How much church can kids take in a week?

It’s Holy Thursday for the Christians out there and my kids don’t know it yet, but we’re heading to church tonight for services.

And they’re off from school tomorrow for Good Friday but instead of heading out to the zoo or the park for the day, we’ll be heading over to the church in the afternoon.

They do get Saturday off, but as soon as they check out their Easter baskets, they’ll be heading back to church Sunday morning.

Before we had kids I would go  multiple services throughout Holy Week and, I finally feel like my kids are finally old enough to really take part in these worship experiences. (The 3-year-old isn’t old enough, but she usually does pretty well in church with an Elmo book and some Cheerios.)

I can remember taking Rose when she was 2 to the Good Friday services, and it was miserable. She was so disruptive I finally got up and left. I didn’t attempt Good Friday services again until last year.

The teens in the parish act out the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday. I think makes it more interesting especially to a child, but also a little more realistic and scary. I think I only took Rose last year. I’m not sure if Walsh and the baby will be scared this year. We’ll see.

Michael isn’t off for Good Friday so it was just going to be me taking the three kids. But then my parents decided they wanted to come too. I’m thinking good. Now I have backup!

We’ll see how much protesting I get by Easter Sunday.

Do you try to take your children to multiple church services during Holy Week or any other time of the year? How do they generally fare? How old did you start taking them?  How much church can kids take in one week?

191 comments Add your comment

Jo-el

April 1st, 2010
6:46 am

How much church can kids take in a week? If a parent is doing his/her duty the kids go to multiple services EVERY week! At our church, worshipping the God of the Bible and Jesus Christ, we, and our children can hardly wait ’til the next time to go to church.
Easter eggs are nice but let’s remember what it is we are observing this time of year.

Elliot Garcia

April 1st, 2010
6:52 am

As early as they can handle it. It is a great place to learn.

smh

April 1st, 2010
7:03 am

my DH grew up going multiple times a week. As a child he found it a bore but as an adult, it clearly laid the foundation for who he is. As our children get older I look forward to spend more time involved with our church several times per week.

Unimpressed

April 1st, 2010
7:11 am

Religion was invented to keep the poor from killing the rich.

Name (required)

April 1st, 2010
7:15 am

My mother made me go to church every week when I was a kid, and now I haven’t set foot in a church in over 10 years. Be careful what you try to force upon your children, as it may backfire.

Jeff

April 1st, 2010
7:21 am

There are worse places they could be. I didn’t go to church for years because of some of the usual excuses of my generation, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t doing basically the right thing while I was gone.

X. Christian

April 1st, 2010
7:22 am

although I agree with “unimpressed” not every parent shares the view. that being said, shame on any parent who seeks the counsel of an internet blog populated with soccer moms. until a child is an adult, or at the very least, emotionally mature young adult, pick one thing and stick with it. as I understand it, FAITH is not determined by some “hours in church” balance sheet. embrace the tenets of whatever faith you practice and attend church/service in accordance with said tenets. why is it people (especially parents) are always second-guessing themselves or fearing being PERCEIVED as un-hip or behind the curve. no wonder we have kids on meds.

motherjanegoose

April 1st, 2010
7:23 am

I have gone to church regularly for my entire life and thus do not go to church more at any specific point of the year.

I am a firm believer that children need God and the Bible in their lives and that the church and its’ teachings play an important role.

That being said, those children whose parents LIVE at the church are not always the best children.

Families need balance. Regular worship is a commitment that many today do not make, for various reasons. To me, a relationship works both ways and my part is to attend worship services and help with various aspects of the church.

john

April 1st, 2010
7:25 am

My mother made me go to church every week and mid week service when I was a kid, and now I hardly ever miss church. Thank you mother for your guidance.

The Cynical White Boy

April 1st, 2010
7:27 am

“Church” all day, every single day, would still not be enough to those who are “sick” on “religion”.

