This morning I got a great email from a woman who is joining the Church; Her name is Emily.
First - YIPPEEEEE! Emily, I am so excited that you're becoming Catholic! How beautiful, how joyful, how wonderful!
Second - don't be overwhelmed, Emily. ;)
Third, Emily is looking for some tips on who to get her 4 year old and 2 year old to be good during Mass. I'll let you read a portion of her email:
My husband and I are in RCIA right now and we can't wait to be in full
communion with the One True Church!! There is, however, the small (okay,
medium) issue of bringing my almost 4 year old and 2 year old daughters
to Mass. [T]his Sunday we need to start coming to Mass (which
we are excited about) and then have a little discussion about the homily
or any questions we may have. Because we are both in the class and
because we want to going to Mass to be a family thing (obviously), we
will be bringing our daughters. And well, I am nervous about my girls'
behavior. They are good girls, but they are little and loud. And ask
millions of questions.
I am just at a loss on what I should do or if I should bring
anything to entertain them. Our instructor said we could bring
toys/activities for when we are doing our discussions, but I'm not sure
if that's appropriate for Mass. I think I am mostly freaking out because
they haven't experienced anything like a Mass before. I guess I feel
like cradle Catholic kids would be used to going and therefore, better
behaved? I don't know. I'm just afraid my daughter will be asking me
questions the. entire. time. loudly. Please help!! Did I mention because
we're in RCIA we're suppose to sit in front? Um, yes, there's that
I'll give my thoughts but I ask you to leave yours in the comment box. Even if we have differing opinions I think it's important because what works for us may not work for Emily, but what works for you just may!
A) My kids do not always obey / sit silently / whisper quietly as needed / behave during Mass and they've been raised there.
B) I think books are okay for Mass, especially for your 2 year old, but I wouldn't bring any other toy. We do not do snacks during Mass but when our kids are 2 and under they do get a bottle, sippy cup, or they nurse. We used to do toys and snacks and it just was NOT worth it. I'm so glad we did away with those things - my kids behave so much better.
C) A little bit of noise is okay - noise can be some talking, laughing, singing in the wrong place, even some crying or fussing. However, prolonged crying, fussing or screaming means our kids are taken out of the sanctuary. They are reprimanded and then brought back into the pew - being able to run around in the back of church or outside is a reward not a punishment for our kids!
D) We always sit in front and the kids tend to do better because of it. They can see what's happening at the alter, watch the bells ring, see the host be elevated, etc. It helps them engage and my husband and I try to point things out and tell them what's about to happen or is happening. "Father's going to read the Gospel so we're going to stand up to listen to Jesus' words."
E) Before we even go into Mass we tell them what we expect. Your kids may not have ever been to a Mass before but I'm sure they've been places they've had to obey - doctor offices, weddings, nicer restaurants.
F) If you can take them to the church when no one else is there and show them how to genuflect, point out the statues and tabernacle, talk about what's going to happen. Sit in the pew with them and show them how to kneel and make the sign of the cross. Allow them to be comfortable in the hopes that there will be less questions during Mass.
Okay - so that's what I thought of. I hope this helps, Emily! God bless you, your husband, and your children as you continue your conversion process!