No Fuss Parenting – Teach Kids to Sit Still

No Fuss Parenting - How I am Rearing my Kids

Teaching my kids to sit still is the best thing I ever did as a parent, and by sit still I really mean to sit quietly on my lap or beside me with minimal fidgeting.

Let’s face it, sitting still is hard work, even for adults.

This teaching process happened by accident.  It wasn’t a genius act on my part.

We were attending a church with a very small nursery.  They had lots of babies and had to make a rule that all children over the age of one year (you heard me right – 12 months) had to sit with their parents.  The children who could walk were becoming a danger to all the wee-little babies.

Sitting with my child on my lap in church could have been worst case scenario, but it became my biggest parenting blessing.


How I taught my kids to sit still in church


Suddenly, I had to teach my child how to sit and be quiet for an entire church service.

This did not happen overnight and I’ll be honest, it was hard work.

I mean, how do you teach kids to sit still and be quiet?


Teach them At Home

read to them – listen to music and stories on CD –

sit while you eat – be patient

This skill was not learned during the church service, but rather at home.

Every day we would practice.  I would make my child sit with me on the couch while I read him a story.  I wouldn’t let him jump around or climb all over me.  We would sit and read.  At first it was one book and then two and three and more.

I often had a house full of toddlers, because I babysat when my kids were small, so I would sit on a chair and have all the kids sit on the floor in front of me and listen to stories.

It can be done.

kids reading - teaching kids to sit still

Then we started listening to stories on CD.  We would sit on the floor and just listen.

My children sat and ate all of their meals at the table without getting up and walking around.  They sat on the floor or at their little Clifford table and ate their snacks.

We did little things all throughout the day in order to teach them this new skill.

We sat in a chair at the table while we colored.

We had quiet time every day where my children had to sit and do something like look through books, do puzzles, and play with Play-Doh.

It took time.  Lots of time.  Lots of direction and redirection.

And patience.

It took walking out of church when he became fussy.


Here’s the key:  When we left a service because he wasn’t quiet or sitting, I held him the entire time we were out of the service.  I didn’t put him down and let him run around, because I didn’t want leaving to become a fun escape.


I know this probably sounds like child torture, but it wasn’t at all.  It was simply learning a new skill.

It’s a parent’s job to teach their children skills that will help them in life.


kids all dressed up for Easter


After my children learned this skill, I never, ever had to worry about going places.

A wait at the doctors?  No problem.

A ride on an airplane?  Nailed it.

I took my kids everywhere with me.  I didn’t have any family around to help me out, so where I went, my kids went, and I went a lot of places.  I don’t know what I would have done if they never learned to sit still.

When my son was three and a half year’s old and my daughter was around eighteen months, my cousin graduated from Air Force school (I don’t remember the exact name of the event) and we attended.

We were living in the Panhandle of Florida at the time and we drove three hours to Mississippi in a vehicle that had no air-conditioning.

We’re talking deep south summer heat.

We’re talking about two babies being trapped in a car for three hours.

When we arrived, we took some time to walk around, visit with family, and get a drink.  Then we went to the graduation ceremony.

People gave us funny looks when we walked in with the kids.  The lady next to us expressed some concern, but we were confident the kids would be find.  My son sat on his own chair next to my husband and my daughter sat on my lap.

To them, it was just another service.  It could have been church.  They were already accustomed to sitting, so we had no problems.

Afterwards, people were shocked and impressed.


kids making silly faces

My kids are just like most other kids.  They hate sitting still and being quiet, but they did it.  They learned how to sit still.

Till today, I say it’s the best thing I have ever taught my children.

Children who know how to sit and be quiet are a blessing to their parents and all those around them.

I need you to know that I’m not a child whisperer or anything.  I’ve seen many other parents teach their children the very same thing.

Believe me, it helped tons when it was time for preschool.


What is the best thing you taught your child to do?



No Fuss Parenting Series

 No Fuss Parenting

 Teach Kids to Sit Still


Other Parenting Posts…

Giving Our Girls A Voice – In a world filled with bullies and bad choices, I want my daughter to have a voice that will be heard.

A Few Things Every Parent Should Know

How Frugal Living Affects My Children


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  1. says

    When my children got old enough to be interested in “writing,” I took the prologue to print in large block letters the essence of the Scripture (just one brief sentence). Then, I gave them a highlighter to trace the letters with. As they completed a word, I pointed to the word and whispered it in their ear. When they finished the sentence, I whispered the entire sentence in their ear. Then, I gave them crayons to draw a picture on the back. The picture was supposed to illustrate what they heard the preacher say. That meant spending time at home doing similar activities. At lunch, they would tell us about the picture and as much of the Scripture sentence as they could remember. Interestingly, my youngest (no siblings at home) taught himself to read that way. It was a natural activity for them since they saw me taking notes on the sermon.

  2. Sabrina morrow says

    Great advice! My children were well behaved when we took them out and to Church as well! You have to teach your children starting at a very young age and be patient as they learn, because it is a learned and taught behavior! But they do learn and when you praise them for good behavior they seem to want even more to please their parents!

  3. Gen Fields says

    How exactly did you stop them from climbing all over you or fidgeting when you read a story at home?

    I love the idea of this, but when I visualize it, I visualize me telling the kids off constantly which is depressing. I’d really love to be able to read my four kids a story calmly on the couch without feeling the frustration (from all the fidgeting etc) build up inside. If I start telling them off, it ends up with everyone upset and noone having a story read. So currently, I just gently tell them please don’t do that, lets focus on the story, etc. This gets us through the story, but it doesn’t change their behavior. … and Church? we became the family that only goes at Easter and Christmas years ago. We are not overly religious and I reached the point where a happy Sunday morning at home seemed like a better option for everyone.

    Note. I haven’t read all the comments, so my apologies if you have already answered this question.

  4. Evan & Trudy Fullmer says

    We did it with our eleven children in Idaho. We called it “quiet time”. When dad called for quiet time it was a serious and important game. Sometimes it happened so mom wouldn’t blow a cork. It worked at church too. Nobody wanted to go out of church and sit on dads knee!

  5. Pam Dunnevant says

    You are SO on point with this, and your words are both simple and powerful. Life with kids is so much easier (and more fun!) when they know how to conduct themselves with out in public. It all begins at home, and sometimes we need to remind ourselves in our very busy, active lives to be still with our kids.

  6. Charlene Bennett says

    I used a book ” How to Potty Train in One Day or Less,” by Dr Redd Foxx to train my son when he was two. It really worked. After the first day he never wet in his pants again, only once more did he have a bm in his pants.

  7. CarolBeth says

    One of the best things I taught my children was empathy. Asking in a reasonable tone, and waiting for an answer, “How would that make you feel?” “How would you feel if someone said that to you?” and so on.

  8. says

    I taught my two children these things early on and always had to take them with us to other venues like an adult Bible study. We had to assure the couple leading the study not to worry because our children were able to entertain themselves quietly with items we brought with us. They were very surprised and complemented us on how well-behaved our children were.

  9. Diane Smith says

    I appreciate this article and I am compelled to say the best thing I feel we taught our children was to respect each other as siblings. The old adage “kids will be kids” and “sibling rivalry” didn’t fly here. We expected a squabble here or there over some things, but hitting/yelling/etc. was not allowed. They are 35, 29, and twins at 25 now and are great friends with each other and have the BEST time just being together when possible. There is great joy to be found in having adult children who love to spend time together. So blessed.

  10. CandyR. says

    I have to laugh at all of these “perfect” parent who have children that always listen and sit still. You can “train” your children all they want, but ultimately they are their own little person and will do what they want whether you want them to or not. My son is 18 months old, has been attending church since he was born (1 day old in fact), and we have NEVER trained him to sit still. He usually does, but guess what…He’s a KID. Our church is obviously not as condescending as some other more conservative churches because not once have we felt the need to not attend or get up and leave with him.

  11. says

    Thank you for this information. I feel so much better. My 3 year old was used to Children’s Church now we are at church where a few Sundays in the month the Children are to sit in the service and he is adjusting so I will incorporate these tools and home to help him out.

  12. says

    You might be interested to see that my church has a different perspective on children’s behavior during services:

    If the image is too hard to read, this is a notice to parents explaining the church’s view that “God put the wiggle in children; don’t feel you have to suppress it in God’s house. All are welcome!”

      • says

        Or we just don’t think God expects small children to sit perfectly still through a service? I mean, it’s not necessary to make them be absolutely still and quiet in order to worship “the right way.” Didn’t you see the part about how God MADE kids this way?

        If you want kids to grow up valuing church, it might be easier to accomplish it if you don’t put them through strenuous behavior modification practices that even take up time at home. Sure, some kids sit still easier than others. Others just have to grow out of it. Still others have actual developmental disorders which mean they’re never going to learn the way you want them to. It’s best to learn each’s abilities and limitations and adapt accordingly.

        What’s really unhelpful is this competitiveness between parents, like those who have the best-behaved kids are superior to all the others, no matter what everyone else is dealing with or the individual abilities/limitations of their kids. That’s not what church is about. I’m not saying you’re advocating that belief, but I do see a lot of stressed-out parents in these comments who think they’re failing as parents and Christians because their kids don’t sit still through church! That’s really sad, and I think we’d all be so much better off if we didn’t set such high expectations for really small kids (under 5, I mean).

        • says

          God did, indeed, make children with a carefree spirit, but He also told parents to “train” them in the way they should go. I’ve heard wild grown children say that they wished that their parents would have had a tighter hold on them, and because they were allowed to run free and wild, they never felt that their parents cared. As adults, they sought out trouble to get into because they wanted some sort of attention from their parents. Loving guidelines make a child feel secure….and loved. Most churches today have children’s church, but the children are still expected to sit, pay attention and abide by the rules. Children that can’t sit still in children’s church are taken to their parents. “Running” is never tolerated.

          • says

            I never said children should be allowed to behave however they want without restraint. Like in most things, moderation is best. What I’m protesting is this view that children should be perfectly still and quiet for an hour-plus. I like it best when churches and their congregations are understanding of a little noise and wiggle, because they’re kids!

        • gwen Pra says

          If you don’t teach Children to respect the House of the Lord before age 3, they will always expect to be “entertained”. That is what is meant by “train up” a child.

    • Brandi says

      I think usually churches say that so that parents who may be a little more liberal with their children won’t feel out of place in church and then just stop going. But if you think about it, would you want to give a presentation with children moving all over the place in the audience? And what about those who get distracted by our children misbehaving during the service? Would we not be held accountable for distracting someone from getting the word or even worse, from not getting saved?

      When in doubt, what does God’s word say: Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Training requires teaching. It is rigorous. Teaching is repetition until learning takes place. All of those things are going to be uncomfortable to our flesh, hence the reason why we need Jesus all the more. Deut. 6:-7 “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children.Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” What does impress mean? Def.:make a mark or design on (an object) using a stamp or seal; imprint. an act of making an impression or mark. An object doesn’t get designed through osmosis. Clay gets shaped through pounding, pressing, examining, the using of tools, etc. to get the desired effect. So that when it goes into the kiln, it will not take any other shape than the one given (Prov.22:6).Col.3:20…nuff said. We teach or children to obey the Lord by first being obedient to us. If we don’t bring them up to respect us and those around them, we have failed as parents because we are by default making their Christian walk harder.

      I wholeheartedly agree that God put the wiggle in children, but there is a time and a place for everything and children have to know that in order to behave appropriately in all situations. I would apply that quite to children two maybe three and under with the assumption that they are a work in progress and that the parents are doing their job and teaching them to sit still. God gave us desires and feelings and emotions. Does that mean we should not gird ourselves to live and exemplify a blameless life? Certainly not! So at what point do we teach our children to reign in their bodies and make it obey?

      Lastly, for those who are not Christians, how is it that people with Down Syndrome and and other mental or physical obstacles can be taught to sit and have manners? My husbands cousin has a son that is missing a chromosome and is severely physically and mentally disabled. He is an 18yo body with the mind of a 4 or 5yo. He talks in squeals and repetitive motions. Guess what? If he is told to go upstairs ofr bed, he can scoot himself upstairs. He can sit still for an impressive amount of time. It took a loooog time to teach him and his mother kept going to church. So for me, with a pretty normal (sometimes I have my doubts, lol) son, there is no excuse. If we keep doubting our children and their capabilities, we set them up for failure.

      • says

        Wow, I think it goes way too far to hold young children’s behavior responsible for strangers’ souls. I don’t think that’s a healthy or sensible mindset. I mean, talk about putting pressure on parents not to bring their kids to church at all, if that’s what’s on the line!

        Most of what you’re talking about is parenting principles that are going to be subjective to everyone. For instance, when you say that training means rigorous repetitive teaching that is “uncomfortable to our flesh,” I can easily see how other people may misinterpret that in ways that turn into horrible child abuse. I’m sure that’s not what you mean, but it’s open to that kind of interpretation.

        So I’ll just address your last point, about the developmentally disabled child who learned to obey commands by 18. That’s great, but you admit it took a very long time to learn that. This is why everyone in a church community needs to be patient with all the parents, because whether your child is 2 or 17, they’re all on their own journey and shouldn’t be judged just because they haven’t reached that goal of sitting still and quiet this Sunday. Nor should we blame them for potentially keeping someone from God along the way. We should give parents the benefit of the doubt that they’re doing the best they can.

  13. Doxa says

    As a child I was taught to sit still in church. I never felt that it was a bad thing or a punishment. Some preachers were interesting and even as a very young child I could follow the sermon if I chose to do so. Other preachers were very boring and so I learned to view church time as “my” time. It was a time when I would let my mind wander and I would invent stories, something I could never do at school. Contrary to most of the commentators here, I had been to more than a hundred different churches and many different denominations before I was eighteen years old. I found that in most of them the sermon was barely thirty minutes long, some were forty-five minutes, but hardly ever was there one that lasted over an hour. Thirty minutes is nothing, not even a quarter of the length of a normal movie. It also might have helped that when we went to our regular church we had to walk about an hour to get there. We were glad to sit down and rest, knowing we had another hour walk to get home after the service.

  14. says

    This have been the best thing I read. Made so much sense my 3.5 yr old doesn’t sit still so I barely go to church. I will definitely try all your suggestions! Thanks

  15. jeannie h says

    Back in the day I sure was a child whisperer. If my child wiggled around or made a peep I leaned over and whispered “sit still and be quiet” and my child knew he needed to mind his mother. That was back when parents acted like parents…kind and gentle but the authority figure.

  16. Yvonne says

    Will you please pray for me and my family. We have been using this technique for 3 months now (especially this:Here’s the key: When we left a service because he wasn’t quiet or sitting, I held him the entire time we were out of the service. I didn’t put him down and let him run around, because I didn’t want leaving to become a fun escape.) and are still struggling. My son will sit still at home, but we still struggle at church. I think it’s because we’ve no one to practice with at home (although he does sit still at daycare). So prayers would be appreciated while we adjust and figure out a strategy. Thanks!

    • Jen says

      I’m just now going to practice all these things with my 9 month old but I am also going to try to mimic a church service and try listening to a service online and have him sit! I pray your journey goes well as I hope ours does too!!

  17. says

    In my church families sit together in a chapel for the first hour and 10 minutes of worship services. When our kids were little we would bring a huge bag full of stuff to keep them entertained. It was kind of like a three ring circus. When our kids were 4, 2 and newborn, my husband decided we had to change something if we were ever going to teach them to sit still, so we ditched the “church bag” and decided that the only thing they could bring to church was their scriptures–no pens or pencils, no coloring books, no books and definitely no food. This was 11 years ago. Our kids are now 15, 13, 11 and 7 and they know how to sit still and pay attention. In everything my husband and I do as parents we want to teach our kids how to be independent adults who have the capacity to give and learn. My kids are normal, outgoing, hyper kids most of the time, but they have learned that there is a time and a place and church and other similar functions are places to be quiet, listen and learn. I see lots of adults who can’t sit without pulling out a device to occupy them. I think sitting still is an important life skill that children need to learn. I am grateful we didn’t sell our kids short. They have the capacity and the ability to learn and not just sit around waiting to be entertained.

  18. says

    The majority of a child’s day is spent running, laughing, playing and having fun! Teaching them to routinely sit still is not negative or taking away from a child’s fun! It is simply teaching them other educational skills, responsibilities and respect for others around them——-while sitting! I had 5 children and I am now a grandmother! My children excelled in sports and other physical activities and all the while still knew how to sit and be quiet! There is time and place for fun and quiet, and as parents we must be balanced in teaching this process! The ideas mentioned in this article will be very helpful to mothers of young children. I could take my children anywhere and not be worried about their actions! Hospitals, nursing homes, auto mechanics, shopping, church, graduations, weddings and even funerals were in our schedule regularly! They were very active, non-stop go- getters, but knew when to sit! I was a mother with a very busy husband and we lived far away from close family— there was no other choice, but to take them wherever we went! Today, they are well mannered adults with respect for others, attending church, physically active and awesome St. Louis Cardinal fans! “It can be done and still be fun!”

  19. says

    Something about this doesn’t feel right to me. I think it’s great to teach your children how to sit still, but this seems extreme. And kids are smart they know when to be quiet, this just seems extreme. I wish I could put my finger on it, but as Mary said, it had some good idea. Just not very many….

    • Christina says

      I have an almost two year old who doesn’t sit still, we always end up running down the back hallway at church. She suggested play dough and puzzles, but at his age play dough gets thrown and the puzzle pieces don’t get put back. And books need to be read in two minutes..

      • Polly says

        My granddaughter is 4 and has a difficult time sitting still and focusing on things. My daughter gives her “quiet time” when her sister is napping in the afternoon. She may read books or color but whatever she’s doing it must be quiet and it must be seated. It’s not hurting her to have an hour or so of time where she is expected to be quiet, since she doesn’t nap anymore. I expect that in the long run she will be better other places too, for having practice at home.

    • says

      How is this “extream”? Putting them in a straight jacket with gags would be “extream”. Kids will not sit still or quietly through something unless they are taught how! Yes, kids are smart and that’s how they realize, very quickly, that their behavior of not being quiet will get them out of something they don’t want to do! Life holds many situations in which I don’t want to do something but it has to be done! It’s our job as parents to not let the child be in control and do whatever it is they please in the moment, but rather give them the skills and strategies necessary to navigate all situations of life appropriately with common sense!