One topic that comes up – at the interdenominational church I attend – over and over and over…..the fact that so many of us in the fellowship were marched to church so very many times a week that we were burned out on “religion” by the time we were grown.

Some of us come back, some don’t. But I’ll never push my kids the way I was pushed.

X. Christian

April 1st, 2010
7:39 am

CWB, I guess that is my point. Where is it written that people can only acheive “fellowship” in certain buildings? My Bible quoting is a bit dusty, but I believe the good books says to “honor the Sabbath”. it doesn’t say how? we should honor the Sabbath. would not working for Habitat for Humanity, in a soup kitchen or family shelter be far more “honorable” (for children) than being bored to tears by some preacher talking over their heads, or even worse, attending (Bible) school on Sundays? correct me if I am wrong, but people shoul want to attend church/services because they feel it makes them better people, not because of some rote behavior passed on from one generation to the next? if one does not find church to be a spiritually enriching and rewarding experience, you could handcuff him to a pew and it won’t make him a better person/Christian.

cc

April 1st, 2010
7:44 am

People saying they are burned out by religion b/c their parents dragged them to church to much is just an excuse. We should give our children a good foundation and that includes our religious beliefs. When they are old enough to make the decision about church on their on maybe they won’t blame their parents for taking them to church if they decide not to go.

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motherjanegoose

April 1st, 2010
7:49 am

@ X…we just discussed this this past Sunday. You should not attend church for what you can get….you attend to worship….you give. In return, if your heart is right….you will be blessed! If your heart is musty or rebelling…you may not get anything out of it and perhaps should stay home.

Jeff

April 1st, 2010
7:55 am

Mother Jane, I like you.

bisnono

April 1st, 2010
8:01 am

MORE church isn’t necessarily better for kids, it’s just MORE. How about instead of taking your kids to church 3-4 times this week, you just go on Easter Sunday, and then the rest of the time you were going to spend in church you spend time as a family enjoying the great outdoors? Sharing nature’s beauty and rebirth this time of year are wonderful gifts to give to your children.

JesusFreak

April 1st, 2010
8:07 am

@motherjanegoose, you’re right on target. This time of the year brings out the CEO’s to church, Christmas and Easter Only. To reply to the question, no need to attend more than necessary, i.e. Sundays and Wednesdays. We did want to go the Good Friday service at Verizon but were slow to buy tickets and they were sold out before we could act on the thought.
@Unimpressed – sad commentary but the truth is religion is man made, Jesus is not a religion but rather the way and the truth. So many people aren’t aware of the fact that the Bible is the most historically accurate book, no other religion can claim that nor can they claim a risen Savior. Jesus’ disciples did not write about what they thought, they wrote about what they saw and those claims have been backed up others unrelated to the disciples. Faith is believing what you don’t see, Easter is a great time to start that relationship if you have never had it. Wouldn’t you hate to die and then learn that what so many of us believed was true? There’s more to life than just this world. Blessings to all.

catlady

April 1st, 2010
8:09 am

If you go your kids should go. My family wasn’t there every time the doors opened (we were not Baptist so there was no Wednesday night meeting) but we were there at almost every worship event my entire life. I was in the nursery when I was little, then I was expected to sit quietly (NO FOOD IN THE SANCTUARY except for Communion! This isn’t a sporting event!). Just my two cents.

catlady

April 1st, 2010
8:10 am

On the food thing–we had an older man at church when my kids were growing up who persisted in giving them GUM to chew during the service! It scandalized me, as it trivialized the worshipful atmostphere to me.

RGB

April 1st, 2010
8:14 am

(Ephesians 2:8-9) – “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”

Habitat + Soup Kitchen = “works”

These things are good to do and are consistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ, but “works” [or being a "good person" or "honorable"] do not bring about one’s salvation. Confession of sin and acceptance of Him result in the free gift of salvation.

