We’ve all sat in church near a family that was blind to their noises and commotion. You know what I  mean…  the candy wrappers, the feet kicking the back of the pew, the sound of markers squeaking or crayons going back and forth on paper… and that’s not even to mention talking, laughing, getting up and down picking up pens that were dropped over and over again, or the interruptive trips to the bathroom. And what about the  parent’s desperate and distracting attempts to keep their kids quiet in church which are sometimes as loud and bothersome as the kids’ noises. You know.. “SHHHHHH!!!” “Stop that.”  and more.

There really is a quick, simple solution. As parents, you can experience your children sitting still and quietly in church. It’s going to take a little work on your part, but you’ll love the results. Your parenting strategy needs to be:



BEFORE sitting in church the next time

During the week that leads up to the next time you’ll be going to church

Parenting with the goal of training to the heart, not to the image.

Training so that your kids understand the bottom line of how to be respectful in this particular setting (church)

The RESULT will be independent thinkers who apply this foundation of RESPECT to this specific setting AND other situations when you are not even around.

Repeat: independent of your supervision

So, gather your children together and say, “Role Play Time.” Consider the ages of your kids when doing this. Show respect to them during this by calmly conversing with them, and please DO admit where you have unknowingly allowed disrespectful behavior or done things wrong.  Again, this demonstrates a heart that is constantly changing, learning, and teachable and plays a huge role in the overall dynamics that you want in your home.


This photo is from a 1997 album: Kelsey 22 months, John 8, Daniel 3 1/2, and Alexis almost 6

When mine were little, I’d sit them all on the couch, facing them, at their level. I’d say something like, “Okay, we’re going to go over some things that will help us to understand how to be respectful of others in church so that we are not a distraction to others and so that we are respectful of the property around us.” I’d follow that up with “Why do you think this is important?” Get their input and make sure that important things are said such as “so that others can listen to the sermon” and “so that we take good care of property (pews, carpet, hymnals).”

The discussion would be centered on understanding RESPECT and what that looks like at church. Training to the heart means being careful to not make this about US and LOOKING GOOD so that they get complimented or recognized as being good kids, or so that WE look like good parents or look like WE have it all together. We have to remove this type of thinking, keep a check on our verbiage, and communicate the continual thought of making decisions based on respect and considering others more important than ourselves.

“So, what do you think about kicking the pew in front of you?”  (it  could bother them) “What would be wrong with that?” (it could keep them from fully hearing the message.)  AND “What do you think about opening up candy wrappers in church?” (noisy, distracting) “So, should we open up candy in church?”

Please note: by allowing them to think and respond, by us not “spoon-feeding” them the answers, we are equipping them to make wise choices independent of our presence.

Did I say that candy in church is wrong? No. I am teaching them to consider others more important than themselves and if a candy wrapper is going to be a distraction, then choose a different candy or open it ahead of time, stored in a location you can easily get to with the same principles in mind.

Although I am role-playing with specific things to teach them NOT to do, it is all coming through an intentional angle of thinking through the filter of RESPECT, not a list of do’s and don’t’s.

Rhonda Tobecontinued…StilltryingtoLIMITmybloglength ellis