  20. Harry Hudson says

    Its not about sitting still, unless you’re assuming they’re in some kind of prison!
    Kids are exactly that, kids! Which means they have no desire to appear being tortured by sitting still, if it’s so important put them in straight jackets..
    The underlying factor is, development & upbringing, if there is little in the way of discipline then dysfunction & delinquency go hand in hand.
    Their diets, sugar intake intelligence & peer moral conduct (some parents don’t know how to be parents, they assume they are) other factors affecting public delinquency, then sitting still’ becomes natural.

  21. Amy says

    This is a great article. Wish I had read it several years ago! Someone may have already asked this but I can’t read all the comments…I have a 6 yr old boy, just turned 4 yr boy and a 2.5 yr girl. The younger two are my concern. Had a couple instances with them today…is it too late for me? My two-year-old ran out of the building when we picked up the 4 ur old at preschool today even after I told her to stop several times. We have talked about this before. Then after I picked up my six-year-old from school I took him somewhere where he was dropping off some food he had bought to donate. I talked to the younger two before we went in and told them they needed to stay with me and to be still and quiet. Unfortunately they did not. The two-year-old was climbing stepladders and they were not staying with me. It was very embarrassing and frustrating. I do discipline my children. The lady had offered them each a juice and pack of crackers. I did not allow the younger two to have their treat because of the way they had acted. I do think it made an impact on my four year old. The Younger two are very different from the first and I’m still figuring out how to parent them. Any advice or encouragement you have would be much appreciated. Thank you!

  22. Katie says

    I am just wondering what advice you have for the single parent who has very little time to do these great ideas. Me and my daughter don’t get home till around 6pm and then I have to make supper. The only time we would have for me to teach her this is while she is eating supper and she always sits at the table for that. Still she’s pretty crazy during church which we go to 2 times on Sunday and once on Wednesday

    • Kris says

      Wow, if you have so little time to spend with your child how can you have time to sit in church 3 times per week? Do you really get that much out of 3 church sermons?

      • K.S says

        I think many people do get “that much” from the gospel of Jesus.
        Katie, I would suggest the reading at bedtime, depending on how old she is- you might try to talk to her about it. Maybe you can say, ” I’m going to watch and 20 min into the service we will take a break and get a drink and go potty to get our wiggles out.” When you go out, let her hop to the fountain, or wiggle her arms, something silly. Then remind her when we go back in, it’s time to sit still again.

    • Ali says

      Katie, I don’t comment on blogs often (in fact, I don’t think I ever have before), but I am now because I was absolutely horrified by Kris’ judgmental comment, and wanted to offer my encouragement. I commend you for being a single parent, and for making the time to take your child to church even though you don’t have much time. Raising your child to know Christ as her personal Lord and Savior is the best decision you can make as a parent. Keep up the good work, sweetheart. :)

  23. julie dunn says

    This is such a great article! It begins at home AROUND the dinner table. Parents, sit and eat as a family even if it has to be early in the morning for breakfast! We observed so many things and could make simple corrections because of sitting around a table. So thankful for family meals!

  24. Amy says

    I agree that (most) children can be taught to sit still. However, having had my 2 oldest come to me as bouncers and shakers and having the 3rd come as a naturally still child, please remember to refrain from judging other parents. Some children are naturally much easier to teach to sit still than others. And when a child has a disability like ADHD, teaching them to sit still at the age of 2 or 3 can be simply impossible. But since most children with ADHD are not diagnosed until their elementary school years, these parents feel like failures because even when they are practicing good parenting techniques, their children do not respond like other children. Most parents do not understand the difficulties other parents go through. And it is SO important than when practicing principles in our own homes that we don’t judge others. And by the way, all my kids DO sit still in church now, but I went through several years of comments from members about trying this or that technique with little success. Took us probably double or triple the time to get them all sitting still. And now I always carry an extra activity or two in my bag that I can offer a parent who has a very wriggly child!

    • says

      Thank you for saying the words I was thinking. I always thought that I would be the mom who taught her children these things. I was a child who had no choice but to sit still in church.

      And yet, I have one possibly two adhd children who cannot sit still for any reason- ever. No amount of redirecting or encouragement makes it happen. And it’s taken me many months to accept this as part of who they are- not good or bad- and stop blaming myself.

  25. says

    This was how we taught our children to sit as well. We could go out for dinner, with five children one in a pumpkin seat, and then four more ages 2, 4, 6, and 8. People would complain … LOUDLY … when we were seated next to them. By the time dinner was over, they were all in awe. It all starts at the kitchen table.

  26. Sara Taylor says

    thank you great article. Once I went to one my daughters concerts and the behavior of one family really was upsetting to myself and the ladies who sat in front of us. The child about 4 years old climbed from one seat to another back and forth. The parents also talked loud enough to disturb others. We love our children unconditionally but we are training them so they can function in society.

  27. says

    I taught my very shy daughter to speak to people even when she was terrified. Every day we picked a new person. I started with a smile to anyone of her choosing her own age and in her class. Then a simple hello to anyone in her own class. Then progressed to someone her own age, but in another class. Every week we would make a little more difficult. I added anyone older than you then a teacher ( not her own). One day I was checking out at the grocery store and the cashier asked her a question, turned into a whole conversation :). We walked it and she looked at me and said ” Did you see that!?!?!?!??! I did it!” Now she won’t shut up…lol.

    • amanda says

      I give my kids a “church bag” with a few activities. It is only ever opened during the sermon. I just keep it in the car. Also, make them stand during the singing to get the wiggles out and potty before church. If they have a potty emergency, they don’t get dessert after lunch. If they know this ahead of time they usually hold it as they usually only ask out of boredom.

      • Kris says

        Wow, just, wow. I’ve never made negative comments to people about parenting before, and certainly never felt the need to post. But you punish your kids for needing a bathroom break at church??!!!! That’s twisted. What happened to love in church? I don’t think Jesus would be like that.

        • says

          Kris- I was a child who HATED to go to the bathroom before church because I was scared I was going to miss something. Especially when I was like 5+. Church was a huge part of social time for me because I had lots of kids/friends my age that went to my church. If I had to get up and go once church started I lost TV time because she has asked me and given ample opportunity to go BEFORE church. I think Amanda knows her kids like my mom knew me. If I was sick or there were other circumstances I certainly wasn’t afraid to tell my mom it was an emergency to use the restroom and my mom didn’t punish me for things beyond my control.

      • Judy says

        Amanda -that’s my thought- that the children might be sitting still but totally bored. i remember having to stay in church when I was little being bored[ I usually looked at the Hymn book to count how many names were the same who wrote them-etc. When mine were little they could sit still but most;y went to Creche. I totally believe in having a Creche for those 4 & under. I now run one & it has a Bible Story & activity to go with it with songs that they can relate to. I also dont believe in forcing children to hold on & not go to the toilet. My daughter did that when she 1st went to school as the toilets were so far away & ended up with a urinary tract infection. Let children be children -not mini adults. There is a time to be still & a time to do kids activities.

  28. says

    Here is a thought for parents who think this is unreasonable: Make it a project for the next few months to observe children and their parents wherever you go. Notice children who are happy and children who are unhappy, who are contented and who are frustrated, who are busy soaking up experiences and who are resisting what is available to learn and enjoy and participate in. Also look at the adults and adolescents you most admire and respect. Interview them — how did their parents work with them, how did [the adults] work with their children? If you can step out of your preconceptions of what childhood and parenting are like (so hard for all of us, I know!), you may find it to be enlightening. Children are capable of so, so much more than is currently considered the norm, and I don’t just mean for the convenience of their parents and other adults, although that is part of it. I mean for their own well-being, happiness, and growth throughout their lives. You don’t have to take my word for it, though — do your own as-objective-as-possible study.

  29. Debra says

    We were able to help our children learn to sit still when needed, as well. With a larger sized family, we were always the “center of attention” – whether it was in a restaurant, Dr ‘s office, store or even on an airplane!
    I remember walking onto the plane, with our 7 children aged 9 and under, it was pretty entertaining for us to see everyone holding their breath not to have us sit by them! By the end of the flight, people around us were commending us, saying that they wouldn’t have guessed that there were even any kids on the plane, at all. Even the flight attendants were so impressed that they asked if we would want to stay behind and take a “memorable” picture with all of our kids in the overhead luggage area! That was a cute and fun moment!
    It was always so encouraging for us to hear others compliment and thank our children for behaving so well in public. So, not only was it a pleasure for others and for us to have our children with us wherever we went but our children loved being able to be with us and enjoyed our times together, too. It was all well worth it!

  30. says

    I never thought of it in this way. My children as well learned to sit still and quiet. They also learned where to play, how to share and what an inside voice was. The most important lesson my children learned was they would be loved unconditionally, so therefore home was a safe zone and no need for secrets from mom and dad. The most quoted saying in our home was ” own your negatives as proudly as your positives. If you would rush home to show me an A+ test then you need to rush home to show me your F test.” My children learned that all negatives have the potential to achieve a positive. That is why we learn how to do something right by doing it wrong.

  31. says

    First of all, thank you so much for writing this! It is wonderful to hear about parents who are TRAINING their children to be able to sit and listen, for periods of time. I am quite astounded by many of these comments coming from offended mothers/parents… yes, all children are different, but no, that does not mean that they cannot be expected to learn how to sit and listen. My mother did this for all 4 of us, and each of us was completely different than the other, but we still learned how to sit and listen when the time came…. and yeah, I had a very rascally brother, but he learned. I can also attest as a Sunday School and dance class teacher for over 10 years, that YES, children can most certainly learn this!! It sure takes an awful bit of time and energy and effort, but it most definitely pays off. Many children came into classes with the mindset that they could roam around and play and talk whenever their little hearts desired, but after some time they ALL learned (no matter what their personality) that they could actually sit and listen and learn….and it was so much more fun and enjoyable that way!
    Thank you for sharing… this encourages me, and in no way comes across as unreasonable parenting. Bless you for being an intentional Momma… your children are blessings and enjoyable to those around them! Love this =)

  32. says

    Thank you for this beautifully, humbly written article. My “anti-believer” parents (against traditional church, against traditional parenting in California during the 60s) also taught my brother and me to sit still in a variety of circumstances for several reasons – it was polite to others, it was easier for them, and it was good for us.

    My husband and I taught our 3 children (3 in 3 years) this because it is was also helpful in church services and other public occasions. We believed in raising obedient (not robotic or dominated) children. We used a similar process as you did. They were “potted and watered” prior to the event, and they were respected before, during, and after the event.

    What other things did we do to help our children become responsible adults? Taught them not to argue with us (there was a polite, respectful way to question things), taught them not to interrupt us while we were speaking (tap on the arm and patient waiting), did not make excuses for their behavior (“but, but, but …”), and loved and laughed so much together that we had fun doing everything – playing or sitting still.

    REALLY appreciated this article, and your generous spirit in sharing it with us. I’ll be sharing it with others.

  33. Pam says

    There is no honor in having a little one who can sit still. There is no shame in having a little one who can not yet sit still. This is not of God, this is of man to believe such a thing. Each child is uniquely created, and some will naturally acquiesce to the wishes of their parents. Others will not. Not because they are naughty or undisciplined, but because they are little and still developing in mind and body. Each on their own time frame for readiness. To place such pride in having a child behave like little adults is harmful for the adults, the children and anyone else who does not measure up to such expectation.

    I just can not see Jesus beaming at the quiet child, and the parents who appear so accomplished. I can not picture Him frowning upon the child who is wiggly, and the parent who would appear failures to those around them who are frustrated because the child is an inconvenience because they create distraction. I rather think he would invite the children outside the church walls, and frolic with them, unconditionally loving every little childish way about them. I think Christ would rather a child be allowed to be a child until they are not, than to see their natural bent be trained out of them before they even have the opportunity to know Him and hear who and what He calls them to be. He would be their partner and friend. He would guide by example, knowing that as trust is built between them, and they grow and mature, they will come to understand how to “behave” in all circumstances. In their unique timing.

      • Jennifer says

        Thanks Pam!! I certainly agree with you!! As a special education teacher myself with three small children under 6, I have learned that children do learn things at different rates and we cannot expect children to completely sit still during lessons. Children can learn how to function better in an environment and will come with practice but with time. I do not expect all my students to sit in a chair during an 1 hour lesson especially those with certain disabilities or those that like to wiggle or even the ones who just want to stand behind their chair because they need to stand. I even give some of them things to place in their hands during a lesson. My six year old is able to sit quietly in church and likes to draw pictures while she sits. My three year old can sit but sometimes has difficulties and needs redirection and yes..he is a boy =) My 18 month year old is completely distract-able but does sit on my lap or her grandmother’s lap. She does need more things to keep her busy. Sometimes we have to take her out of church. It will continue to be a learning process for us all but all you can do is try to improve and it will get better but on their own time.

    • says

      I also agree. :) My daughter always sat very still with me without training, so I’m not coming from an offended mother perspective. I just believe that a church who welcomes children just as they are is a beautiful thing. :)

    • Beth says

      Nothing in the article even remotely sounded like taking pride in a child who sits still, or in shaming one who doesn’t. She simply presented this as a skill that she was forced to teach her children that proved helpful to them. No different than sharing how she might have taught them all the sounds of the alphabet at an early age or helped them memorize Scripture. Why receive the article as such an affront?

      • providentialfoodies says

        I totally agree, Beth. There is nothing wrong with teaching a child to get used to sitting quietly for an extended period of time. They’re going to have to sooner or later. Might as well make it the pleasant experience as was described in the OP. It is a LOT of work but totally worth it.

    • says

      Pam, I don’t think there was anything in the post that came across as if sitting quietly was a spiritual virtue in and of itself – but sometimes it is a practical necessity. I also taught my children to sit quietly in church. We have 8 children and I started training them at 12 months old. We didn’t stop their wiggles, we stopped their NOISE. They learned to whisper, they learned not to make themselves the center of the universe (a lesson many of us adults STILL struggle with), they learned that the focus was on God and not on them. THAT is a good perspective to learn.

      It is not “of the world” to set family standards or goals. Just as each child is different, so too each family is different and God leads each family according to their convictions. For years we were in a college church with no nursery so I had no choice but to sit in the services (unless I skipped church altogether) with my little ones. My husband was on the music team so he wasn’t sitting with me for most of the service. Having 2 toddlers and an infant while being pregnant — I HAD to teach them how to sit quietly or be a huge distraction to the (easily distracted) college students all around me.

      Sometimes it just IS necessary for a child to sit quietly. And to give them the skill to enable them to do it is a good thing. And frankly, they DID learn from our example. My husband and I always sit quietly during the sermons! 😀

      It did end up being a good thing for our family. My children actually learned to focus on the sermon from an early age, enabling some wonderful conversations from the time my children were 5 years old.

      Sure, I’d love a church that doesn’t mind child noises (my current church is very tolerant) — but there is a difference between child noises and loud unruly children.

      • says

        I completely agree. My daughter is a kinesthetic learner, so sitting still is not her natural inclination, but there’s nothing wrong with teaching a child the skill or art of sitting quietly so that he/she does not become a distraction to others. My dad has been my pastor for as long as I can remember, so my mother had to be an example and teach us to sit quietly in church without my dad’s help in the pew. We were allowed to draw and color, as long as we remained quiet, and my youngest brother almost invariably ended up falling asleep on my mom’s lap and snoring during services. I remember the snapping of her fingers to get our attention, the shushing, and the looks from my mom when we were getting too rowdy and needed to quiet ourselves. It is a skill that needs taught and a discipline that requires regular honing. It is not a virtue in and of itself, but the mother who takes care to teach these things to her children not only blesses herself with a quiet mind but also blesses her children with a much-needed skill that will prove useful later in life. How many of us are annoyed by those in the theater chattering amongst themselves instead of paying attention to the movie? Teach your children not to be a nuisance, in church and elsewhere.

    • Karen says

      Undoubtedly Pam, you have not read the Bible because he does tell us to “train up” a child in the way he/she should go, I am not meaning beat down, but as my 6 year old grandson told his 9 year old sister, don’t you know the pastor said there is a difference in “training ” and “raising”. And you can tell which are being “trained” and which are “raised”. We do not have a nursery in church, by always being in the service, they learn what is expected.

  34. says

    Consistency, persistence, taking the responsibility, and respectability. You did a great job, and I believe you truly understand the responsibility in parenting. My children are 22, 21, 21, and 19 now, and you hit the nail on the head. If they are not taught at home, they will not do as they should elsewhere. Taking them out of the church services and not allowing fun, disciplining, and then returning so they actually learn, is the way to teach. Yes, they can do something quietly, I believe, as well. Again, great post.

    Always Experiencing Him,

  35. SM says

    Great article! This is so true. Once you have taught your children to sit still and keep quiet in church they also know how to behave at funerals, graduations, weddings and many other situations where the same behavior is needed. One way I helped teach our kids was that they got a sticker on a chart when they came home from church if they had behaved well (they knew what behavior was expected- and I was consistent with the rules.) Once they got 10 stickers they got to have a date with me to do an activity- just the two of us. Not only did it teach them good behavior, but the solo “dates” we got to have together are some of our most special memories now that they’re grown.

  36. Tanesha says

    I’m not sure about this one as I don’t believe this works for everyone and can in some ways cause a mom to feel condemned if it doesn’t. I have 3 young kids and am pregnant with a 4th. I to go to a small church where there is limited space for childcare during service however the minute I feel pressed to confine my kids rather then receiving the message there is a problem.
    Obviously being pregnant there is no way I could hold all of nor even one of my kids in my lab durning service. Neither is does it seem rational in comparison to bringing maybe a coloring book for the kids to color. You have to remember we are talking about kids between 1 and 4, afterwards yes there is room for more improvements.
    Bottom line is personalIy struggle enough to make it out the door and even get to church which should be a place of relief, not to be consumed with how am I going to keep my kids still. Discipline starts at home let all other issues be handle according in the church atmosphere. Pick your battles and let not the concerns of rather or not your kids are corrected every minute be your focus. In the end is is not about others stepping in and helping so that you can receive from God what you really need to raise your kids anyways.
    Just a thought

    • Laura says

      I’m not sure about it either. I really want my daughter to learn to sit still – which she seems to find more difficult than a lot of other kids. But she has a very active brain and is very advanced for her age in lots of ways. She is 2 years old and we go to Quaker meeting on a Sunday. They have a children’s meeting but generally the kids go into the main meeting for 15 mins and for notices at the end – plus they have a few moments of ‘quiet’ in the kids meeting. The other kids all sit round quietly no problem – even some that are the same age or younger but I can’t for the life of me get her to sit still with the others. We do all the things suggested here – we always eat our meals at the table and we sit and read books and do colouring etc. The ‘problem’ is that when we are in public events like Friends meeting she is too curious to sit still but wants to be looking around exploring everything. I think some other kids are basically more passive and will learn this ‘skill’ more easily and it is wrong to say it is the fault of the parents. I am just hoping she will calm down a bit as she gets older – but it is pointless trying to make her sit still when she doesn’t want to as she will just scream. Not sure what else I can do as the ‘tips’ in this article don’t include anything I don’t already do.

