the wind, but that is not always the easiest. Jordan and I also butted heads on what to do in this situation. I would typically just take Vincent or Luke out to the hall and let them chill out and run around a little, but that was not working. Jordan's choice was to take them out and get them back in ASAP. I was very hesitant at first because I am ALWAYS so nervous of what others are thinking and I did not want to walk back in just for them to have another meltdown. At the end of the day Jordan's approach worked {I swear he is always right...}, but letting them run around or stay out in the hall was more of a reward than punishment. If and when they melt down, we swiftly walk out and explain why they cant act that way {obviously Vincent knows right from wrong now}, but then we get them back in ASAP and it has helped alleviate a lot of problems.

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