Sara

April 1st, 2010
8:17 am

X. Christian, your scripture knowledge is a bit rusty-the Bible is quite clear about how to honor the sabbath, why we attend church and worship. I think you have entirely missed the point. We look at God’s word as a whole, it’s not a buffet table where you pick up some of the truths and leave the ones you don’t like.

motherjanegoose

April 1st, 2010
8:23 am

@ Jeff…thanks for a good laugh. There are so many on this blog that abhor me…it is nice to know some folks ( here) actually like me! I would invite you to lunch but that may not look good…maybe you can join DB and myself…I will see what she thinks about it!

Off to Kindergarten!

mom2alex&max

April 1st, 2010
8:27 am

I don’t make them go. My husband doesn’t, so they have a choice. Oddly enough 99% of the time, they choose to go with me.

Andrea

April 1st, 2010
8:36 am

@MJG: I couldn’t agree with your initial comment more.

We go alot. I know I intially forced them to go but as time has progressed, they go without prodding from me. I think the Bible and church should be basic tenets in any child’s life. It was in mine and I have tried to make it so in my kids. I am estatic that my child is attending a church retreat for teens for Spring Break. “Teach them in the way you would have them go”. That about sums it up for me.

John K

April 1st, 2010
8:41 am

I supposed it depends on what you believe.

Becky

April 1st, 2010
8:44 am

We usually just take the kids on Sun. morning..Sometimes if the church is doing something special, we take them..My husband goes a lot of times on Wed. night and Sun. night, I don’t..As others have said in past blogs, to busy getting things ready for the week..We don’t force the kids to go and so far we have been lucky that they want to go..I’m sure there will be that time and we still won’t force them to go, but with getting them a early start on knowing that church is important in their life hopefully will keep them wanting to go..

JJ

April 1st, 2010
8:44 am

I don’t believe. Never have, never will. My daughter has never been baptized. I don’t believe in heaven or hell. And I’m not afraid to say it out loud.

Church wasn’t forced on me as a kid. Family time was more important. Dad travelled a lot for work, mom worked every other weekend. Neither of my parents came from strong church backgrounds.

So Easter to me is just another sunday.

FCM

April 1st, 2010
8:47 am

Holy week is the last week of the month/Q1 this year. Since God blessed me with employment, I figure he will know why I am at work and not in they sanctuary.

On Sunday I will be joining friends and their children for a secular celebration. I am sure the girls and I will do an Easter Sunday service.

Good Friday services are always my favorites. So I will miss not attending, or may try to take my lunch during the service time.

One thing our chruch does is after service today through sunrise Sunday is our parishoners will be taking an hour to stay on prayer vigil. We do this every year. It is a one hour rotation through out the clock … so yes middle of the night too.

This year, if any of you feel inclined to lift a prayer for an unknown, a friend of mine’s teen son broke his neck in 2 spots last Friday. I know the family appreciates any kindness of prayer of intercession lifted up.

Thanks

FCM

FCM

April 1st, 2010
8:48 am

oh, our teen mission group is going to Mexico to build houses for Spring Break.

Allie

April 1st, 2010
8:58 am

T, you know best how long your kids can sit still for. And honestly, kids behaving in church seems to be the least of anyone’s worries. At my church, I see people trotting out to answer their cell phones all the time; seriously people, can you not live without your cell phone for one hour on an Sunday morning???? This is the fine example you’re giving your kids!

Lori

April 1st, 2010
8:58 am

I’m all for celebrating what Easter is really about, and teaching you kids what the Bible is really about. But going to Church to do it has never been for me. I don’t need to get all dressed up to impress God, that is to impress other people. My childhood church experiences were filled with “fake” people and fake smiles, and women wearing every piece of gold they owned to impress each other. No thanks. God sees me naked, why do I have to put on a dress to worship? I’ll teach my kids at home and in my own time!