      • providentialfoodies says

        Maybe it would be helpful for your daughter to exercise vigorously (running, jumping, wiggling like crazy) before you leave for church? I have a couple who were pretty wiggly and I found that helpful sometimes. Two is awfully young to be able to sit still “cold turkey”, but with consistency, she’ll eventually learn, probably especially as she matures, to pay attention to the “main event”, whether it’s a sermon, a wedding ceremony, a funeral or whatever else. It’s not terrible that a 2 year old can’t sit still quietly, though it is distracting for those around them. I think most people “get” that. Most adults don’t sit completely still, but one goal is to exercise her “attention” muscle and she doesn’t need to sit absolutely positively still for that.

  37. Liss says

    I did all of the things you mention there, read to my children up to 5 books a day, held them when we left a church meeting, and I have one child who can sit still and another almost 6yr old boy who still struggles, it is not an exact science but I am happy for you that it worked, it doesn’t always work

  38. says

    I’m almost 7 months pregnant and hope to be this kind of mother to my son. I have a friend who’s child runs all over every place they’re in, there’s no instruction, no direction, just a free for all for him because when she has asked him to stop (or holds him to prevent him from causing a ruckus) he screams and puts up a fight. I went out to dinner with them the other night and he kept trying to grab food from my plate, while grabbing my plate and pulling it towards him. I calmly removed his hand from my plate put it in his lap, told him “no” that that was “my food, not his” and that I “did not share with children”. He tried doing this every few minutes, and each time I repeated the same thing, removing his hand calmly, placing it in his lap, and repeating the same sentence to him. The LAST time he did it, all I had to do was raise an eyebrow at him, he put his own hand in his own lap and sat quietly. He wasn’t my son, but I was pretty proud that he learned to behave himself in what I thought was a pretty quick matter of time (He’s a little over 1 year).

    I believe kids should have fun, and should have the ability to be kids, but I do believe that there are places that kids need to behave themselves, and be able to sit quietly.

  39. says

    This is an area I struggled with the most with my 2nd child. After moving 250 miles from the city to the country, away from family and starting completely over, we were all thrown for a loop, even with church. My youngest had trouble sitting through services so I came up with an idea! I started my own business called Church Fun for Kids. I offer church materials designed to help children in three areas: a personal focus on the sermon, learning general biblical facts, engaging in worship. They are geared to children in 4th grade and up. Visit my website and print out a free sample. My goal if for your children to develop the desire to be at church and to know God better. God bless.

  40. Dana says

    I do the same things with my kids and they can sit calmly all day at home when they are being read to with books they like, or if they are listening to things they like such as music and that kind of stuff, but they still do horrible at church and other places cus I can’t be reading to them or they can’t listen to what they want. I think a lot of it just depends on the kid. I’m glad this works for you, but from what I read here it is exactly what I do and I can get my kids to be wonderful at home, but without those props I can’t get it to work.

  41. Cyndi says


    My daughter, now five, CAN sit still for long periods of time.

    I did not teach her to grin and bear it, though.

    I taught her that her mother understands her needs and respects her young mind.

    I allowed her to play with quiet toys, colour, flip through books, and I have always kept a simple activity bag handy. By showing her that I do not expect her to find adult-themed activities interesting, I have shown her that she has a mother who is willing to look through her young eyes. Now, at five and in kindergarten, I have been told she is excelling, has fantastic focus and is a highly sympathetic and compassionate child. I’ve always read to her.. I mean ALWAYS. Even BEFORE she was born.

    I am a Christian, a mother and I have been an Early Childhood Educator (Humber College, Ontario)

    Adult sermons are for adults.

    Children’s church/Sunday school is for children.

    My minister told me he can’t stand polyester.Why? Because he was forced to wear it to church as a child. Most of my friends and many of my family members do not attend church. They equate it with a place that forces them to be something they are not, a place where laughter is silenced and the sole purpose of worship is to sit still, bow ones head when it is appropriate.

    I am grateful to have found a place of worship that recognizes that young children deserve fun, lively and AGE APPROPRIATE Christian worship.

    Inoculations are to be endured.


    Church is to be ENJOYED. By all.

    • Paul says

      Cyndi, you underestimate the means of grace. The corporate (all ages) worship of our Triune God and the Word of God preached is one of the primary avenues for the Spirit to transform lives, even young lives. If you research a bit the impact of “Child friendly worship services” that turn into “Youth friendly services” you will find that the kids who “most enjoyed” church are no where to be found in their 20s and most never return. They just moved on to the next thing they “enjoy” and that entertains them which usually involves them gravitating to where they found most of their own “peers” which is not typically a Church family. Learning to Worship can be a discipline in youth and in age. As God’s Spirit breathes life into our hearts, we begin to yearn and long more for it, whether we be 3 or 103. Church gatherings are to be about the Glory of God and as we seek to do so, He is enjoyed, not necessarily our own “consumerist” appetites.

      • Pam says

        Paul, your response would lead one to believe that those children who were not part of “child friendly worship services” and “youth friendly services” are found in plentiful numbers in services. That is just not so.

        If you research a bit, you will recognize that many adults are no longer sitting in corporate worship of our Triune God and hearing the Word of God preached. Some have been disillusioned, some were forced by their parents to endure that which did not find the Spirit transforming their lives regardless of their attendance.

        Church gatherings are not the only, or perhaps even the best, way for one to worship, to be fed, to build relationship with our God and Savior. We as believers are the Church, and attending a service in a church building is not the begin all and end all for one to have God’s Spirit breathed into hearts and lives.

  42. Sue says

    One of our grammas thanked us for teaching our kids this. She originally thought we were too strict. Then she kept our oldest for a week and enjoyed taking her everywhere because she knew how to behave! It was time well spent on our part.

    • Janey says

      Our children learned to do this early, and guess what we could take them anywhere and we were not ashamed of them as they had learned to mind. My husband always said while we were raising our girls, “if you don’t mean it don’t say it”. Good advice.

  43. says

    These are great points Gabrielle. I would allow my children to pick out the story books they wanted to bring to church. They were content with reading their books. If they needed to talk, I told them to remember to whisper. I also emphasize when the minister is talking, we do not talk. At our church we can stand, sing, and clap, so they were able to do that to break the boredom from sitting constantly. They love the music.

    • says

      This is an interesting article and I commend you for taking action. I wish more would. My two kids and my two nieces who went to church with us knew how to behave at church from very young. I received compliments often when my kids were little because of their table manners and so forth when we were out. I don’t think children should have to sit with their hands in their lap and do nothing for the entire service. But there are ways to see that they “sit quietly” so others aren’t disrupted.

  44. Terri Graham says

    I am the children’s director at my church. This is a great good article and I’d like to give it to the families. With your permission of course!

  45. Sarah says

    I have been wondering what to do with my kids.
    We live far from our family so I have zero help this is gonna take some time but im sure that the results will be great , glad I found you through pinterest.

  46. Karla says

    As a preschool director at my church, I would love to place a copy of your article in the hands of my parents with young children. It is encouraging!!! Let me know if I have your permission. Thank you!

  47. says

    Thank you for this article, Tricia. It’s really nice to know that others go through the same training that we are in the thick of at the moment. I totally agree! It can (and should) be done! I love to hear of parents who make the effort to train their children when the world is saying that is just plain too hard. Good on you!

    When my daughter was 1.5, we visited a few new churches and it really made a huge difference to me if they had a nursery. I couldn’t help but wonder how I would feel if it had been your church I was visiting. Most of the churches we were at did not have a nursery and as I had only just begun to teach my daughter to sit still and be quiet (she still had a long way to go), I felt obliged to wait with her outside. It was very lonely and I didn’t want to go back to that church. The full story is here:

    At our home church, we have nursery for ages 1 – 5 because there are always more kids in that age group than in the under 1s age group. We have another room where whole families with children under 1 can sit together and watch the service on a huge screen.

    When I read that your husband was a minister, I wondered whether you (or he) has any say in how nursery is run at your church. Could I humbly suggest that perhaps you switch around your nursery ages so it is the babies who stay with the parents rather than the older kids? I know that if I was visiting, I would understand (and maybe even prefer) that my baby stay with me but once the baby starts walking, it’s a whole new ball game! I, for one, would love the break! While I believe it is excellent for a child to learn about God from their parents’ laps, I love to be able to concentrate fully on what God has to say to me.

    By the way, we have pulled our daughter out of nursery early because we believe that kids 4+ should definitely be able to sit still and participate somewhat in the service.

    Thank you for your encouragement in writing this excellent post!

  48. Rebecca says

    Your article came up in my google search, as I prepare to bring my very active & noisy 2 year old son into our church services, from our creche (our cut off age is 3).
    I decided that I needed to begin training him now, as it literally seems impossible.
    I cannot believe that I found this! Thankyou so much for writing it, it is literally what I needed to find!

  49. says

    Love this. My parents taught my brothers and I to behave and sit still in church so I sort of expected all kids to do that…apparently not. I plan on teaching my own children (one day) the same thing. Great article!

  50. Jacqueline says

    I have a (now almost 18 year old) child with ADHD. When he was 3 and needed to sit through part of traditional church until children’s church, it was very difficult. I did all the things you are saying and felt like a failure because my kid just couldn’t do it. I brought little games to church that were only to be used in church; I had to really think about where we sat; we had a system of rewards for when he did well even for a short time. He didn’t get punished for what he simply wasn’t able to do. We did keep trying I had to realize that my child was very bright and intelligent in ways that didn’t always show when he couldn’t sit still. We never gave up and he still moves his leg when sitting. Just a word of encouragement for the moms of challenging (but rewarding!) little ones!

    • says

      Thanks for this! My son loves doing all the things in the article., but it doesnt translate to services. He has to be tired or drawing many times. He enjoys singing though.

  51. cmc says

    Thank you for being a parent! I’m an Educational Assistant, working in scool. If more parents would teach this skill to children before they come to school we could actually spend more of our time teaching academics.

    • says

      i did not do this with either of my children. my daughter was very rambunctious as a smaller child and she had a hard time sitting still. instead of getting her to always sit still or understand that church is a quiet place, i allowed her to be herself. she is now in the pre k program at the elementary school. i worried that she would have a hard time with the quiet time or following instruction, however, the teacher has told me that she is one of if not the best behaved children in her classroom this year and in years past. my daughter was never told to be still or to be anything other than a child. i feel like people expect too much out of small children. small children are going to be loud, full of energy. it is why we do not take them to quiet restaurants and reserve those for times when we have a babysitter. i think that while it is important to educate your children, it is equally important to remember that children are children. my daughter has been speaking in full structured sentences from the age of one and has often found herself bored in situations with children the same age as her. if you give your child things that keep their attention, they will be preoccupied. they will not have time to be out of control. people see my daughter and they see how smart she is and they quickly forget her age. people will commend her intelligence but then ridicule her for a tantrum. she was two years old and someone told me that at her age she should be able to share better, when i explained how old she was they were astonished. children deserve their innocence and they deserve the chance to figure things out for themselves. my daughter is thriving and i feel like i am not less than a parent because i did not do this particular method…. my daughter has excellent behavior in school, even to my own pleasant surprise… just food for thought

  52. Glenda Taylor says

    Yes, we never had a Nursery @ our Church. Children had to sit with parents. Had to take mine out @ times, but they learned to sit. This is wonderful & Thank you for Sharing!

  53. says

    “It’s a parent’s job to teach their children skills that will help them in life.” Perfectly stated! This is how my older children learned as well, and I wish that I pursued it more with my younger ones. Thanks for sharing your insight with us! I’m pinning this!

  54. Vueiy says

    This trait was one of the first things that impressed me about the church I now attend. When I first started attending, I was still engaged, with no children, and I was in awe of the fact that (for the most part) the majority of the children sat still and were quiet during the service. Now that I have kids (ages 6, 3, 1, and a 6-month old “bun in the oven”), this is something we strive for. We’re not quite there yet, but I’ll definitely be taking this advice into consideration and applying it!

  55. says

    We had a boy & nearly 2 years later a girl. they too werent just naturally calm, but learned they could be calm for a reasonable amount of time with training. lots & lots of consistent training. it meant many times missing out on a service i wanted to participate in or listen to. but later on they cought on & i could partake as much as anyone else. payoff was worth it. since they were fairly still & quiet they heard more & as young adults will tell you much of what they heard in church as lil ones.
    now. when my daughter was nearly ten yes 10 i found out i was expecting. yes a baby ! a boy then surprise surprise 3 years later again-boy!! then 2 years later we had a babygirl that we didnt think was possible.
    with these 3 it was increasingly more of a challenge to do the same training as with the first two. i was older & there were more of them!! and we had teenagers ! we are training the younger ones but i will say some children take a bit more. more training and along therewith more time spent in fellowship( a thing many large families may already know). I can say not all children respond within the exact same timeframe but they will def do better if you train on purpose. If not you will regret it. It does take time. but they are worth it

  56. says

    Yes, I think children should be in church and sitting still is a skill to be learned. My kids impress people with the range of foods they will try. That is something we have encouraged and you should see the looks we would get when our young’uns would ask for artichoke for dinner. When one of my kids says a food is not something they like. It is because they have tasted it and given it a fair try.

  57. Ann Marie says

    That’s exactly how It’s done…for generations! My kids didn’t have CDs, we used Patch the Pirate cassettes. And road trips?….our annual trips to visit my husband’s side of the family were 38 hours long, (two nights and a day of sitting in the vehicle) with gas stops every four hours; did I mention ‘annual’? That means each of the five children was under a year when they made their first trip. Our kids grew up knowing their grandparents, family and roots….and how to behave. Delayed gratification was at the end of every trip, quiet-time and church service; that’s a life-gift few children ever receive and from their parents anymore.

  58. Susan Keller says

    Some kids are born high energy, frigidity, or easily distracted, other’s aren’t. Sometimes these traits run in families. Do not judge people who have the jumpy kids and do not consider yourself a better parent and a superior person because you have kids that are naturally calm. Yes, I know that good and poor parent is involved here but let God be the judge of that. Your job is to love and bear with one another. If you can’t give advice without being demeaning shut your trap. People with a lot of problems or people who are good parents but just have hyper kids already come to church with a load of judgement on their shoulders. It’s heavy. church should be a place of rest, peaceful instruction and guidance. Do your best to bear with them, relieve the pain, ease the frustration, and love them. You have a responsibility to them, this is not about you. Do not heap coals on their lap by making some sort of contest out of your children.

    • rhonda says

      You must have read a different article than I did. There was nothing judgmental or demeaning in it. I have a son that’s ADD. He is 36 now but could sit still while playing video games so he could also be taught to sit still in church, etc. “Jumpy” children can be taught just like calm children, as long as the parents don’t make being jumpy an excuse for bad behavior and lack of consistency on their part.

      • Ann Marie says

        You hit the nail on the head! Thank you for affirming ADD/ADHD children in learning self discipline. Some of the best ways to engage a child like that in learning self-control are responsibilities, and consistancy. Some may still need some medication for awhile to help them learn what it feels like to stay focused, most will not.

      • Susan Keller says

        No, I didn’t read a different article than you did. There was nothing judgmental in the article. It’s just that people who are insecure (of which there are many) will read that article and use it for bad things. I have lived all over the united states and have met quite a lot of people. Articles like the one above is a gold mine for them.

        Furthermore I never said that jumpy kids can’t be taught to be calm. I did say that people need to bare with people with jumpy kids. Only parents with children who are naturally prone to calmness on some level can do what was suggested above and get the relatively speaking quick results mentioned above. I had years of teaching and training. I did more than just books with my kids. That was the tip of the iceberg. Granted, I don’t believe in drugging for ADHD so some of this could be blamed on me. Note that at the time (my jumpy kid is 16 now) there was a suspected link between the meds they use for ADHD and congenital heart problems. It was suspected that the drugs exasperate the problem. These are the very same heart problems that run in both mine and my husband’s family. I refused to drug my kids until more was known about the connection.

        I have a degree in psychology and I used many of the techniques for concentration that I learned to do for myself and some of the other suggestions from the discipline. I found that there was almost no psychological treatments to help kids concentrate. Good nutrition, a sensible schedule and other common knowledge things do help. Believe me, I have worked with kids who don’t get these basics. It’s very sad to see a kid struggle because of such preventable things like diet, proper sleep and other healthy lifestyle choices. I had to take these techniques and translate them down to something a kindergartner and a first grader would understand. It worked, but these things take time.

        Many of these techniques were various forms of mindfulness. Mindfulness for math is one of the easier things to teach. I took my son to the faucet and explained how he can use his hyper focus to his benefit. It involves poring on the concentration to work on a problem he is having difficulty with but when he feels his brain is about to fry he needs to mark where he is in the problem, even if he is half way through, and then let his brain cool. *I shut off the faucet* He then needs to employ the other mindfulness techniques to bring himself back to the problem and start the cycle again. It may seem to take longer to complete work that way but in the long run it will take less time than the way he had been doing things before. What happens over time is that, as he learns how to work the problems, the concentration time will get longer and longer. BTW I had to stay home for many years just so I could tutor my kids. It was a financial hardship but we were able to accomplish what we needed to do because of this.

        My point in all this is that nothing is instant and for some kids the amount of work needed to get behavior under control can be extreme. It can be done and it should be done but don’t get discouraged and don’t think you are inferior because your kid needs a lot more work. Children are different and genetics can play a huge part in all this. As for anyone else, you can’t see into their genes, you don’t know what other’s are fighting against. Simplistic articles like the one above make it look like parents who have jumpy kids aren’t doing anything or are a doofus and can’t do anything right. It makes them feel bad, and they already have enough of that from other sources. Understand the article is oversimplified and don’t judge if you do these things and get (relatively speaking) instant results. You just don’t know what other’s are going through.

