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Thread: Babies/toddlers and Church

  1. #19

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    RH your church family service sounds just like ours. We go to the 5pm service, most ppl are families and the few others are totally used to having kids around and expect that. When DD was younger and didn't make much noise she would run up and down the aisles to amuse herself! Same as you, she doesn't like being left in the creche without me and she's not old enough to join the kids program. Nobody, I repeat, nobody ever minded her running around the church or the occasional distraction she provided (mostly she just got smiles and toddled back to me). She wasn't noisy, except when she was 'singing'! We also got a new assistant minister and she has a DD the same age, so they potter about together (much to everyone's amusement).



    The only comments I ever got was how much energy she has and it was never in a negative light. If she started to get too rambunctious (as she does now) I would take her to the creche for the remainder and chat to the other parents in there as well (the creche rostering system is a bit haphazard for this service). We have a sound system hooked up to the creche so we don't miss the sermon, but most of the time I don't hear it all.

    I think you should be able to enjoy the sermon yourself and your DS should be as welcome as anyone. I've seen old ppl snorting and snuffling into their handkerchiefs, is this lady suggesting that would be too distracting or does she just have a problem when it's a child?

  2. #20

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    Oh dear I just had a very wicked thought ... maybe you should leave her in the creche and ask the lady to bring her out to you if she can't settle her?

  3. #21

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    Thank you all ladies.

    I agree, Jesus said children were more than welcome, why does His Church disagree? And there's no spiritual growth or teaching in creche, which is why I'm more OK with Sunday School.

    We do have a "baby room" - into which the sermon is rarely piped, although it should be, and is full of feeding mummies and crying babies so there's chatter and you can't hear the sermon anyway. The once every month or so DS kicks off (usually because I try to keep him "under control" and not walking around at all) I take him in there and miss out. The creche doesn't have a piped sermon, but the sermon is repeated at 11.15 and a lot of creche helpers attend that service: it's for the older people and less lively, no drums etc (DS loves the drums - he was a conceived percussionist - he was drumming pre-birth!). But if I can't take a baby to the "family" service I can't take him to the "oldies" service!

    DS is a distraction to some, I know that. There are people who smile at him, pull faces, even play with him and go out of their way to sit near us to play, or grab a toy from their bag to play if DS approaches. But I thought that was not a bad distraction!

    I just don't know what to do. There is another service after the family one and a seperate evening service (6.30-8pm, so can't take DS; I did try once for an ordination but after doing some walking DS got a bit grumpy and tired so I took him home). I don't want people to dread seeing us, but I don't see that children shouldn't come to Church. What if he doesn't want to go to Sunday School because he prefers Church? Will I be told that isn't right? (FWIW, I disagree with children 10+ going to Sunday School because they are old enough to cope with a service without needing games, our Church has Sunday School until 14-18, but very few older ones, wonder why!)

    This woman does help at the Thursday creche too. I left DS there ONCE and she didn't bring him back until he'd been crying, really distress crying and tears, for 10 minutes. I said to bring him back at once if he would not settle easily. So I'm going to try creche this morning but I'm really not comfortable about it. At least he only does 15 minutes there and I can have him back!

    Is it so wrong to not want to have other people look after your child? Is it so bad to like your child and want to spend time with him? He is so well behaved and if ANYONE asks me to move him out the way I do so - I'm just hurt that there's a faction who doesn't like him and it may have gone on for a bit and there may be a lot of them and why wasn't anything said earlier? Why couldn't it come from someone "official"? I've been told so much that "people in creche love babies" but does that mean they try to "steal" babies with whom to play?

    TBH I just don't feel welcome there any more now - even for the children's services! And DH has said to find a properly family-friendly Church. This is why he doesn't attend Church and TBH I can agree with his stance right now, I feel that hurt.

  4. #22

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    It shouldn't matter what service it is, I had not even hear of a "family service" til you mentioned it on here. We just go each Sunday morning or when we can make it. As for creche, regardless of the venue if you do not want your child to go into a crech then don't put them there & shouldn't feel you have to.

  5. #23

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    When I went to our local Catholic Church (from being a young child to my early 20s) a crying room was built as part of the new church, but there were so many children in the area they set up a separate Family service at 10am. Everyone that went to that service knew it would be loud, have a lot of singing, and lots of children bouncing up and down on the wooden pews.

    There would have been at least 200 people in the Church - children, teenagers and adults. No-one seemed to mind the kids being kids. In actual fact, the parents WANTED them to be there so that they could teach them the rituals of the service. How does this happen if the kids are in a creche?

    Maybe your Church needs to have a rethink about the service to make it more inviting. I would suggest not worry about the creche, have the kids back in a family service, and just have a crying room for those that need it. As others have suggested, Jesus wanted the children there, so why keep them away?

    Again, have moved away from Church for other reasons, so I may be slightly biased...