Nadia74

April 1st, 2010
8:58 am

Ugh. I was just talking to a friend about how boring church is when you are a child. I went to a Catholic church, and there was no part of the service that was oriented towards children. We were well behaved, but we just sat and daydreamed.

JATL

April 1st, 2010
8:58 am

We go to church on Sunday morning, and when the kids get older if they want to take part in Wednesday evening activities, that’s fine. When I was in middle school and high school I was very active in church youth group, and I enjoyed it a lot so I would be at church on Sunday mornings and evenings for choir practice and then on Wednesday evenings. If it’s enjoyable and meaningful for the kids and the parents, then I think it’s great if you want to go a few times a week.

However, I think a lot of these “turbo-Christians” out there would make a FAR better impression and example if they would spend some of their church time on deeds and acts that Jesus would endorse (volunteering for charities to help the less fortunate -there are many, and they always need help). Darkening the door of your church doesn’t make you a decent Christian any more than walking into a hospital makes you a surgeon.

RJ

April 1st, 2010
9:00 am

@JJ, why even respond if you’re not a Christian? What’s the point? You’ve mentioned many times before that you don’t believe. We get it.

Theresa, this is the most important week of the Christian religion. It is difficult for the really young ones, but it’s also important that they grow up understanding the importance of this holy day. It’s one week out of their lives. Enjoy! There’s no need to second guess yourself. I remember bringing crackers and coloring books when mine were younger. We got through it just fine. Why not buy some Easter books for the little one to color in? You could use it as a way to discuss Easter with her on her level.

RJ

April 1st, 2010
9:02 am

@Nadia, I’m so grateful that my church has a wonderful Children’s service just for them. They even have a youth service for my teen. They love it and I enjoy church a lot more without them bothering me. Wish we’d had something similar when I was growing up.

JATL

April 1st, 2010
9:02 am

OH -and I have to say that until our kids are a little older we won’t be going to church on holidays. Unfortunately our church has NO childcare or children’s RE classes on holidays, and having our 1 year old and 4 year old in the sanctuary for a little more than an hour is a NIGHTMARE enjoyed by no one! The 4 year old goes in every Sunday for the first part of the service -around 15 minutes -and that is often an exercise in parental restraint (me not taking him out and beating him mercilessly ;-)

JJ

April 1st, 2010
9:18 am

RJ – because I have an opinion, and I’m entitled to it!!!!!

Do you normally bash anyone who doesn’t agree with YOU?

Andrea

April 1st, 2010
9:28 am

@JJ: It’s okay to have a different opinion. While I don’t agree with your opinion, I would never malign your right to express it.

That being said, I think your comments are seemingly more offensive when viewed against the context of this week to those who do believe. The same Christ I exalt and adore died a horrific death so that you too could receive salvation – if you chose to. So, when we as Christians think of the sacrifice He made, it is more upsetting to hear comments such as yours. I pray one day that you will believe and receive the wonderful gift that is Him.

Andrea

April 1st, 2010
9:32 am

We didn’t have the luxury of Children’s Church, a nursery or a teen chapel when I was growing up. We had a small church and all five of us kids went and we all behaved. For us, there wasn’t another option.

My current church does have a Children’s Church and a Teen Chapel and my kids love it. I do enjoy being able to worship in the main sanctuary and know they are receiving the word in a service designed especially for them. But, when we lived in rural GA, we went to the church I grew up in (both of my kids were baptised there) and they still did receive God’s word and participated in the service. I had to teach them how to behave in church. Some days were good, some not so good, but they still went to church.

deidre_NC

April 1st, 2010
9:57 am

i have to work so i wont be going…my church has sunday morning service on easter then no evening church so families can have the day together so i end up missing it…easter really is the only religious holiday i really celebrate….i miss easter service a lot!!! i had my kids in church every sunday and whenever else we had anything going on there. none of them go to church now. i was raised going every time there was service and also went to all the things pertaining to my age at the time…as a teen i didnt want to go…but the foundation was there and i thank god for that….im hoping that will happen to my kids-that one day they will want that back in their lives.