        • Michelle Jean says

          I have a child, now twelve, who *still* is somewhat fidgety in church. However, he would be a heck-of-a-lot more fidgety if we hadn’t disciplined him during each week’s service from the time he was about a year old. It is *extremely* difficult to discipline a child this way, so for you to say that this mom had “naturally calm” children who will automatically do what they’re told is an insult to the extremely hard work she, I, and others like us have put into training our children. It also completely discounts the Bible’s teaching that children are naturally born sinners. Therefore, there is no such thing as “naturally” obedient. There is nothing more frustrating than to work your tail off (with a great deal of frustration and tears) disciplining your kids to sit still, sleep through the night, not fuss, or whatever the case may be, just to have some people say, “Well, your children are just ‘naturally’ calm or obedient.” To the contrary, ALL children are sinners in need of discipline by grace. And disciplining children is HARD WORK no matter what your child’s temperament is. So please, try not to dismiss those of us who put our blood, sweat, and tears into our children’s discipline so that our children can bless *you* and others around them when they are out and about. You reap the benefits of the hard work we’ve done, but it *was* hard work.

          • Jae says

            @Michelle Jean:

            Your comment:
            “It also completely discounts the Bible’s teaching that children are naturally born sinners. Therefore, there is no such thing as “naturally” obedient.”

            My reply:

            Whilst you are entitled to your beliefs and opinion, I must say that I respectfully disagree with this what you said.

            I believe that there are various opportunities for us to learn and recognize through scripture and life itself, that the Lord recognizes and loves the innocent “purity” of little children. Sure, they are not perfect at everything, but in things that truly matter (meek, submissive, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things that the Father sees fit to “inflict” upon them” etc…) they are excellent examples.

            One referent: see Matthew 18

            1 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

            2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,

            3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

            4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

            5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

          • Jae says

            P.S. your other comment: “ALL children are sinners in need of discipline by grace”

            Again I would respectfully disagree. If anything, it is the ADULTS and those of us who are more fully aware of the choices we make (more conscious that we are making right or wrong choices) who may be more readily labelled as “sinners”.

            Yes, I also believe that it is by grace that we are all saved, but this doesn’t come without our effort and doing our part to show that we are trying to do good/be good people. Let’s not forget that hard work is also required in such “saving”. (as you indicate, hard work is very real, and it is important, not just with child rearing, but with regards to salvation and things of such eternal nature too :)

            I truly believe that, as children of God, we have divine potential. Jesus Christ is our Saviour, He did come and live, and die, and live again, so provide the way back to heaven for us all.
            BUT, we cannot expect to do whatever we want, totally disregarding God’s laws. Speaking as if we’ve accepted Jesus yet making no effort whatsoever to be good, to actually LIVE His teachings. We cannot act like this and still expect to get to heaven. (not speaking of you personally, but in general, we as a human race) Thus, the scripture, “It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do”.

            Hope this makes sense :)

          • says

            @Jae… I’m concerned about your comment starting with “BUT, we cannot expect to do whatever we want, totally disregarding God’s laws… We cannot act like this and still expect to get to heaven (and ending with) Thus, the scripture, “It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”

            I am really concerned about your view of the gospel and your quoting of ‘scripture’ that is not actually biblical scripture, but from the book of Mormons. Jesus died for our sins, period. If we sin again.. and we are most likely to do this.. Christ is still our saviour, regardless of our behaviour. I understand your attitude towards ‘unrepentance’ and I don’t disagree that treating God’s free gift by sinning is wrong. However, you are quoting from a book that is not included in the canon of books that make up the Bible. The book you quote from is a book named Nephi and is not regarded as Holy scripture by the majority of Christians (both present day and in the past.) We cannot reach heaven by works as these words hint at.. There is no ‘after all we can do’. Nothing we can do or bring to God could ever fix or cover our sin other than Christ’s atoning blood on the cross for our sins and rebellion to God.

            Paul addresses your concern about taking advantage of God in the book of Romans, (particularly chapters 6, 7 and 8.) He also talks about the Holy Spirit changing us and our desire to battle the flesh in these chapters. I hope you read this and more of the gospel of Jesus, rather than the gospel of man.

            Of course God uses our good deeds to bring His children to a knowledge of Jesus.. but it is all His work through the Holy Spirit that convinces a person of their guilt before God and the need for a Saviour that can only be Jesus.

            Here are some verses to encourage you (all of Colossians I’m sure you would enjoy as this book also speaks about continuing in faith)…

            “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians Ch 1:13, 14.

            “…man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” 1 Samuel: 16, 7b.

            I hope you understand the full weight of God’s mercy on us as you check out the bible more. I will be praying for you. Below is a link you might also find helpful.


          • Kim C says

            @Naomi, I have to ask you if you’ve ever attended a Mormon church. You seem to suggest in your post that you know more about Jae’s religion than she does. She quoted scripture that she believes is the word of God (both Matthew and Nephi). Her quoting the Book of Mormon is no different to her than you quoting the Bible. You also assume that somehow Jae hasn’t “checked out the bible” much. Did you know that Mormons believe the Bible is the word of God and study it in Sunday School, Seminary, and other church meetings? I think you missed some of the relevance of Jae’s comments. She was simply saying that it was her opinion (and she gave a source for having that belief) that children are not naturally born sinners. I think the “disagreement” is actually in the words that are being spoken. While the natural man is an enemy to God, babies are not born with sin. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints actually believe that children under age 8 are not capable of sin because they cannot fully understand right from wrong. One of the purposes of this life is to train ourselves and learn self-control so that we can put off the natural man and turn towards God and become worthy of His presence since “no unclean thing” can enter into God’s presence. You are correct, and Mormons agree, that Christ is our Savior no matter what. Whether we sin once or a million times. Nothing will ever change that and we cannot ever pay back his gift of redemption. He’s already paid for us. Jesus gave us 2 gifts. One was eternal life. That gift is for everyone no matter what. The second gift is returning to the presence of God. While that gift is available to everyone, not everyone will choose to accept that gift. God is so merciful and loving, that He sent His son to die for us to provide the only way in which we can cleanse ourselves from sin and become clean and worthy of God’s presence. If Jesus never came we would all be in a lost and fallen state. So, your argument is actually not an argument because there are more agreement than disagreement if you understood what Jae’s point was. I know you think the Bible is the gospel of Jesus rather than the Gospel of men (which I’m assuming you were referring to the Book of Mormon) but did you know that the Book of Mormon’s title also says: Another Testament of Jesus Christ? The Book of Mormon testifies of Christ. I would encourage you to check out and find out from the source what our church believes rather than from others. We have General Conference every 6 months and I would also love for you to read the talks given by church leaders especially the ones about Christ so you can learn what Mormons really do believe about Christ. (You can find Conference talks on under Teachings.) Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not trying to tell you what you believe (as far as religion goes) is wrong. I’m asking you to please take the time to understand and research what others believe before you assume to know what they believe. Also, the Book of Mormon is easy to find and I would love for you to read it, whether you decide if it’s true or not, or if you agree with it or not, is up to you, but again, it’s just learning about a different religion so you can better understand their beliefs. I would hope that you would read all 360ish pages, but 2 Nephi Chapter 9 speaks a lot about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. If you would like to discuss this further, please email me at

    • Vueiy says

      “If you can’t give advice without being demeaning shut your trap.”

      Careful not to hit anyone with that log, sweetie. 😉

  59. Kayla says

    I read through all your articles, and I really enjoyed them. All in all, they are nothing special. You are doing what parenting was, and is supposed to be. Sadly, so many people let their children make the rules of bedtime, let them run around in church because it “helps their creativity”, and avoid discipline because it “hurts their self-esteem”. The lack of respect and discipline will really hurt our country as these children grow up and take over. Keep sharing! Your children are shining examples of what parenting can do!

  60. says

    Amber from Holy Hen House here,

    Just letting you know I am not ignoring your comment on my post referencing your post, nor did I delete my post. I accidentally hit “post immediately” when I meant to schedule it for tomorrow morning and you snuck in your comment before I could correct the mistake :). Will be approving your comment and responding to it tomorrow. Sorry for the inconvenience!

  61. Amy M says

    I was worried because my son was becoming a picky eater. I saw many parents preparing a separate meal for their children, and I determined that I would never do that. The old approach of “just try one bite” never seemed to work with anyone, because they tried it with their minds made up that they weren’t going to like it. So I developed a rating system with my son. I encouraged him to try foods and rate them on a scale of 1-10. 1 meant he would only eat it if he was stranded on a deserted island and starving to death. 10 meant it was the best thing he had ever put in his mouth. Each number had a description. He started trying things with an open mind and feeling like he was in control. He grew up eating almost anything (he truly didn’t like green peas and sweet potatoes) and today will eat anything. He even enjoys cooking.

    • Vueiy says

      That’s an interesting approach. When I didn’t like something, my mom would just tell me, “Eat it anyway.” I did. XD

  62. Leslie Gabbert says

    We did the same thing, and you’re right…such a blessing to them and to others! The other thing we practiced and practiced at home was obeying Mom/Dad ‘the first time and quickly’. We played a game sort of like Simon Says and worked and worked on it, starting when they were toddlers. Again, such a blessing, and they even liked the game! 😉

  63. Sally says

    I have one question for you have you ever tried to sit still anywhere when you had to go to the bathroom….well whether some parents believe it or not that is exactly how it is with children who have attention disorders and rather you want to believe it or not there are children out there like that….yes I believe that children should be made to mind and not misbehave in public but there are always exceptions like with anything…just my humble point of view….and I am not a new mother I have already raised my children and have many grandchildren….but I have a child such as this and a couple of grandkids so I know it from both sides….

    • Susan Keller says

      I’ve been there, done that Sally. I have ADHD and I have trouble sitting still. My son, a very sweet emotional kid for a boy, always a peacemaker, was the jumpy kid. He was curious about everything. He got into his first kiddie lock before he could even walk. Now that he’s a teen he wants to be an engineer. Go figure. He always liked mechanical things. He took them apart when he could.
      My daughter was the calm child. She could entertain herself.
      I used to sit in church and feel so bad for parents with the jumpy kids. church wasn’t made for them. Too much sitting. I would really feel bad about parents who had a lot of psychological problems. Their kids were acting out because life was rough for them. The parents really needed counseling but even in a good church that is responsible to the community and provides counseling these things aren’t instant. it takes a while,These people are a burden on the church but if people in the church aren’t prepared and willing to take care of these people they ought to rethink why they are in church. I’m saying that compassion is needed here. Life is rough, whether you and your kids are loud and disruptive in church because of psychological problems and bad behavior or whether you have the wrong genetics for the situation at hand, compassion is needed.

      • says

        Susan, I get that some kids have difficulty sitting still due to health issues. Believe me, I wish everyone reading this actually knew my heart (my long-time readers know me better and I think understood where I was coming from when I wrote this post), but I do not going around judging or looking down on other moms with children who can’t/don’t sit still in church. I try to be the first one to help.

        To say that church wasn’t made for a certain type of person/child is kinda false, in my opinion. That’s like saying school/work/waiting in offices wasn’t made for some people. Sitting is part of life. Sure I think some are better at it than others, but we can all learn to control our behaviors – some have an easier job at this than others. And, honestly, I’m not referring to kids with any type of syndrome, developmental disabilities. or any other similar health problem. I’m just a mom, not a child psychologist, but I think there’s a level of common sense that goes along with the way I taught my kids. Clearly from the comments, it works for some and not others.

        I didn’t write this to stand in judgement or because I lack compassion. I wrote it because I was glad I taught my kids. The result of the teaching helped my husband and I immensely when my children were little. I simply wanted to share. If this could work for another family, wonderful. If not, no big deal. I never intended for this to be a handbook on baby whispering or anything like that. I hope you and all these other readers understand that.

        • loraine wilber says

          You keep saying it helped your husband and you immensely when your children were little, but there is an even more important reason for teaching this. It makes the difference in the life and accomplishments of the child. A child who learns this, gets to enjoy the adult conversations going on around them, gets to participate in the world as a real person sooner than if they are thought of as ” not capable “, begins to learn and pick up all kinds of information and experiences they will use in their growing up years and adult life. A parent should choose to teach this, not only for their own peace, but because it will be very beneficial for their child’s development and life accomplishments.

          I speak from experience–my parents taught me and I taught my children. I went everywhere with my parents (so did my brother and sister), as did my 4 children go with us. I had ADHD and I remember enjoying myself,(rarely being board), and now I can see how I have learned skills and information which has shaped my life in a very positive way. Our children see this too, (one had chronic health problems which was a great challenge) and are now raising their children the same way, to enjoy the conversations and activities going on around them, rather than “waiting until they are older”.

          This is important for ALL children–especially if they have developmental and/or birth issues–to reach their full potential. Don’t take this as condemnation or mean, take this as an “older woman encouraging the younger women” to be happy with their children and to be the great moms they want to be. This can take super human patience and self sacrifice to achieve, but for moms who want the best for their kids and want them to reach their full potential, IT IS WORTH IT.

  64. says

    I just wanted to say thank you for detailing how much work it took to teach your kids this skill. Whether a church chooses to include the littles in the service, as my church did when I was growing up, or to provide a separate service for them, as the church does I attend now, is less relevant than the fact that the kiddos are in church and learning about the Lord as a family commitment.

    Parenting, especially of littles, is hard work, and it takes time, effort, energy, and dedication. Sometimes I think it gets glossed over, especially in parenting blogs, just how much work and effort goes into training kids. The glossing over is what leaves some of us feeling like utter failures when our kids don’t preform up to the standards we think they should reach.

    So, thank you for including the work in your description of how you taught your kids, and for the reminder that parenting is quite often a matter of choosing which skills are most important to our children’s success, and taking the time and work needed to teach them those skills.

    For other moms with strong-willed kiddos, my favorite parenting book of all time is Cynthia Tobias’ “You Can’t Make Me! (But, I Can be Persuaded).”
    Despite the rebellious-sounding title, she does not give discipline a pass, but she does offer excellent advice for dealing with kids who are less compliant than those little darlings who never seem to say “no” to their parents that all your friends have. 😉

    Good luck, moms, and God bless!

  65. Cat says

    It works. We did it as well. It starts at home. Spending time with them and not in front of the loud over stimulating cider games all day.

  66. Laura says

    Thanks for the article – food for thought! This may be a dumb question, but exactly how did you make them sit still for books? Mine always wants to squirm away from me; do I hold her down screaming while I try to read her a book??

    • says

      Laura, well making them sit still is part of the teaching process. I wouldn’t hold them down screaming, definitely not. I guess exactly what you do depends on your daughter’s age. I’d sit them on the couch or the floor and read to them. Every time they got up, I’d tell them to come back and sit down with me. Eventually they get it and stop getting up and they really do begin to pay attention. Start small and work up from there. Hope that helps.

  67. T Smith says

    I did this same thing with my son when he was little, he is now 28. He and his wife are ready to start a family and we were just talking about this very idea.

  68. says

    My husband is a pastor and we have 5 kids from 18-7 years old. Three of those children are very special needs. One is wheelchair bound but for the other two who are 7 & 9 I have worked with them to teach them to learn to sit in church. I’ve done this just like what was described in this blog and it works. We don’t spank our little ones as they are 7 & 9 but very delayed and are only like an 18 month old and maybe a 2 year old. Our kids sit on the front row except for the oldest who does the sound/media and there are times when I have to walk out and do things but I’m never worried as they behave. People remark on the kids all the time and are amazed that they’ve learned to do this with no real fuss. Our 9 yr old son LOVES church and runs in and takes the seat right in front of the pulpit, it’s adorable. If he hears a preacher on the tv, he will run and sit on the couch through the whole segment, and he ONLY does it for preaching, not for the news or anything else. The great thing is, they’ve learned self control. We take them out to eat, to the movies, to sit in a waiting room or fly to Europe and they can handle it. THAT is a blessing!!!!!

    This really works and I’d recommend it to anyone!

  69. Lavern Winters says

    You asked what was the best thing I ever taught my children. As the parent of 4 adults with 4 grandchildren I have to say the best thing we ever taught our children was to think for themselves. We always had the attitude that we were raising adults, not children. Now they are all successful adults each in his or her own way and most are in their own journey of raising another generation of adults.

    • Marie says

      Teaching independence and critical thinking skills is essential; however, there are far too many parents who take that idea to the extreme and have actually taught their children to be extremely selfish and inconsiderate of others. I certainly am not implying that you’re one of those people, but rather just providing a cautionary note to all.

      • Hilary says

        Teaching your children to ‘think for themselves’ is very different than teaching them to ‘think about themselves’.

    • Lois McCracken says

      For the one who said she hoped it wasn’t the best thing you’ve taught your children: Knowing what is expected and having the self-control to do it is the glue that holds all other virtues together. I think this fun, gentle, committed approach is EXTREMELY helpful.

    • Ann Marie says

      This one exercise has taught her children obedience, self-control, self-discipline, delayed-gratification, AND has laid the ground work for the children to be able to pay attention to the preaching in church, as well as in all other learning environments. I’d say that truly is a ‘best’ lesson for early childhood!

    • says

      I also taught my kids to sit through church services as I didn’t want them in the nursery. sometimes we attended a church that had a service for the kids and I’d let them go to that but they had to sit and listen. They began sitting and listening in church before they were even born. As a result the trips out of the service were very few and far between. Too many parents today don’t teach kids how to do this. I learned when I was in 5th grade to sit perfectly still after recess. We had to pick a position and not move for 10 minutes. Not move at all other than to breathe. My kids did better in school than most because they knew they had to sit for a long time and they were used to doing it.

  70. T Law says

    My parents taught 7 of us kids to sit still in Church. And we did sit still.
    I also then taught my children to sit still it worked most of the time and they still sit queitly.

  71. Melinda says

    All the Chevron is killing my eyes! I’m going to have to try and copy and paste the info somewhere else to read it. Chevron is like the visual equivalent to someone screaming in your ear while your trying to read.

    • says

      Sorry Melinda, but this blog operates on zero dollars and my two cents. Maybe one of these days I’ll buy a new design, but for now, we’re all stuck with it. Hope you can overlook my penchant for tackiness, because I do love me some color and pattern. If you view my blog on your phone, the background will disappear.

    • Lindy says

      LOL I didn’t even notice the chevron till you said something! I do ave problems with certain patterns too Melinda.

