Children in Church

As I was sitting in church on a recent Sunday with a wiggly four year old on my lap, a snuggly six year old next to me and my other five offspring seated nearby I had a brief moment of wondering why I put myself through this extra work. Our last church was family integrated and there was no other option but to keep the children with us, so I was used to the parenting in the pew lifestyle. It was different in this new church. Keeping my kids in church when I am pretty much the only one doing it,  seems like an odd choice. There are sweet people in the nearby classrooms who would love to relieve me of my children for a few hours while I listen to the sermon.
As I listened to the sermon and monitored the children's wiggles I thought about the reasons why I continue to keep my kids with me.

Napping in church
1. It gives me another opportunity to see if they respect what I have to say, will they actually listen to me when I ask them to sit quietly or will they defy me?

2. It gives them an opportunity to see adults worshipping God, it seems like the kids who sit with their peers end up being less comfortable singing or even lifting up holy hands to the Lord, I don't want my children inhibited in this way.

3. It gives them an opportunity to grow in knowledge. Instead of a short 5 minute Bible story and then a
half hour of talking veggies, my children have the opportunity to hear whole chapters of the Bible read and explained.

Although I don't think it is erroneous for parents to put their children in class, especially homeschool parents who are theoretically spending plenty of time parenting their own children, it was good for me to reiterate to myself why I was going through the extra effort of teaching these children to sit still in big church when it might be an easier option to send them to class. Amazingly, at the end of today's service, my four year old, who seemed to be quite distracted during the service, turned to me and said, "I love God". Can you imagine what the big people sermon was about? The love of God.

Church, it is not just for adults.


Baking Day with Preschoolers

I have been homeschooling and parenting for long years now and have read stacks of books on creating an ideal learning environment. Through my years of studying I have collected a cupboard full of lovely learning resources for my younger students. Wooden puzzles, objects for sorting, lacing shapes and pattern puzzles are all options which my young children can choose to occupy themselves with during school time. Even with all these activities available, my preschool son has had a difficult time settling himself down to creative work lately.  I came to the realization that maybe what he wanted was something real to do. The puzzles and worksheets are fun but sometimes what our kids want is real work. I was finally reminded of that and so we pulled out the wheat grinder and got down to business.


Between carefully measuring grain into the jar and cleaning up the spilled flour the youngsters were kept busy and happy for quite some time. Even though the work was not directly educational, they were developing their fine and large motor skills as they worked along with me making sourdough bread.


The flour ended up all over the floor, a small price to pay for such happy and busy children. The littlest spent many minutes cleaning up without a single request from me.


While my little guy was cleaning up the spilled flour his older sister was conducting dish duty.

With great concentration she scrubbed each dish, and although a few of them were quietly placed in the dishwasher or re-rinsed when she was out of sight, her diligent efforts and self confidence as she contributed to the family chores were a joy to see.


 As the dishes were washed and the floor cleaned my machine whirred along mixing up a nice batch of sourdough bread. We later enjoyed a delicious, warm roll slathered in melted butter as a reward for our labors. For the children though, the best reward was the joy they felt in being a helping part of the life of the home. Small children thrive on meaningful work in a joyful environment. Although it is always easy to provide the work, the patient and joyful attitude is what makes the learning fun.