  6. #24

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    I'm going to talk to the curates ASAP - the vicar is away atm (post-Christmas holiday then currently jury duty). Both the curates have young children - in fact, both have children less than a year older than DS is currently. But their children go in the creche!

    I really disagree with creche anyway, children should be in Church. And it's so wrong to tell a mother to leave her baby. I dunno, I feel like I'm making a fuss over nothing, everyone else uses the creche! DS did 5 minutes in there this morning and then cried. So I tried again later and he cried. And again... I ended up taking him to my study. He was happier but I felt terrible - I'm forcing something he's not ready for and why? Because grumpy old women who could attend another service don't want him there.

    I'm going to call round the local churches - including my own - to see what the official stance on toddlers is. If they are welcome or not. I will explain I have been told by my current church that my toddler is no longer welcome and would he be at this church?

    Then again, one of my friends took a non-Christian friend to the Easter service once and was told when she arrived to leave as there was no room! Some people just should become Christians before they take it upon themselves to speak to people at Church!

    Ha, just been e-mailed this (emphasis mine):
    Below is a wonderful poem Audrey Hepburn wrote when asked to share her "beauty tips."

    It was read at her funeral years later.

    For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone. People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.

  7. #25

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    That statement by Audrey Hepburn was absolutely beautiful Ryn - thanks for sharing it, it moved me to tears...

  8. #26

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    Let us know how you go Ryn, I think children should be encouraged to be in church too, if that is what they and their parents want. (Hope I didn't give the impression I let DD run amok, she only goes where no one is sitting and isn't noisy!). But our family service is very interactive and our Childrens' Minister is a bit crazy, so there's a bit of fun and noise at the start anyway.

    I don't know if you have churches around that have a special Childrens' Ministry, but maybe it's worth asking (I hadn't heard of it before our church, but I assume we are not the only one!).

  9. #27

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    Hmm. Well. I had a chat with the curate today and I can understand the point but I can't say I'm 100% happy with it.

    Yes, DS can distract people. Yes, when he's the only toddler there people don't know how to deal with it. Yes, it's better to pay attention to the sermon than a toddler. BUT DS loves Church. Loves it. Loves the singing, the dancing, the readings (OK, so he doesn't need to be 2ft away from the speaker to enjoy it, but he likes to see what's going on), the prayers (mostly because I give him food to make him still and quiet then) and having a look-see during the sermon. He HATES being stuck at the back of the Church, unable to see.

    I can see how a good compromise is that I let DS walk about at the back and use the little room if he gets upset - I have been promised the sound will work in there now. But I also cannot see how making DS frustrated that he can't see what's going on then making him sit in a room away from everyone will help. I know it's only when the children aren't around (once a month the Sunday School doesn't go out - although the creche is still run). I know it's only until DS stops needing to walk around everywhere all the time. I know it's a compromise because people may still be distracted by him, although less likely if he's hidden away. But he has to be hidden away from people.

    I don't think anyone can be 100% happy in a situation like this and the curate did say we'd review it in a month to see how I felt, and that he would hate for DS (and me!) to leave... I dunno. I don't want to upset people, so will do this, but I don't want to upset DS either.

    I think it's part of the mental problems I'm having that I don't like creche too. That and it's just playtime and not even a worship music CD or a Bible story. But I can't let anyone take DS away, and that involves leaving him with strangers (it has taken me 11 months to be OK with him being alone with DH for a few hours!). I don't know if I will be able to cope with leaving him at creche at work, tbh, so it's good I'm facing this now I suppose.

    Any thoughts?

  10. #28

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    Ryn at our church the kids go to a childrens service from age 2 1/2, but even then, they stay with their families through worship and leave when worship finishes. At "kids church" they do a craft & a bible story sort of thing.

    The creche at our church is for breastfeeding and for the toddlers to go & make noise. BUT the same policy applies, they are with their families for worship & prayers & head back only for the sermon time. Even then we have the back corner of the church set up for those who don't want to use the creche. I personally like this option unless Jovie herself walks to the creche & asks to go in (she loves it in there)

    Maybe a compromise that he stays with you until the sermon and then he can stay in there if it is okay with everyone?

  11. #29

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    I tend to have your DH's stance... Although I am of a different faith, if my children (at all the various ages they are) werent Welcomed... I'd not go there again!

    Our religious ceremonies are like big musical pantomimes & there are kids running, squealing, crying, laughing etc all over the place & it's just the norm1

    I hope you can find some answers!

  12. #30

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    OK, I'll put the disclaimer on this again that I'm not religious and don't go to church (though have been in the past) so I half-feel that I shouldn't be posting here at all and I hope I"m not offending anyone by doing so. I guess I'm doing so because, religion aside, I see it as a tricky situation and feel that I've had some experience in dealing with tricky situations in the past.