  72. mel says

    Hi and thank you for this article. I have a nearly 5yo boy nearly 3yo girl, a1yo girl and due my 4th baby in May. I still struggle to get my son to sit still. He’s better at church now but the dinner table is a real struggle. He would sit and listen to stories and read on his own very still so I know he can do it. Can I ask how you actually trained them ie if they moved did you stop reading the story? Or at the dinner table did you remove food until they sit down again. I need some details.please help. Thank you in anticipation x

    • says

      Mel, Thanks for your questions. I hope my answers will do them justice, but please take all advice with a grain of salt. You are mom and you know best.

      First, maybe I should clear something up. My kids are not always perfectly still. I mean, they’re kids. They fidget a little. I fidget a little. Currently my son keeps leaning back in his chair at dinner and it’s driving my husband crazy. Children are a work in progress, not robots we program to do what we want. Although, that does sound good. 😉

      When I was reading to my kids, I definitely stopped reading until they were sitting and paying attention again. Definitely. Dinner…now, your five year gets up from the table…that’s what I’m getting from this. I guess I’d tell him to sit back down and if he purposefully defied you, then I would correct him by implementing whatever discipline techniques you use in your family. This is where you’re mom and you know best comes in. Is he fidgety and spacey and just needs to be reminded to sit back down or is it an obedience problem? I can’t even begin to know that.

      Hope that helps, but I’m sure it’s not the answer you were looking for. So sorry. Like I mentioned, I do like the book Creative Correction. At the end of every chapter it provides a “toolbox” with lots of tips to help parents.

    • Seanna says

      Hi Mel, We have four children, and one more on the way. At the dinner table, when a child is transitioning from booster seat to being allowed to sit on the ‘adult chair’ without a booster, that is the time that we really emphasize that they must sit still. If we try them on the chair and they can’t do it yet, then we get the booster seat out to help them to stay seated. Our aim is not to use the booster seat as a threat, but we explain that it will help them to sit still until they can do it on their own. It is a helping tool. But it is also an incentive for them to work hard to sit still if they have a trial period without it. With my 3 oldest children, they were ready for this transition out of the booster seat around age 4. Sometimes we would try them without the booster for a period of time, and they could not sit still yet, then the helping tool would come back. No shame, no anger, no big deal. Just a helping tool, because at our table, all people sit still.

      If you feel (or your five-year-old feels) that he is too old to go back to a booster, you could talk with him about what other things could help him to sit still. He may have ideas. Perhaps you could come up with some kind of a seatbelt, and talk to him how it is like how you need to stay on your seat in the car, and a seatbelt helps with that. We haven’t done this; I’m just thinking off the top of my head now.

      You could choose to use a 3 strikes in a meal, and then implement the helping tool.

      Just some thoughts. Bless you as you raise your wonderful children.

  73. Rachel Hurst says

    Regarding church service sitting: I appreciate the way our church does it. We have a nursery for babies with a worker and the sermon on the radio. We have Wee Worship that starts immediately after Sunday School. This is for toddlers and preK. They sing songs, have a lesson, do a craft or color a picture, get to play for a while, and have a snack (plus potty breaks all together.) They practice sitting still and listening, manners, and learn about Jesus, Bible stories, and worship. Once children reach Kindergarten, they are dismissed after Sunday School to go upstairs for the first part of service. The children are upstairs for the call to worship, worship, prayer of Thanksgiving; communion meditation, prayer, and communion (which is available for any baptized believer); offeratory prayer and offering; prayer for the sick and needy, and special music. They (K-6) are then dismissed (unless the teacher and sub aren’t there or if the message is from a missionary or specifically family related) to Junior church where they have a special lesson or message.
    That being said, I was nervous when my son became old enough to start coming upstairs. I needn’t have been. Don’t get me wrong. There was the first time he saw his grandpa serving and stood up, called “Papaw!”, and began waving during Communion before a could restrain him. Sigh. And he has been taken out for a conversation between my hand and his bottom when he’s acted up. However, the times he is good way out number the difficult moments. Heis even capable of sitting through the entire service and participating! Not only does he learn at home, but I help him during the service. I explain what the different parts of the service are as it is happening. I tell him the words to sing so he can sing along. I explain (because once isn’t enough) the importance of Communion and how it is a quiet holy time to think about how Jesus died on the cross to save us (which we have talked about in depth at home.) I remind him what the implements represnt. He gets his own offering to put in the offering plate and we talk about wht we give and what it is used for. Etc…
    I think it’s important not just to teach to still and be quiet for it’s own sake (this is important,) but in church we need to also focus on teaching why we are in church. I want my children to know why I go to church and what I give in worship and praise and what I get from the service in the way of instruction, fellowship, and chance to be close to my God in a special way. If my children only see my action of going to church; but never know the reason (the heart), they may grow up physically in the church without growing up spiritually within the heart of church.

  74. Dianna Bragg says

    This is how I taught my daughter also…it is our job as parents to TEACH our children how to behave and if we don’t we do a great injustice to them and to society.

  75. Vicki says

    When we built our new church 11 yrs ago, we added a small nursery, a place to take a crying/nursing baby, we didn’t want it to be a gathering place for kids or adults. we have sunday school class & wed night class for children, but we want them to be in the santuary watching, learning & feeling the presence of God. The word says to train up a child. we have to train them, it’s not a learned behavior. Our world today needs more loving,caring trainers & less of letting children/kids making their own decisions, because they throw a tantrum if they don’t get their way. I don’t believe in beating a child, but I also don’t think a swat on the backside will scar them for life. it’s part of disipline, if a child will listen & obey without it, that’s great, but if not, It will not hurt them, if given with love.

    • Jim Stephens says

      That statement is so right. As a youth/children’s director we took over a bunch of kids who were mainly upper elementary age to lower junior high 5 – 14 for a junior church setting. They had mainly been babysat with an attempt made at a lesson. My first job was to teach them to pray. I kept them on their knees for fifteen minutes for at least three Sundays till they learned as a group to bow their heads and shut their eyes and mouths for two minutes of silence. They were so used to just running around that it took awhile but they learned. A look was enough to silence them and a snap of the finger in the big church would silence a whole row of kids.That snap came from the piano bench and was loud enough for the whole church to hear. Why because they have to learn RESPECT for Gods house and prayer even at the cost of a bit of embarrassment to them. .After that time we had lots of lessons including lots of fun and lots of fun times at our home, going bowling, to McDonald’s, etc. I even took most of them to the nursing home twice a month and they were fairly well behaved most of the time. My rules were if you can’t behave and follow the rules you can go home. I took two or three of them home a time or two and let the parents know why they were brought home. Surprisingly most street parents stood behind me 100 percent. Most of them are now young adults but they have never forgotten those Sundays, the love and yes the discipline they so much needed, but did not often get elsewhere, and to this day, I receive hugs in public from my kids. Love and discipline go hand in hand .

  76. GrammaDebbie says

    The best thing I taught my children, is to LOVE GOD, LOVE OTHERS AND LIVE WISELY.
    My children were trained as babies to stay on a blanket on the floor and play quietly, and to sit quietly as well . . . however,1 of my 3 children was not able to sit still, due to hyperactivity.
    I chose to teach Children’s Worship to provide a place for children as an option – so parents can choose what is best for their child. Yes, they still have to sit still, but for a shorter time, and the teaching is also at their level, and includes learning activities.
    As for my hyperactive son, he now plays drums on the worship team at his church; he and his wife are teaching their children the importance of loving God. As for me, 35+ years later, I continue to share the love of God and saving grace of Jesus with children in Children’s Worship.

    • Rachel Hurst says

      Thank you for your comment. My son has been learning how to sit still. He’s doing well… on his own. My daughter is hyperactive though (at least partially because of asthma medications she has to have.) I don’t want to medicate her, but I also don’t want to enable her behaviors that are inappropriate. It is such a fine line. My son is better behaved when she isn’t around and vice versa. It’s important to teach a child to sit quietly, but people need to not assume that a parent isn’t parenting if they see a child who is literally incapable because of a medical issue.

      • Hannah Coffman says

        GREAT post! I implement these lessons with the little girls I nanny, and it truly does make a difference!
        I can relate to your above comment about your daughter with asthma- My little sister was a wild child as a result of her asthma meds when we were little (thankfully most people at our church knew she was on large doses of albuterol and her hyperactivity was not just disobedience). Now she’s 19 and med-free, incredibly calm, and we can look back at home videos of her in church programs and chuckle at how cute is was since she just couldn’t help it! 😉

      • says

        My sister and I were expected to sit quietly during services. We “played Church” at home. We went through each of the acts of worship. Singing was our favorite.
        When I had my son..what a shock that was . He was hyperactive. We never got through a service till he was around 4. The best thing that ever happened for him, was the congregation we moved to had a Junior Worship starting at age 3. He learned so much there. It takes a lot of patience and practice. Where we worship now, we have a nursery staffed by members. It’s supposed to be for ages newborn through 2. We have a training room for mothers to bring and sit with on the same pews as we have in the sanctuary. One mother with a 2.5 and a 5 year old, drop them off. They are rowdy and noisy and very disruptive. We have a speaker so we can listen to the sermon….except we can’t listen. I don’t feel it’s my place to tell the mother, they shouldn’t be there. She is in charge of staffing the nursery. We only have it on Sunday mornings. Good luck to all of you Mothers in your effort to teach your children to sit still, and learn.

    • Joyce says

      Trust me, there are people in your church that wish those noisy, “happy” children learned respect: of the speaker, of adults and others in the congregation, but, most important respect of our Lord in His house.

      • Jessica says

        Those are usually people who are always annoyed by children….period. Just because a child is being a child DOES NOT mean they are disrespectful and you really should be shamed for even stating such.

        • says

          I love children – have 4 of my own. This is not about whether or not the children are respectful, they are being children. I get frustrated when the little ones are running around or make more noise than they should be in that setting – and the parent is just letting them do it. This is not because I don’t like them or not want them around. It’s because when they are continually noisy, I can’t hear what the speakers are saying. I end up missing so much simply because the noisy child isn’t addressed. This is about teaching our children that there are times for noise and play, but there are also times for quiet and still. I honestly don’t have a problem w/ the parent who is working w/ their child or the children w/ special needs who all need a bit of extra patience and understanding. I’m talking about the children whose parent(s) just don’t. (And, this is what I’m thinking the author is talking about.)

          Thank you for sharing this. I wish more people would put in the effort to at least try. Maybe not at one, but definitely during the early years.

  77. says

    I had 3 children, and while my youngest was in the nursery, I ran the nursery at our Church. My husband was not away, and so my then 4yr old and 7 year old children attended “Big” Church alone, while I attended to the children in the nursery under 2 years of age. I was never worried about how my children would act, even though I was not within eye sight. I was confident, because I was confident in the consistent discipling/”training” that my children had received.
    Many members of the congregation where awed how my children acted during the church service, and they would comment how their children didn’t act as well as mine did even though their children were sitting next to them. My then toddlers were instructed by me that they would sit either in the first our second (middle pew), and that when it was song time they would stand up and sing. My four year old was far from being able to read, however she would enjoy opening the hymnal and singing along (as her older brother always made sure she had the right page). In one year of this scenario, I never once received a complaint on how my children were disruptive in any way or fashion. Actually, most were amazed, and many made me cry for the numerous complements and admiration of my children.
    Today, they are 15, 13, and 8. My husband and I rarely have to discipline our children today, but I account that to the consistency of the disciplining in their younger years, and in our open relationship with each of them. As they are getting older, it seems to be more of a challenge for me because it is difficult to allow them make their own choices as they move on into adulthood. Each day, they amaze me, and I am impressed with them in some way, and I am impressed with the young adults that they are becoming. And I thank the Lord, for each of them.

    • Patricia Mintz says

      It can be done ! I know too. If nothing is expected of a child nothing is what you get. I don’t believe in bribing a child to do the right thing. I sing in the choir of my church. When my granddaughter was about 2-3 I had no one to sit with her. I sat her on the first row right in front of me. I told her that this man was going to sit near her and that he would not hurt her. I also told her if she was bad I would come from my place and take her outside. We had made this trip before so she was aware of the restrictions that would be placed upon her. She, like your children , stood when it was time to sing. Bowed for prayer and behaved like a little lady should. I was so very proud of her. I wanted to reward her but I thought it best not to reward her for doing what she should do anyway. She will be 26 years old in a few days and now has two little girls of her own..

  78. says

    Wow! I thought I was the only parent to do this but that is how I taught my children to sit still. We always sat near the front of the church and there was no running in and out. We had six. People used to say… “oh, you just have good kids.” No, they were like everyone else’s kids except they were taught… and at home! They are all grown now, married, and have children of their own. All are productive citizens… Praise God for the wisdom to know how to correct and teach.

    I’d really like to put this article on my website. Would you give me permission to do so?

  79. SMP says

    So thrilled to see all the comments! What you are doing for your kids is to teach them appropriate behavior in many situations–not just church. I can tell you that, as a teacher, I have always appreciated when parents have trained their children to sit and listen (wherever they are)–it certainly carries over into the classroom and makes the job of the teacher so much easier…it also helps other children to learn from that behavior (after announcing that it was time to quiet down, I would calmly wait for those who were still speaking or moving around until they got the message that others were waiting. Then I would thank them and move on with the lesson).

    Yes, it takes practice, practice, and more practice but it will surely pay off! My husband and I always make a habit of complimenting the parents (and the children) when we sit near a well-behaved group–the parents always seem to sit up straighter upon receiving the compliment (and sometimes the kids do too!). We tell them, as well, that their teachers will thank them–sure makes their job easier with listeners who behave.

    Keep up the good y’all–remember, patience and practice!

    • KLMN says

      As an elementary teacher who is also a parent and a grandparent, I completely agree! Teachers can immediately tell which children have been trained by parents to BE STILL. Being still is easier for some children than others, I know. But, all YOUNG children can be trained to KNOW when being still is the appropriate, respectful, or educational behavior that should be their goal of acquiring.

      It TAKES PRACTICE and the training needs to start in small doses at a VERY YOUNG age. BEFORE THEY EVEN UNDERSTAND WHAT “No” means. Even very little ones can be taught to pause on your lap for a few seconds to look at a picture or sing a song. It’s called the art of LISTENING. It’s also experiencing the act of putting the other person first. If they aren’t taught the skill of listening BEFORE they enter an educational setting, then they WILL HAVE TROUBLE following any classroom or work procedures, which always includes LISTENING!

      Learning ANYTHING, ANYWHERE is so much easier when we have learned how to listen–REALLY LISTEN. Maybe that’s why God said “Be Still and Know that I AM GOD”. He must have known we really can’t hear Him and know Him if we are controlling what’s happening. We listen better when He is in charge.

  80. Kathy Snell says

    I am across this from a Facebook link. I don’t have small children anymore. I am however “surprised” at the behavior of children in general. Kids playing games on their phones and NO, I don’t think they are reading their Bible, racing back and forth in the pews, playing hide and seek with the people behind them, kicking the pews etc. I could go on, but the point is, when my children came to church with me, they paid attention to what was happening up front. They had no games, no cheerios. At the most a small book. They were not allowed to lay down in the pew and nap. I have Amish friends and they teach their children, almost from babies, that church is a place of respect. You must sit, and sit quietly. But how are we to discipline our children to the solemnity when we ourselves are more concerned about our phones or sudoko puzzles, than the Word we are there for? I was not a perfect parent, but church seems to be turning into a circus and it disappoints me so.

  81. Darcy says

    When you are training them at home, what sort of discipline do you use if they won’t sit still? Unfortunately, we grew up in a church that pushed sending to nursery and children’s church and it wasn’t until four years ago that felt convicted to worship as a family. We’ve been trying since then to train them to sit quietly and we have a focused part of our school day in just that, but it isn’t going as well as we had hoped since four years later we are still having issues. My oldest four do well, but the youngest 6, not so much (granted some of those six have been born during our 4 year quest).

    • says

      Darcy, I recommend the book Creative Correction. I’ve added a link at the bottom of the above post. The author gives all sorts of creative, positive ways to get your kids on board and motivated with a new skill/behavior.

      I did write a post on how I discipline my own children. The link is also above. I guess discipline would depend on how long you’ve been teaching a skill and the child. No one knows your children better than you.

      I think creative correction would be a wonderful resource for you and would help give you lots of good ideas.

    • John Stone says

      My sixth grade son would come home from school everyday and put his violin in the middle of the living room floor, until I ask him to pick it up. On day I told him to take in upstairs to his room, then come back down. When he came back down I ask him to go back up to his room and get the violin and bring it down. Then I said “just sit it in the middle of the room”. He did, then started to leave and I called him back and told him to pick up his violin and take it upstairs to his room. He looked at me funny, then took it back up. We went thru this procedure 10 times. After 2 or 3, he was laughing so hard, at about 7 times and he was crying, asking how long he would have to do this. At 10 times, I told him the next time it would be 20 times. Needless to say this never happened again. I also had to do it with another son that left his coat on the couch when he came home.

  82. Mack Fitzgerald. says

    Whenever I wouldn’t sit still or behave in church my Mama took me outside and tanned my butt. It didn’t take but a couple of times and I got the message LOUD and CLEAR!!!!!! This new age parenting just AMAZES me.

    • says

      lol. My parenting techniques have never been called New Age before. That’s a first! Like I said in an early comment, there’s a difference between discipline and teaching. Discipline corrects bad behavior while teaching actually helps children learn a new behavior. If that’s New Age, so be it.

      • Julie Osburn says

        I think that what Mack Fitzgerald was saying was that this new age (i.e. an age that is new) is different than when she/he was younger. I think that your assumption of “New Age” (capitalized i.e. a philosophical movement) caused unnecessary recap of your meaning. And, while your post was completely understandable and appreciated, Mack has a great point as well! A trip to the ol’ woodshed can usually get some quick results. ( :

      • says

        This is exactly how my mom taught me to sit still in church more than 30 years ago. There was also spanking involved when I misbehaved, but we practiced at home. Definitely not new age. :)

        • Sandra Cox says

          Yes, absolutely nothing new age about it. That is how my mother taught my sister and me to sit still in church, etc., and I am 65 years old. Not so sure it was taught – it was EXPECTED. Along with other proper behavior, saying please and thank you, asking “May I?” – rather than simply taking without asking, etc. We were expected to sit down and behave ourselves when mother was visiting her friends or attended teacher conferences, when we read comic books while she grocery shopped, when she frequently stopped for what seemed FOREVER to chat with a friend in a store.. . in other words – ALWAYS! Of course this was long before “The Year of the Child” which taught Americans that children should always come first in familial importance and encouraged parents do never discipline their children because they might give them inhibitions … lol!