Stephanie

April 1st, 2010
9:58 am

IMO, religion is just the root of all problems. And its teaching your children to judge others and believe in something that is unreal. Dont get me wrong, I am spiritual… but if christianity is correct, what about all the other religions? Hmmm… sorry I dont need to teach my kids a false reality. I tell them the truth. To love one another, be a good person, and always stay true to family. it comes first.

deidre_NC

April 1st, 2010
9:59 am

i have to add that my kids loved going to church when they were growing up….even on days when i didnt want to go we went because they wanted to…i do not believe that one has to go to shurch to worship god, i love the services and singing…but i worship god every minute of my day…im not sure why my kids dont go…i hope they pick it back up at some point.

Andrea...

April 1st, 2010
10:00 am

“The same Christ I exalt and adore died a horrific death so that you too could receive salvation – if you chose to. So, when we as Christians think of the sacrifice He made, it is more upsetting to hear comments such as yours. I pray one day that you will believe and receive the wonderful gift that is Him.”

Didn’t you just do what you accused her of?

JJ

April 1st, 2010
10:00 am

Thank you Stephanie!!!!!!

Andrea

April 1st, 2010
10:27 am

No, I didn’t. As I said, even I don’t agree with her opinion, I support her right to say it. Her statement is upsetting but that doesn’t negate her right to express it. I do pray she will receive the gift. Salvation is a choice.

RJ

April 1st, 2010
10:28 am

@JJ, how did I bash you? I asked a question. You have a right to your opinion, I just find it interesting that you constantly remind us that you’re NOT a Christian when anything regarding Christianity is the subject. I can assure you that I have no desire to read about ahtheism and comment. Your comment wasn’t helpful or relevant.

We’ve heard you loud and clear.

@Stephanie, that’s reality as YOU see, not everybody. Christians are not taught to judge anyone. That’s just what some choose to do. Hmmm…seems like you just made a judgement.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

April 1st, 2010
10:30 am

FCM — I will be praying for your friend’s child with the broken neck — that is terrible.

YUKI

April 1st, 2010
10:34 am

Growing up church was sooo boring, I had to go twice a week, once at school and once on Sunday. I don’t think I ever learned anything..I just daydreamed too! Now, we go to a church that has wonderful music, a great and interesting pastor and most importantly, programs for kids that make them WANT to go. My son is only two so now it’s just mainly babysitting, but the older he gets the more fun it will be for him. It’s nice to have somewhere to put my son to be taken care of while we enjoy the service. In my former church, we would have had to sit in the “cry room” and chase him around instead of actually getting something out of it. My point is, I think it depends on where you go and if they cater to kids more. I don’t want my children growing up dreading church like I did. I went because I had to, not because I wanted to like I do now.

Annie

April 1st, 2010
10:35 am

Holy Week is not about the Easter Bunny. Christian observance is not interchangeable with family time. And the Resurrection is not about enjoying new life in the outdoors.

My family, including my children who are 6, 3, and 8 months, will be at church for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Great Vigil of Easter on Holy Saturday. After Mass on Saturday night, we will celebrate together with a lamb dinner. On the Sunday of the Resurrection, we will return to Church to sing Alleluia and celebrate Christ’s defeat of death and say to each other “Christos anesti! Alithos anesti!”: He is risen, the Lord is risen indeed! Sunday afternoon, we will host a large gathering of friends for a feast. It will be the highlight of our year because Easter is the joyful culmination of our faith.

JJ

April 1st, 2010
10:46 am

Yes christians are taught to judge. They are taught that homosexuals are bad and they need to be converted. They are taught that if someone choses NOT to believe in their god, that they are bad.

They are taught to judge against those who chose to be different and not follow the christian way.

I’ve managed to make it through darn near 51 years of life without believing in God, Jesus, whatever.