    So this is my take on it. At 11 months old he is not going to understand the sermon or the words in the hymns etc. Of course church is going to seem like a whole lot of fun to him. Lots of people, lots of singing. So that's kind of all you want to achieve at this stage - for him to LIKE going to church and see it as somewhere that's good. Then when he's older you'll want him to understand more of the teachings. But he's too young for that yet.

    So anything that makes church seem NOT like fun, I think is kind of counter-productive. So being stuck at the back with you having to constantly supervise him and 'restrain' him will lessen the experience for him, in my opinion.

    I can also see that he would be a distraction for the other worshippers so yes, I think everyone's needs have to be balanced given that DS is only one person. The most important person in the world to you right now, and rightly so, but still only one person.

    So, on balance, I would tend towards the creche option. I know you see it as just playtime, but isn't that all that 11 month-olds want? Maybe you could suggest that they play a worship music CD so at least he is getting to know the music/hymns. I think this would be an excellent suggestion.

    I know there's the double-whammy of creche that you will be leaving him with strangers and I can't help you with that unfortunately, that's a very personal decision and one that I haven't yet faced. But I think you're right that it will be a good trial run for you both before you go to work.

    Finally, your curate sounds like an excellent and very fair person so I would give what they have suggested a shot. At the same time, if it really does not sit right with you, perhaps make some gentle enquiries on other churches policies in your local area. But if you like the one you're in (apart from this current issue), then I would tend to stick with it.

  13. #31

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    Can I just ask everyone:

    You are new to an area and go to a Church, or your friend invites you along. You take your young toddler. You are told that the toddler must go to the creche because it's better for their development, better for you and better for the congregation. If the toddler doesn't like creche, well, you can stay in there with your child and miss the service. That's how it was put to me on Sunday. How bo you feel? OK, I have gone to this service since DS was 3w old, but does that make it different/better?

    I think it's detrimental to a child's development to be left in a creche where there are 4 helpers and 20-30 children age 0-3, with the non-toddlers gated off from the toddlers. DS is too small for that area, he is a toddler now, yes, but not big enough to stand alone with a 3 year old! It is far more beneficial for a child to have one-to-one care, especially at this crucial age - I am not saying this has to be from the mother, just saying that one helper for five or more children, some of whom are babies and need bottles at this time, isn't too great. Especially not because they are volunteers and therefore not very professional - they automatically give DS a nickname I dislike and on Monday I heard them comment that his little girlfriend looks like a boy, they thought she was a boy! OK, so she doesn't have loads of hair but that is so mean to say in front of a one-year-old - believe me, if this girl understands that she can have cake at DS's birthday party, she can understand people saying she looks like a boy (btw, she's gorgeous and beautiful and I always tell her that!). Is there anything wrong with not wanting to leave your baby in a place like that?

    DS already loves prayers because he knows he gets food and drink then, he loves communion because he is given a blessing (and loads of admiration in the queue), he loves listening to the reading - he wants to see the speaker, but does stand still and listen... I can't help but feel it is counterproductive to take him away.

    BUT it is a great Church and we'll see how it goes and review it in a month's time. I don't want to be a problem-causer, but I don't see that because of DS's age he is less welcome than anyone else.

  14. #32

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    You are new to an area and go to a Church, or your friend invites you along. You take your young toddler. You are told that the toddler must go to the creche because it's better for their development, better for you and better for the congregation. If the toddler doesn't like creche, well, you can stay in there with your child and miss the service. That's how it was put to me on Sunday. How bo you feel? OK, I have gone to this service since DS was 3w old, but does that make it different/better?
    I'd not go... I'd tell my friend I will not fob off my child for anything, including a Church Service!

  15. #33

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    Exactly. If I weren't a Christian (just going for something to do, or because I was curious) then I wouldn't have even contacted the clergy, I'd have just stopped going. To Church, to the Bible studies, even to the Church-run playgroups. My social life would be over!

    I suppose that on Sunday it was made out to be that I was causing a problem and I should sort it out by myself, at least yesterday it was not a problem, just a difference of opinion, and how could everyone work together to get the best result. But it still upsets me that someone could just take it on themselves to tell me I shouldn't take DS to Church! I hope they say something to her so she doesn't do it to anyone else now.

  16. #34

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    Perhaps next time you see her ask if she wants to settle DS by singing to him....can I suggest "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world"!!!

  17. #35

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    You want to know the big joke? At Christenings, we sing to the child Jesus, Jesus loves N, yes He does, yes He does
    Jesus, Jesus loves N, yes He does, yes He does
    And He wants N to love Him too


    We'll be singing that on Sunday... how can you love Jesus if you are told you have to be seperated from Him for your benefit?

  18. #36

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    Honestly Ryn, I'd be telling the curate that you aren't happy and try to find another church in your area that would like to have Leibling in the church during the service.

    Dh has a friend who is a Vicar in Bristol (not sure where that is compared to where you are, but they absolutely love kids there!)

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