    • Jessica says

      I am with you, Mark. I have four children, my oldest being twelve years old. They are very well behaved. I have people stop me in the store just to tell me how well behaved my children are (because unfortunately that is a rare these days). Do you know how my children learned to behave in church and other places? If they misbehave I take them out and tan their hides just like my momma did to me. We can go back and forth about the difference between discipline and teaching but the bottom line is all those children are sitting still. And if you want to get down to it, just because they are sitting still and being quite doesn’t mean they are paying one bit of attention to what the speaker is saying. I refuse to make my children have quite time and sit quietly doing something just so I can “train” them just so I can say “look how well behaved my children are. I trained them to be that way”. My children are children, I let them be children. I let them play like children, we play games and laugh at supper. They are loud and they are very well behaved in every situation.

  83. Kim Saunders says

    I think I must have taught my two grown girls to take notes in church because they have both followed my example. (Sticks in my head so much better when I take notes.) I remember when they were maybe 10 or so having them complain about not being able to go to children’s church any more (church is not optional when your dad is the pastor–tee hee). I gave them a notebook and suggested they illustrate what they heard. Somehow, it helped them listen better I think because I remember very few pictures and they both like to take notes like their mom to this day.

  84. Tammy says

    Good article and critical for parents to know. It’s funny and sad that people find this as an unusual skill. I was raised in a church of Christ. This was the norm. I raised all 3 of mine without going to a nursery. You are correct. If you take them out, and not reward them- it pays off. CONSISTENCEY IS KEY.

    • Kim Saunders says

      The person who made that nursery rule was your dear friend. I have wished I would have kept my kids in morning church at a younger age, maybe bypassed the nursery even. I also like how you kept sitting with them if you left church. We used to have a cry room when my husband was in seminary where the sermon was piped in for nursing moms. We should have used it as a practice room!!!

  85. Lola says

    It was nice to see this. This tactic was already unforced by my parents with me and then me with my children. I didnt have to send my kids to children church. They sat with me.

  86. Tammie S. Davis says

    I taught both of my girls how to read before kindergarten. They excelled all thru school I believe because of it. They both love to read to this day now and love knowledge.

      • sjonew says

        I understand what you’re saying. While teaching them to read (a sitting still time) they have now developed some “quiet time” on their own by enjoying reading. That is truly a double reward!!

      • EJ says

        If you will notice, the author asks readers what was the best thing you taught your child to do. So I believe Tammie was probably just answering the question. :)

  87. Angie says

    Teaching kids to be bored! I have often told my daughter, you just have to be bored so sometimes. Now 6, she hates it but understands. My one yearold boy…..well we are working on him. Patience!

  88. Priscilla says

    I taught my son how to put the toilet seat down after using it. It was difficult with an old school husband. It was an instruction on common courtesy. That because God gave him a role of power as a man and that using that power to take care of us in this kind and thoughtful way. Honor Integrity Valor the original meaning of HIV God intended for a man. Hopefully he takes it into his adult life and spreads that around instead of the other.

  89. Audery (Big sister) says

    Scripture memory, starting with my oldest youngest brother (he’s 7 years old). I taught him 2 Timothy 1:7 and John 3:16. We read it when we wake up in the morning, before lunch, and before bed. In between those before he does any major activity, he recites his bible verse. Whether it’s watching a movie, playing a game, getting on the school bus, going outside to play or doing a chore. He recites his verse, if he does it perfectly before a video game, he gets to play an extra 2 minutes per verse he can say correctly without any mistakes.

  90. says

    When we went to church with my grandparents, my Nana kept a roll of peppermint Lifesavers in her purse. If we were being sitting still and paying attention, toward the end of the sermon she would slip us one.

  91. says

    I appreciate your article. I agree with you 100%. My husband is a pastor and our 4 children went everywhere with us when they were young. They were our biggest asset in every church we were in. We prayed for meek and quiet children and that’s what people noticed about them. Church members were not hesitant to invite our whole family into their homes.

    I kept my children in church with me as well. Scripture points out that the little ones were with them when they stood before the Lord and when the Commandments were read (Joshua 8:35 and 2 Chronicles 20:13)

    Thank you for what you are doing to help train up the children.

    • Gayle says

      I have been going to the same church for 60 plus years and we have never had a nursery so all of “our”
      kids learn early how to sit still.

  92. says

    I taught seven children how to sit quietly, one had autism and one came to us late as she was adopted and had a lot of behavioral issues. It can (and should) be done. Wonderful article. Thanks.

    • anna Wahl says

      I love this too:) Teaching our kids to sit still is so important. My oldest who is 10…has to be the hardest to teach this. He has been this way since he came out of the womb. Always kept me on my toes. The one thing that helps him calm his body is drawing. He has been coming with us to our church service instead of kids church for a little while now, and we have let him draw while sitting. Thankfully he listens to every word and talks about what the pastor preached about throughout the day. His love for drawing has been a great tool for him to use. Thanks for the great tools. Better to train up a child in the way they should go while we have them under our care, than to leave it up to there own will. Thankfully I have a great husband who is on my team. He is my superhero at the end of every day:)

  93. Sherry Rupe says

    From the time I thought they were old enough to carry a plate and glass to the sink without dropping them, which was about 2 years old, I taught them to clean up their places at the dinner table. When we visited family or friends for holidays, of all the children present, ours were the only two that cleaned up after themselves. One of my sister in laws asked, “How do you get them to do that?” I told her, “I just taught them.” My children never complained about doing it, it was just a good habit. They carried that habit into their adult lives. :-)

  94. Karina says

    Awesome post! I needed that reminder to do more self control training with my children. One óf the best things I have taught my children ïs the interrupt rule. Ïf I am speaking or focused ón someone and my child wants to speak to me, they simply put their hand ón my arm or shoulder and wait patiently. I will put my hand over theirs to let them know I have acknowledged their request, and when appropriate, I’ll say to my conversation partner, “Excuse me” and then I turn to my child, find out what they wanted and respond. Then I can turn backto my conversation.’ No rude interruptions and its pleasant! Such a blessing!

  95. Marj howell says

    Very good lesson here. If more parents would be quiet and stop showing their anger at the child and stay calm we would see better behaved children. The parents draw the attention, not the child. Speaking softly and looking in their eyes seriously works like magic! It also depends on what we whisper to them, I whispered we would put everything back and go home with nothing! It works!

  96. Ashley says

    Oh so you taught them this by actually spending time with them. Shock! Working with children, I was saddened by the little amount of time most parents actually spend with their children. They expect other people to teach them how to sit quietly, use the potty, and feed themselves. I am so glad your church made you sit with and spend time with your children. Teaching them yourself how to behave.

  97. Marshall says

    sounds like a lot of detail you try and put into making your kids do something. I also have 4 kids, they all sit still in church, and they learned by getting a spanking if they disobeyed. Pretty simple actually

      • Zainy says

        I agree. If you simply correct them instead of teaching them it gives them the idea they only have to do it when you’re around and then the moment you turn your back or walk away for a second they’re up and running all over the place.

  98. Kris says

    I enjoyed your article! It was encouraging and I hope I can implement some of your techniques and see how they work with my children. The part I struggle with is training at home. When you have a young child, lets say 3 or 4yrs, who gets up in the middle of story time to go do something more interesting, or they begin to come up with the excuses of “im thirsty”, “Im hungry”, “I just want to get my baby doll first”, “I heard a noise”, or simply, “I want to go play with my toys now”. If they talk back/ignore after re-instructing them to sit down during the store and they can have BLANK (whatever the case may be) when story time is done and mom gives permission…what action do you take next? Especially when training more than 1 child to sit still at a time. You can get up to correct one child, come back and the other one is gone and then you have to correct that one, and around and around it goes! =) Perhaps some ideas on correction/discipline when they are not wanting to cooperate with the training at home? I know not all children are the same, and parenting is never cookie-cutter, but it is helpful to hear ideas and perhaps it will lead to some creativity on my part.

    • says

      Maybe you can have a basket of small toys next to you and give one to the children who are seated with a reminder to stay in their spots and hold their special toy while you bring the distracted child back to task. Remember to sit that child closest to you and maybe put your hand on their knee every page or so with a big smile to keep them focussed.

  99. Caitlin says

    I read this post a while back when I just had my little girl (our first). She’s now 6 months and as active as can be… Standing up in her crib, crawling etc. I do story time but after 3 books she’s ready to climb away from me. Recently I took her to my husbands football banquet and while they were speaking she let herself be known by letting out some “talking” which echoed through the audotorium. So I guess my question to you is, what would you recommend to keep her quiet beside a pacifier (she usually only takes it at bedtime). I know she’s young and expressing herself, but is it possible to teach a baby this young to not babble?

    Thank you!

    • says

      Your daughter is very, very young. Other than filling her mouth with something – pacifier, bottle, sippy cup, etc., I don’t think you can keep her quite. I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful. I’m in no way an expert on kids.

      Sounds like you’re off to a great start though. If she can already sit through 3 books, that’s pretty awesome!

  100. Heidimamma4 says

    My oldest, 4 years currently, sat on my lap in church during his toddler years. I would whisper praise for being good or coach him when he started to fidget. After a short time he responded to nonverbal ques and now he reads my body language better than my husband. My 18 month old has never done well being still (car seats, high chairs, stroller, etc.) so I’m glad to have this advice as another tool to use. Nothing like hearing your child repeat something they heard in church! Makes you feel like you’re doing something right.

  101. JSB says

    Greetings in Christ! I taught my little girl how to sit still after one. Thats when I started sitting down with her reading the bible and I started teaching her the ABCs and numbers. I noticed she was a little wild lol she has very high energy which she gets from me. But I was concerned about how she would act when she started school. At that time she was till in the nursery at church so it was all on me to teach her how to sit still. So everyday I would have her sit across for me she had to either have her legs straight or folded. Her hands had to be right in her lap shoulders back and shes was not to move while I was speaking. It was rough I had to constantly stop to correct her but there were no spankings involved in this.

    I just kept telling her to sit still and helped her get back into position, I also had “snuggle time” with her daily so she would learn how to just relax and hang out with me while watching tv, talking or reading. All of sudden one day we got ready to read the Word. She did everything I taught her on her own she looked at me the whole time which was a bonus because I had only taught her to just sit and listen! I praised God for that! By the time she was ready to head into her toddler classroom at church she was ready and even through all the excitement of being in a classroom setting for the first time she did very well! I think it’s so important for them to learn this and I am so glad im not the only one out there who thinks so! God bless ya!

  102. Susan says

    Thanks for posting this! My husband and I are about to start having kids and the comment that hit home with me is the part where you weren’t near family so your kids went with you everywhere and that is one of the most daunting things for me to think about because my family is in CA, my husbands family is in SC and we are somewhere in the middle so I am near no one and we are in a new place so I don’t have friends either. This was encouraging!

  103. says

    Thank you for writing this. There are a few p eople look at me like I’m the meanest person in the world for thinking a 10 month old can sit still for a while. I’m not even talking a church service. I mean for the space of a 10 minute conversation with another adult. I keep getting lectures about children and free expression, blah blah blah.

    The coolest thing I’ve taught him so far is “The Mama Look”. That look where I don’t have to have to talk loud or say anything at all. I give him the raised eyebrow stare and stone face – and he knows to stop whatever he’s doing and go do something else. Sometimes I have to stare him down for nearly a full minute, but in the end, he always moves on.

    He is a sweet, cheerful, adorable little boy but he tests his boundaries every minute of every day. I feel like he’s basically asking me, can I do this? Can I do this right now? How about now? How about tomorrow? It’s like explaining the rules to someone who doesn’t speak the language.

  104. Miriam says

    I have a one year old and we have to sit still during community meals and the nursery is overcrowded. it felt absolutely hopeless until i found this! I asked so many of people and searched the web and everyone would just say that one year is too early. Thank you so much for sharing this – your article looks like a beam of hope!!!

  105. Rebeckah says

    Thanks for posting this. I do not have any kids yet but this is great to know. My parents taught us at a young age how to behave at church and to sit still at other public places. I don’t know how they did it but this gives me an idea (I am the 2nd oldest of 6, the last two are twins, at one point my parents had 6 kids under 7 years old!)

  106. Mom of six says

    When our oldest son was just a year old (now 21), there was a little girl at church who was a holy terror. I decided then and there that our son was going to learn to sit quietly in church. His 2 older sisters were not a problem in church, ever. It took about a month for him to understand that he had to sit, not stand, not climb on the chairs (we sat in the balcony), and not make noise. He was an active normal toddler, but he did learn to sit quietly. If we did have to take him out, Daddy would take him outside (small country church) and make him stand without moving until he asked to go back in. In other words, make it more fun to be in church, than be out! They were never gone more than about 5 min. We also have a son with Asperger’s. He too learned to sit in church. When he was quite small we let him stand on the pew because he wanted to see the pastor when he preached!

  107. Jenny says

    I teach junior and senior high school in a Christian school. I am printing this article for all my 7th and 8th grade parents. Many desperately need to go back to the beginning and teach their now-12- or 13-year-old children how to sit still, listen, and not interrupt. You cannot teach a child anything until you have taught him to pay attention. Many of my students regularly converse, laugh, tap pencils, walk around, swipe items from other students’ desks, tip their chairs (it makes a lot of noise), and whistle or hum during teacher explanations, homeroom devotions, Bible reading, prayer, even Chapel. My only available training tool is after-school detention, but it is not an effective tool. It just makes the kids resentful, especially when they honestly have no comprehension of just how interruptive, disruptive, and self-centered these behaviors, which have far too long been normal in their home, are. The response I get most often from the kids when I try to encourage them to be still is , “Oh, my meds haven’t kicked in yet,” or, “I forgot to take my meds today.”

  108. Courtney Kearby says

    As a mother-to-be who grew up in a small church with no nursery, this is EXACLY how my parents trained my brother and me in church. At home, we sat still to read often, and we were required to sit at the table for the duration of our meals at home. I was and still am super fidgety. As an adult I still swing my legs around because being completely still is painful to my legs, so my parents didn’t bug me, so long as I paid attention and sat in my seat. Being in church was what helped my parents see that my desire and talent was in music. My dream was to be a church pianist from the age of 3. I was saved at age 9 and I have been a pianist in a church since I was 14. Regular church attendance has never been an option. This is also how I my husband and I will raise our children. Bravo! I hope to be half as good of a mother as my own was and all of you are.

  109. Prjiscilla Surls says

    This advice may seem oh so new, but I raised my four children in church(no nursery). I love the advice and wish every parent would try this, even if you don’t go to church. It is not a waste of time as one reader stated, learning about God is never a waste of time. Those children may even pause some day to hear God’s calling for them. PTL for parents like you.

  110. blessed mom says

    Anyone have advice for training a very hyper child with autism to stay still? We do attempt at home but it’s like he has ants in his pants. Also he is fond of laughing quite loudly. His siblings do a great job, I am praying for wisdom for this one. He is seven. Thanks! :-)

    • amber says

      you can try a cushion that has some air in it or a pressure vest. I have seen both of these work wonders with autistic children. An occupational therapist should be able to help provide these or at least let you know where to pick these up.

  111. says

    Excellent post. This is basically how I trained my four children to be quiet and sit still in church and anywhere else. Practice, practice, practice at home. I would also add that teaching your child to hold your hand without fussing or pulling back is another way to teach self control. A self controlled child is a happy child. It is a loving thing to teach your children appropriate social skills.

  112. Erin says

    The best thing I thought my children was to put themselves to sleep. Sitting still will be next. So logical but fir some reason practicing never dawned on me.

  113. Kay says

    That is the key
    You cannot let them down on the floor
    You have to maintain controll of them and be firm and consistent.
    If you let them go a little they will go go go
    I agree if you ever have to take them out it should not be something they want to do again.
    But no matter what
    Take them to Church. Keep them in the service with you. It is hard now but the rewards are eternal.

  114. Kellie says

    Thank you so much for this blog!! My 16 month old NEVER sits still!! From the moment he wakes up to the time I put him in his crib for bed he is up moving. Even when he watches tv he is standing and running. When he is in the bath tub…all he does is walk around! He will not allow us to read to him, he will not just sit on your lap or anything! I grew up going to church and have always gone. But then I had my son and church was right at naptime so I really slacked off going. Plus my husband works weekends and it is just me trying to take our son and it is a lot on me and very stressful trying to keep him quite. I get so embarrassed at how he acts. I started taking him to Sunday school, but it is rather embarrassing….he runs all over the classroom and the other kids see it. But the teacher said to keep bringing him he will get used to it and see the other kids and it will eventually make him want to sit and listen. I’m not quite convinced yet….even though it’s only been 1 month of this. This past Sunday was the first Sunday I took him out of preaching to go to the nursery. But now reading your blog I am going to try this. My mom baby-sits for me and I told her about this blog. We are going to try try try & see how it works. I just wish he would “slow” down a little! I do have a question. My son flings himself when I try to hold him on my lap when we are in church….or anywhere for that matter. You said that when you had to leave the service you would hold your child and not let them down to play. Did your child ever fling themselves? If I hold onto him he flops and flings & screams. I don’t know what to do about that. Do you have any suggestions? I’m a first time parent and I feel that I am failing because my son won’t listen or sit still. I am the mother that looks like a chicken with its head cut off….so to speak. And I am very embarrassed. Everyone says it is just the stage….this stage has been here long enough. It’s time to do something.

    • says

      My second son was a flinger and a flopper. Like she said, you maintain control. You need to anticipate the fling or flop and not allow it. It is hard. I know. My oldest son has autism, so I was working with an autistic child and the flinger while my husband was preaching the sermon. I anticipated… kept my hand behind his back and/or head so that he was physically unable to do so. When he calmed down enough, then I would loosen my arms and give him more freedom. But if he went back to flinging, my arm went back. It wasn’t to keep him restrained; it was to keep him safe! I was holding him and I would have dropped him otherwise!

      Something else I did with each of my kids was walk with them. They were required to walk next to me… not in front, not in back, but next to me… without holding my hand. I went to a field and explained it to my son, then we went on a walk. If he ran (which he of course did!!!), I got him, brought him back to where we had been, and tried again. If he got a little bit ahead of me, I said, “That’s too far. Come back.” And he did after a bit. We practiced every day for a week or so, and that’s all it took. It worked very well in super markets, at fairs and festivals, and at church.

  115. Kathy says

    I was a pastor’s wife with 4 little boys. Our churches were most often small (50-100) and often did not have a nursery. Consequently, I had all my boys with me. I never thought about it. It just was. From the time the first one was a baby it just was. Looking back i see that I guess a lot of the things you are talking about happened in our house also. They were ordinary boys that didn’t want to sit through church any more than any other kids. But, when you sit on the 2nd row, left hand side for all the church to see, then it becomes imperative that they behave. And they did!
    By the time the 4th one came along they were 10,8,3 1/2 and a newborn. The two older ones were at the stage they wanted to go sit with other kids and their families. But, my husband and I felt that it was important to still ‘go to church as a family’ even though he was at the front of the church. So, they stayed with me. But, their little friends also came to sit with me! So there I was with a row full of little boys! They knew that if they heard me snap my fingers they better look at me and figure out what the problem was. Otherwise, the next week there would be no little friends sitting with us. Looking back I see what good kids they were. My husband and I were not ultra strict or anything. They just grew up knowing that’s the way it was on Sundays. No getting around it. So they dealt with it.
    There were six of us growing up and my folks were missionaries so there were times my twin sister and I were left in the pew to care for the others while daddy preached and mom played the piano. One thing mom stressed to us was never let the little ones down on the floor! You’ve lost the battle and they just want to run around then. I employed that philosophy with my boys also. Kids are amazing. Once they know the expectations they adapt. Especially when you start them young.
    So glad to be able to share this and to see you doing such a good job with your kids. I think parents often have way too low of expectations with their children nowadays (did I sound like an old lady there? Yikes! I’m only 58, not 98). Teach them with love and patience and there is no telling what you can accomplish!
    God Bless!

    • Rhonda Player says

      I, too, was raised very similiarly but my Dad wasn’t a pastor. I have done the same with my child. I personally kept our daughter in services (nursery was only for Sunday School) and got irritated when other moms tried to give her toys (they thought I was mean for not allowing toys). She is our responsibility to raise and she now sits still. Sometimes we have lap time but I was raised that the Devil likes to use those who fidget to interrupt the Holy Spirit. I don’t want to be the device used to keep someone from accepting the Lord as Savior and I passed this along also. My husband and I also believe we worship as a family. When our daughter has questions she is free to ask us…that is not a responsibility given to anyone else. I rocked our daughter at home during our “service times” everyday. That is my trick and I have had so many older moms compliment our daughter…it is all worth it but the key is raising your God-given child…not allowing someone else to. And we aren’t financially where our counterparts are but my family is worth the sacrifice!

    • Pam says

      I, too, am a pastor’s wife. I have one daughter (currently 4 yrs old) and kept her in church services with me on the third row from the time she was 2 weeks old. I only had to take her out of the service once and that was during communion. As a baby, i scheduled her nap times the same as our worship hour. As she got older we would find the hymn # together and sing as I pointed out the words and rhythm with her, put her money for Jesus in the offering, then she would look at her “Bible books” while Mommy had her Bible opened during the preaching. She really was never a distraction except being so adorable. At age 3, I was persuaded to let her go to children’s church with the other kids. That is when we started having issues with sitting still. I’m certainly not opposed to children’s church, but they need to be enforcing the sitting still skill and you as the MOM need to be proactive re: this. She now sits with us and is very excited to find the hymn # all by her self and loves singing. She also responds and gets excited when the pastor mentions Bible characters that she is familiar with. Teaching your child to sit still (in every situation) but especially church is hard, consistent work but it is such an important life lesson for your child–well worth the effort Mom!

  116. says

    I think your approach is amazing. Seriously, I’m impressed! That doesn’t happen too often. I will certainly keep this in mind while raising my now-7-month-old little girl. She has a 15-year-old big brother, and the best thing I ever taught him was how to properly introduce himself. From the time he was in preschool, he was taught to firmly shake someone’s hand, LOOK THEM IN THE EYE, and speak very c-l-e-a-r-l-y when meeting someone for the first time. When seeing an old acquaintance? We practiced “good to see you” and “how have you been”. I was “only” encouraging self-confidence, but last year I finally understood how valuable this was… he went to soccer camp at a Division I school he loves dearly. Along with several hundred other kids, he went to a camp meeting the first night and listening to the head coach and others speak about the program. After the speech, my (then) 13-year-old son walked right up to the head coach, held out his hand, said “Hi, I’m Nate X. I hope to play for you someday.” When he told me that over the phone that week, I’m embarrassed to say that I swelled up with pride. Love your parenting style! I will be reading more.

  117. says

    Hi! First off, I love that you take your kids to church and that you are focusing on getting them to sit still. It is indeed a skill learned and I 100% agree this starts at home. I leave this comment not to say what you wrote is wrong, but add encouragement to those who feel like they are failing in this department.

    I have 5 kids aged 8mos to 9 years old. 4 of them can sit still (or do fairly well for their age). My 7 year old is just so barely getting this concept. He’s “that kid” in our family. Sitting still is torturous for him, and we’ve been working on it for years and years and years. I don’t think we ever left him in the nursery. We homeschool now and my kids go with me everywhere, and he struggles to learn, and we’ve identified some learning disabilities he has, or I should say, we did last year when he was in 1st grade. We’ve learned some great things on finding out how his brain ticks differently than our other kids.

    If I could some him up, it wouldn’t be “stubborn” or “stupid” or “rebellious” but it would certainly be PASSIONATE. My heart breaks when he tells me that when he sits, it takes his whole brain to focus on sitting, and he can’t concentrate on anything else. I want him so badly to concentrate on the service, because that’s what we’re there for! Talking with the homeschool specialist that we were working with, she said something that really was a lightbulb moment for me. “You don’t have to lower the standard for him. Just understand the timeframe to meet that standard might be a little different, and he’ll need some more tools than the other kids did.”

    We’re making progress. We’ve learned he’s overwhelmed by sound during the music part of our service, so we sit farthest from the speakers as we can. Also, when he feels he will burst, he’s allowed one ticket to excuse himself to walk to the bathroom and back. That’s down from 4 tickets from last year. Also, he sometimes stretches a rubber band, or holds something still in his hands. His FAVORITE thing to do in church is hold our 8 month old. When holding the baby he is as happy as can be, and can sit the whole time.

    We’re making it. We’re instilling the same standard. It’s just for some kids, it takes a bit longer, and they need more tools, to do things “normal” kids can do, and they need a ton of grace.

    Thank you for teaching your kids this, and encouraging other mothers to do the same. It is so much work, but so valuable! If your child isn’t getting it, he/she will.

    • Cheryl says

      That is so exciting to me that your son loves to hold the baby and will sit through a whole service while doing so. What flashed out to me when I read that, is that he is actively teaching his sibling how to sit still by doing so. What big brother wouldn’t be pleased as punch to realize and be acknowledged for “mentoring” the baby in a skill he is still working on himself! :)

  118. says

    I’m reading this & half of me is thinking “I should do this” and the other half of me is horrified at the lines “to them it was JUST ANOTHER service… it could have been church” *face palm* a prophet came to our church not so long ago & he asked us to stand up & shout- to praise the Lord with our bodies & voices *cricket cricke* and he said “I’m not shocked, your parents are the culprits! Listen & Learn. What’s the worst thing your parents tought you about church? To sit still & be quiet!- Yes you ought to listen to the word but you should also be tought to use your energetic expressions to glorify the Lord. We think we have to teach our kids how to behave in church, when it should really be the other way. Be free & full of joy- rejoice when you enter the house of the Lord! So the next time your kid is “acting up” in church DO NOT tell them to sit stil or be quiet- instead jump & shout with them “Praise the Lord” “Glory to God” teach them what to do & what to say- not to not do and say anything, for we must be LIKE children to enter His Kingdom” Needles to say we now encourage our kids to stand up, dance & worship in Church. Our 1yr old closes her eyes & prays with her hands raised… its quite beautiful if I do say so myself… now if I could only get them to sit still at home- that would be refreshing.

    • Heather says

      It’s great you bring your kids to church so they can worship. When you get a chance I would recommend you read and pray about Galatians 5: 22-23. It talks about the fruits of the Spirit, or in other words how the Spirit manifests itself to us.

      I can’t imagine Jesus returning and running into a church with rock music, jumping up and down, fainting, and shaking. His life and ministry reflects nothing but peace and calm, and learning. Sermon on the mount was taught with the children and listeners sitting around him.

      The Spirit testifies of truth, but in a peaceful and temperate manner. Jumping, shaking, shouting, only makes it more difficult to hear and recognize those true feelings, emotions, and thoughts.

      In your home, pray personally without distraction and read the scriptures early in the morning. It will be easy to recognize the true fruits of the Spirit.

      Lastly, do you really think Jesus would worship in a place full of noise and chaos? I think his teachings, time spent with his apostles during the last supper, and time in the garden of getsemene paint a far different picture of who he is and how he worshipped.

  119. Dusty Lilly says

    It’s a good read! I knew what you meant by your kids are just like any other kid. My youngest is special needs but I’m basically doing the same with him it may take me longer but he’s working on it. He likes to talk to the preacher who is also his Poppi lol

  120. says

    I loved your post, it was really a treat to read.

    My 4 great kids are grown and now have their own children… so it’s payback time… LOL!!!

    My rambunctious First Born, wore me exhaustion. Now happy and well – he’s a good man.

    Our second son – The Golden Boy – the other kids call him. ENOUGH SAID, except that he’s new a doctor – a specialist – he’s married. Two out of their 3 boys are mild, their youngest boy – well, oh boy! My dear d-i-l and I are quite close. She finally a baby girl on the way! Yippee!

    My first daughter sat beautifully on my lap like a China Doll. People were so impressed with my parenting skills, hahaha! However, she was a total mischievous imp {often} at home!!!! She’s now a wonderful mother of two little girls. One is giving her a run for her money. {Payback!!!} She’s truly a good mom, which I tell her ALL the time.

    My last daughter sat in church {like a Tasmanian Devil}, hahaha. She’s married such a good guy, she’s also a very good nurse. {Still… I can’t wait for some payback once this one has kids!!!}

    My point is… kids do come blessed with their own personalities and traits.

    However, boy what I would have given to have had Pinterest and such a beneficial POST such as YOURS, when I was young, while raising my own kids, “back in the day”.

    I’m glad your post has gone VIRAL. It was really a good post. Good for YOU!

    Thank you,

    Sharon Anne

  121. says

    Thank you for your post. My 14 month old is starting to really struggle in church, and I find myself taking him out after just 10 minutes. Will definitely try training at home.
    The question I wanted to ask though, is how do you get your young child excited about church when they know they’ll have to sit quietly? My church is very small and my son is the only child (my husband and I are the next youngest by 25 years!). I really worry that my son won’t associate church with a place of joy and worship, just of boring, lonely discipline.
    Any suggestions?

    • Hannah M says

      My parents made sure I sat still during services, and when I started going to children’s and youth services, I didn’t feel like church was boring at all. Yes I had my phase of rebellion when I hated church, but I got over it and as a 24 year old college student I still go to church and enjoy my time there. I think it’s about what atmosphere is nurtured in the service and whether the service is age appropriate. A kid doesn’t understand adult messages until they get older, and are often better off in a specially designed kids service. If your church doesn’t have that, try suggesting it to your church leaders.

  122. says

    I never understood churches with nurseries. I don’t even like to take my children into the crying room. Our three year old is just starting to really sit well during church…but that’s usually with a coloring book and crayons or another book to look at. The baby? Well, we’ll get there…. I love the idea of practicing at home, though. It will probably help in so many other ways too. Thanks for the tips!

  123. Jennifer L. says

    I really loved this! My children are almost grown up but I reflected on the question you posed at the end of your story. The best thing I taught my children was how to clean. I mean really clean. At the age of 2 they were helping me vacuum, wash
    dishes, making beds, dusting, and laundry. I involved them with every aspect of cleaning using safe products for those little hands. Did they love it? NO! Do they love it now? NO! But the last time I was at my daughter’s house she was cleaning her kitchen and I saw her on her hands and knees with a bucket, rag and a toothbrush scrubbing something that stuck to the floor. My son’s teacher asked him where he learned to sweep floors since he was doing such a productive job and he said, “Try living with my mom and not learn to clean!” I am not a crazy cleaner, I would much rather be in my room sewing, scrapbooking or just about anything other than cleaning. I just had a mom that taught me how to clean the correct way and I have passed that down to my children.

  124. llwh says

    This is wonderful. I feel that so many people think it’s impossible to get a kid to sit still, so they never try to teach them and the child never learns how. This always bothers me, because it’s underestimating a child’s ability and selling them short. Of course they won’t learn it on their own, it’s like anything else that needs to be taught, and we just aren’t doing it. We are teaching our kids to be brats out of parental laziness, and society is accepting it as normal. Good for you, thanks for bucking the trend.

  125. says

    What a great post! Thank you for sharing this. It is HARD work to make kids sit still…but you’re absolutely right that it’s an invaluable skill that needs to be taught.

  126. newmommy3 says

    Loved this article! I am definitely going to try this. We just had out first baby (shes 2 months old now) and I see a lot of different parenting style within my family. I have a sister in law with 6 kids and they can go anywhere and you wouldn’t even know they were there. On the other hand my sister has a 7 and 5 year and she complains because she can’t take them anywhere without stressing out.

    I know you said you started this when they were a year, my question is, if they got up or started talking what did you do? Did you just remind them that its quiet time and they needed to sit still etc? I know every child is different as are parenting styles. But I am a first time mommy so any tips/ suggestions are awesome. And Reading Blogs like this make me know theres hope;)

  127. Deb says

    Best advice ever… But it shows mum had the will power to enforce the learning.
    Best thing I ever taught my kids is that music practice is part of every day life. You get up, make your bed, get dressed, PRACTICE, do your homework & eat. Then when you are all done you can read a book…. Till school starts!
    Now this is how my 3 children( aged 3, 5 &7) do this every day … Even holidays !!

  128. Lori says

    Excellent article and tips. I’m another believer in teaching children to sit still when appropriate. I have six children ranging from age 14 to 2 and I can honestly and humbly say that I can take my kids anywhere. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still kids and love to burn calories with the best of them, but when it’s expected to sit still and be quiet, they can reliably do so. Even my mom, who has little patience for rowdy kids, will brag to others about how they can be taken even to a nice “adult” restaurant without embarrassment. I don’t say this to brag, but merely to show that it can be done – even with lots of them in tow.

    Like others, I know people who haven’t taught their kids how to do this, and it’s a nightmare to go anywhere with them. One family I know has a 9-year-old boy who still can’t get through an hour meeting or meal without being told constantly to sit still and mind his manners. This is not because of any “syndrome,” but simply because of lack of parental training. In our church, there are families with children who have differing severity levels of autism, ADHD, and even Down syndrome, and most of these children have been taught to sit through a church meeting without being disruptive. Even the most rambunctious of toddlers can (and should) be taught this important life skill. It’s just up to the parents to be willing to put up with the work (i.e., fight) at home to make it happen.

  129. says

    I have the same issue at my small church, and every Sunday is an adventure, to put it nicely. I am definitely going to start training my 2 and 4 year olds this week! Thanks!

  130. jan says

    You are absolutely right. As a kid who was clinically hyper active, the biggest favor my parents did for me, was to teach me to cope in society. I know other parents who don’t do this. One parent told me that I needed to understand (after her child was very disruptive in a classroom situation) that her child had a “syndrome”. No, I replied. You need to understand that your child has to deal with the harsh reality of holding a job down, sitting through classes, and weddings and funerals and more. There, no one will give him excuses. They will treat him harshly. You are his mother. The one person who loves him more than anyone else. The kindest most loving thing you can do is to stop giving him reasons to not function in a social situation. My mother did that for me and it’s my greatest blessing now as an adult.

    • says

      I was also a kid who moved around a lot, and I completely agree that even though it might be harder for me than others doesn’t mean that I can’t or shouldn’t sit and focus on one thing. I learned that there is a time and a place for everything and that it is simply a skill to be developed! It’s brought me a lot of success in my adulthood to simply learn self mastery. My younger brother is, unfortunately, being fed excuses to that justify him in not functioning in society. His capabilities are not in question for me, but his situation has shown me that telling a child they have a ‘syndrome’ can be the very thing that handicaps them! It’s happening too much these days. Children are capable and intelligent, we can facilitate the resources they need to excel!

  131. Melissa says

    As a teacher and an aunt, I love what you’ve done. Sitting is a skill, like a lot of other things (listening, reading, writing, etc.) while a lot of people here have brought up some valid points, (there children are different – I get that) it’s still important to teach your children, who can be taught at an early age, to sit still and listen. Thank you for sharing this!

  132. Friendly Caution says

    Nice post, but I’d caution any parent to be careful with statements like, “My kids are just like other kids.” This assumes all kids are the same, and they’re not. These methods worked for your kids,and that’s terrific, but the same methods would not work on all kids. My concern is that this victory, tied to this false perception, could lead to judgmental thinking about kids who squirm or fuss in church (or anywhere). Our church doesn’t even have a nursery, and some kids settle early while others take much longer to learn. I’d hate to think that the parents of kids who sit still are judging the parenting skills of those around them. What pressure! We see enough smug parenting, and trust me, it doesn’t make a person want to face the struggle of having rambunctious kids in church, and yet this is precisely where we all need to be. When you see another with their hands full, help out and acknowledge that kids come with a myriad of challenges and gifts :)

    • says

      Thanks for the friendly caution, but this post was really all about me and my kids. This post was not written in a spirit of judgement. It’s what I did with my kids. If you or anyone else can gleam something from it, great, but it’s not toted as a DIY for parenting.

      I know there are tons of children with disabilities, but on the whole kids are kids and I’ve seen these same principles work for tons of parents and children. What I meant, and probably should of said, is my kids are average kids, much like most of your children. They weren’t born calm and quiet and knowing how to sit still. I taught them certain skills. It’s what worked for me.

      As you can see in the comments, other parents taught their children other very useful skills.

      No offense intended.

  133. Kathy says

    I wish more parents would do this. Too many churches and parents expect children to be “entertained” rather than learn this valuable lesson of sitting quietly. I teach school and it is amazing how many students cannot sit quietly for an assembly or a guest speaker. It DOES begin at home! Parents are doing a disservice to their children when they are not taught how to behave in a variety of settings. Children need to be able to sit quietly in ballet performances, movie theaters, weddings, as well as church.

  134. blessed says

    I absolutely love this! I never really “taught” my kids to sit quietly but they do. It is so nice to know you can go or do anything and your kids are going to be able to handle it! I don’t live near my family so I usually take my girls with me everywhere. So last year when I had to have a root canal my then 3 year old had to go with me! Except for one potty break she sat there for an hour and a half with no fussing or getting up and running around!

  135. Janelle says

    YEA!!!! another family that is teaching their Children to sit quietly in Church!!! we started putting our daughter in the nursery at about 7 months, she would have bad attitudes (yes even at 7 months) and scratches, among other things when we went to go get her! we choose to “pull her out” at about 8 months…. we are the only family at Church that does this! (we even have children’s church for the Jr High kids… yea WAY to old to be out of Church!) It is hard at times because we are the only family with a young child in Church! but to encourage all them that are working on this, our daughter is 22 months now and only has to be taken out once in a while!! we bring “Jesus books” and dried fruit… (cause it does not crunch like gold fish, and lasts longer. you also dont need as much water with fruit as you would with a cracker)!!! also her blanket, and her lovey…. morning church is at nap time and evening church is at bed time…. she snuggles down and will be more still (maybe eventually learn to fall asleep) listening to the Bible being taught!
    we also let her “dance” or sing when music is going, cause that is worshiping God and no one hears it… and put the offering in the plate as it goes by. she knows when pastor gets up it is time to be quite! sign language has also been VERY helpful! we plan on starting MUCH younger with sibling coming in aug and hope we dont have as much struggles as we did with our first!
    a book that was helpful to me was “Parenting in the Pew” by Robbie Castleman foreword by Ruth Bell Graham.
    Blessings to all!

  136. Practical mom says

    That life is too short to waste time sitting in church. Spend your time making a difference not being talked at.

    • campsd50 says

      Practical mom . . . you’re not very practical!! There is no better place for children to learn than in a church. Not just learning to sit still but learning about the life that God has created them for. A lot of life lessons can be learned in church. God Bless you and your children!!

      • J says

        Dear Practical Mom –
        I go to church almost every Sunday and I certainly don’t go to ‘being talked at’. I go to pray, to celebrate, to rejoice, to ask for guidance, etc. I believe the hour I spend is making a difference in my life as well as those lives that I touch throughout my day. When I fail to do this, I also use my time the next Sunday asking for forgive and the strength to do better the next time.

        As for making a difference, our children learned how to behave in public and became responsible adults. I will also let a medical miracle in my life speak for itself due to letting myself ‘being talked at’ on numerous Sundays. By the way, there is a big difference between ‘being talked at’ and opening one’s mind and heart and ‘listening’ to the message.

        Guess I will get off the soap box now.

  137. Jane says

    We taught our children this skill, but also with an instruction that they should never distract others from the lesson because it may be a very important lesson for those around them. This means they should also be quiet and keep books, papers, pencils and gestures out of sight. Teaching them early has given us a less stressful life!

  138. Stockton Momma says

    The best thing I ever taught my children was to memorize our home address and phone number as early as possible (2 years old for my daughter, later for my sons). It is surprising how many school aged children don’t know where they live or how to contact their parents.

  139. rinnie says

    We don’t do any handheld electronics in the car nor do we watch DVDs in the car. We play games, listen to books on CD, etc…..we have driven from the West Coast to the Midwest (kids were 6,8) and from Portland to San Fran (12 hours). Not only are my kids a breeze to take on 3-4 hour trips (Portland to Seattle) but they can tell you how to get to/from their home to/from any of our regular places (aunties, grandmas, school, the mall). They can amuse themselves with books, crosswords and they have amazing conversations. Also, I have been on several trips with other moms where their kids have complete meltdowns when the batteries in their electronics die and they cannot even tell you how to get their home even when you’re in their neighborhood!!!

  140. Heidi says

    The best thing I ever taught my 17 month old was to fall asleep on her own! We sleep trained around 5 months and again at 9 months(after 4 weeks of terrible teething and RSV:). It was hard work, but it pays off! I now sleep just as well as I did pre-pregnancy, deep sleep for 8 hours most nights! The second best thing I ever taught her was to say “help”. She was screaming, whining, and melting down every time she was frustrated. For example, when she couldn’t get her shoes on or get the juice out of her Popsicle and the list goes on:). Now she runs to me and says “elp”. That sounds so much sweeter than a scream.

  141. Sandra lee says

    Preach it sister! My husband and I did much the same because we like to read and one of our pet peeves while single was unruly kids in restaurants.
    I have 3 sons, 2 years apart, and we received many compliments all over the place for their being able to,be quiet

  142. Lydia says

    WOW – I needed to read this too, Of course that is exactly what my mom said she did to teach us. She did it at home, started with a 10 min and just increased it – they(we) had to sit in a little chair or on the couch till time was up! =)
    Going to start doing this. I homeschool my other 2 kids and will have my toddler to (hopefully NOT) chase this next year – if all goes well.
    Thanks again

  143. Emilee Hix says

    Hi FringeGirl! Your post could not have come to me at a better time!! I currently work part-time and my Mother-in-law watches my 19 month old son…which is a blessing…mostly lol. I am really trying to teach him to have self control and be patient and learn to not be the center of attention, but he is the only grandchild on both my side and my husbands side so he gets a lot of attention. Not to mention they let him eat on the run and if he fusses at the table he gets down within a matter of seconds. Its very frustrating, but since she does watch him for free I don’t want to be ungrateful, but I don’t want her undoing what I’m trying to do. Currently I don’t take him very many places because I have so many babysitters, but I would just love for him to learn the skill of setting in church. I actually quite going because I didn’t want him to be in the nursery and I figured why go if I’ll be “entertaining”/struggling with him the whole time and not hearing the message anyway? You mentioned reading at home, but what if they want to keep getting up? Meals are usually just him and I, how long do I make him set at the table and eat? And after church do you let them run around in the lobby after they’ve set through the sermon? I’m sorry for the long post, but I would just love to hear your advice…any examples are much appreciated and thank you for this blog!

    • says

      Emilee, Wow. Thank you for taking time to read this and comment. I’m your little guy is absolutely adorable.

      I never intended for this post to be a “how to” post or go viral on Pinterest like it has, so I’m not really qualified or fully prepared to dish out parenting advice when it comes to specifics. You know your son best and are of course, the best parenting resource you have.

      Having said that, I tried not to let my kids run around in church unless there is a specific area where children are allowed to run free. At my church, the kids could run wild in a grassy area outside and believe me, they bee-lined for that area after the last Amen.

      As far as working with them at home, I would suggest redirecting his attention back to your story, explaining very clearly that you want him to sit with you through the entire story, etc. If after a week or two of practice, this still doesn’t work, then perhaps you can enforce these boundaries more severely. For example, if you use time-out, then put him in a time-out if he refuses to sit through your book. Whatever form of discipline you use in your family should work. I would definitely start small. They don’t just suddenly start sitting for 30 minutes. Try two minutes and work up from there.

      And remember, this is teaching him a new skill. You’re not doing this to be mean, but rather to train him. It will be a blessing for the future.

      As far as dinner goes, we made the kids sit and eat for a reasonable amount of time for their age. If they finished their dinner, we’d make them sit for another two or three minutes and then let them go. Obviously as they get older, they can sit longer and wait until you and your husband are finished with your meal. When they are older, they’ll also be more conversation and that will help.

      My best advice, is just to keep working at it until you begin making progress.

      I hope that helps and I’m sorry it’s not more specific, but it’s difficult to say do these exact things for these exact minutes and you’ll get a child who sits. It really doesn’t quite work just like that.

      All the best,

    • says

      To Emilee: I am a grand parent. I also over indulge my grand children. After all this is why they are called ” GRAND. ” My daughters have talked with me openly about their goals for their children. I respect their wishes about how they wish their children to behave. I do not believe in spanking. (Sometimes Gramma and Papa) ‘might need to be spanked. LOL…If your parents, or in laws are babysitting, talk with them about your goals for your children. Grandparents as well as parents want to be proud of children. Keeping silent never accomplishes anything. It only increases your frustrations.
      Your 19 mo. old son sounds absolutely wonderful and amazing. Blessings to you as you raise this little child. I sincerely doubt that he will be able to sit still a lot at this age. It is a good time to start the techniques given in this article. Do not expect to much yet.
      Enjoy those busy times, when he is just being a toddler. He is learning about his environment. Hold him close ,and calmly on you lap when he is tired from playing. This is how I started the process with my own children. I now continue this with my precious 5 GRANDS. Good luck, God Bless,

  144. Brenda Bickford says

    Very good! One of my theme verses for child-rearing is…”Correct thy son and he shall give thee rest.” Teach & correct your child @ home and, like you said, you can go out and enjoy being in public, knowing your child will behave. I didn’t read all the other posts, so someone may have mentioned this…this may step on toes, but as a mother of 5 (age ranging from 10-21), I’ve realized that giving them books/paper to color or draw on in church is not wise. Instead, give them a Bible (Seaside Bible is nice…great REALISTIC pics) and teach them to listen and eventually, take notes, as they learn to read and write.

  145. Carrie Po says

    I couldn’t find the comment button fast enough…you’re right, you’re not a genius, but the parent we should all be! As a teacher, I would love to teach your children, as a traveler, I would love to sit next to your children, as the eating-out type, I would love to sit at the table next to your children! Parents are unknowingly teaching their children just the opposite of what you have described. We don’t need more ADHD medicine than we did 20 years ago, we need parents that still believe and are willing to make the effort to teach their children to sit quietly w/o being the center of attention which unfortunately, if not corrected, leads to little entitled students which are very difficult to keep motivated and engaged at school. My children are 8 & 10…it’s not too late for me, them, or anyone else reading this; I’m starting tomorrow! BTW…you ARE a genius, thanks for sharing:)

    • Jule Dragstrem says

      I agree, to an extent… I have a developmentally disabled son. He has aphasia, meaning he has taken 8 years to learn a handful of words. He is very stubborn and refuses to use the sign language that he knows. Now, I have two other kids that were a breeze. We are trying to teach this one to be quiet in church and other places. Even though he is 8 years old physically, he is 2-3 years old mentally. He screams when you tell him no. Any ideas on working with him?

      • says

        Jule, so sorry, but I have no experience working with developmentally disabled children. I’m sure any advice I have to offer probably wouldn’t be adequate or applicable. I wish you and your family all the best.

      • Chelsey says

        Jule- I also have no experience with developmentally disabled children, but I loved reading your comment. The fact that you are trying means a LOT. I have family with children who aren’t disabled in any way that give in to their children constantly. We actually termed this family member “the arm chair discipliner”… which just means they never get out of the chair and take care of their children. Rather, there’s lots of screaming and never any follow through with discipline. So to round back, you are trying and that’s better than nothing! Good luck and God bless!

  146. says

    Great Job!! There are so many parents out there that seem to think that church/ceremonies/meetings for little ones is just another place to play. If the parents aren’t taking it serious, why should the kids? I applaud you!

  147. Maggie says

    This is awesome! Our kiddo turns two next month and we are trying to decide if we want to keep him in the service with us or let him go to the children’s church. Your adivce and success has given me hope and confidence that he can learn to sit with us and behave. Thanks so much!

  148. Mandy says

    I love this! I am also a little confused. My 19 month old daughter loves books and will sit in my lap indefinitely if I keep the books coming, or if I put a movie on she will sit with me for awhile. So that is no test! If we go anywhere else, even the grocery store, she is so excited by the new place and people and wants to walk around so much. What else can I do to practice at home?

      • Ellen says

        I very much appreciate your article! However, my son is exactly like Mandy described her daughter. He loves to sit with me and read or watch a video and has no problem sitting through meals. Anywhere away from home is the complete opposite as he gets VERY excited. Could you possibly forward or post the information in your email to Many? Thanks!

        • says

          Ellen, I guess my answer depends a lot on your son’s age. If he is young, you probably just need to start practicing in a public setting. If you go to church, maybe start having him sit through the first half of the service (worship, announcements, etc.). You can practice at the library if that’s a busier place with more activity going on around him.

          If he’s older and can sit everywhere else, then maybe it’s a bit of a discipline problem. I don’t know your son, so it’s hard for me to pass judgment.

          Sorry I don’t have a more specific answer.

        • D says

          If you divide your service into sections, you can require that they sit still for the first sections and then add sections as your child’s ability to sit quietly grows. You can also do the same thing with distractions (or helps!). For example, sit through the first section, then get a small snack, get some paper and a pencil after 3rd section (or whatever works for you and your family. That way, the child learns that listening is important too, not just sitting still.

  149. Marcy says

    This is awesome! It gives me hope. My husband is currently deployed and sitting in church, going out to eat, and, doctor’s visits are often a struggle for myself and my 15 month old. I am going to take this advice and use it! Thank you so much

  150. says

    Yesssss! We did the same thing with our now-22 year old daughter, with the same result – her dad’s a pastor, and he used to take her on visitation with him without any problems; as she got into elementary school age, she began to help keep other kids in the homes busy so the grownups could talk. So worth the effort of training at a young age!

  151. says

    I loved this blog entry…I am having trouble keeping my little guy still and quiet in church and it’s a good idea to practice at home before! Thanks for the idea!

  152. beth says

    My best advice for getting your children not to just sit still in church, but to engage, is to give them a sheet of paper and pencil right before the sermon with 2 (or more as they get older) sight words–“Jesus,” “Bible,” etc.–to listen for, with a space under each one for the child to mark each time the pastor says the word. If you see that the sermon is going to be on Jesus feeding the 5000, for example, the words could be “Jesus,” “fish,” loaves.” At the end of the sermon, they love tallying up how many times each word was spoken….and they’ve listened to the sermon! I’ll never forget the look on my pastor’s face when my 6 year old marched up to him and said, “Brother Perry, did you know that you said Jesus’ name 35 times?”!!

    • Ashley W says

      This is such a good idea! I have a 16 month old who is on the go all the time! I’m going to have to remember this!!

  153. Marta says

    The best thing we ever taught our kids is how to sleep anywhere and everywhere. From the time they were infants we’ve been putting them to bed everywhere we go. It’s made life so much easier. If we’re going to a kid-friendly social event that’s likely to last til late at night, my kids will sleep on a pallet on the floor in a back room, no problem. It’s made camping and vacations a breeze; in a tent, in a hotel room, at grandparents’ houses- they go to sleep and stay asleep. And rested kids are better behaved kids. Best thing we’ve done.

    • Steph says

      How do you do this?? I am about to have #2 and although my 17month old son sleeps through the night, he will only sleep in his cot. So I would love to be able to teach the new but to sleep anywhere. Any advice?

  154. says

    I have been teaching my two children (daughter, 5 and son, 2) manners and gratitude. All I do is use kind, simple prompts and ask them to focus on me and what they are asking for. Also, how they are asking, what kind of voice are they using? It’s not until the child settles and is focused on the question and then the answer can we move on. Both children say please and thank you without a second thought and they get so many compliments wherever we go. We use all interactions as lessons in being polite and showing gratitude. My son is catching on so well that says please and thank you even while half-asleep. I love how we get so many compliments but it’s hard to see how surprised some people are. When I was growing up, manners were so important, to my grandmother especially and I realize now that they are just as important for me. Maybe not in the same way though, for her it was fear-based, I think. I don’t think she wanted anyone to think poorly of me for the situation I was born into so she and my amazing mother raised me well. For me, they’re important because relationships with other people are important. It is important to speak kindly to one another and show respect for the simple fact that a person is human. There is no difference so great as to overcome the fact that we are all, every single person, human. We are all having a human experience and it’s important that we care for and are kind to one another. That’s why I teach my children their manners and the reasons behind them, so I can leave the planet better than when I arrived.

  155. says

    One of the most memorable things I taught my kids when they were young is to not interrupt while I’m talking to an adult or I’m on the phone. They learned to use good judgment in deciding if something was urgent enough to get my attention; and when that was necessary, they would quietly walk up to me and put a hand on my arm. This was the signal that they really needed me. In this way, they knew I trusted them and would give 100% attention if they needed me. None of that “mom, mom, momma, mom, mommy…”

    • Brittany says

      I’m in desperate need of this particular lesson for my 3 year old son. He has absolutely no patience and will keep repeating my name (most of the time screaming it) until I finally come to him. I’ve tried ignoring, spanking, time-outs, counting etc. with no success. I’d be very grateful to hear how you were able to accomplish this one act :-)

      PS: I like the signal that you taught them … much easier to deal with plus you’ll always know they need something

      • says

        Brittany, I know you’re counting on someone else answering your question, but I’m not sure she’ll ever get back to see your comment.

        I worked on this with my kids too. It’s never simple and it never happens with just one act. It takes you repeating the act over and over and over and over…well, you get the point. They say repetition is the key to learning.

        It took my kids a long time to learn to sit and I’m sure it took the other commenter’s children a long time to learn to quietly interrupt with a touch to the arm. Teaching is a process. Sometimes they’ll remember and other times they won’t. Don’t sweat it, just keep teaching. They get better by doing. Be sure to praise them abundantly when they do get it. And, most importantly don’t give up. :-)

        All the best,

      • says

        Practicing with a friend (frequently) is great so that you’re not teaching this skill “in the moment”. Also, being consistent is key. If my children know that I will definitely respond when they need me, then repeated requests aren’t necessary.

        • Justme says

          So correct teach with a friend or with your spouse. That way they learn to do it for both parents and you have the support of the other parent to help teach. But once you teach the skill make sure you tell other people who watch your children the signal. I have heard teachers tell stories of children who learned so well that they used it all the time and the teacher never recognized it. Good luck! And never give up! YOU are your child’s first and best teacher!

  156. says

    Amen, and amen! Great post. We don’t send our kids to wee worship because it’s important to my husband and myself that we worship together as a family. I take a “church bag” with children’s books, coloring books and crayons, and small, quiet toys. These help keep our kids occupied during the sermon without distracting people around us. The key is not taking a fusser to the nursery to play. I took mine to an empty classroom, and they had to sit quietly on my lap with nothing to do — it didn’t take them long to realize they’d rather be in worship. And another thing — those of us who teach preschool Sunday school classes can tell which kids have been taught to sit still to listen to a story and which haven’t!

  157. mrs sdh says

    God Bless you for taking the time to teach your children to behave! I see so many mothers and dads who totally ignore their kids but not the cell phone in their hand. Just exactly WHAT would it take to get the parents attention? Talk to your kids, share your time with them, and make them your priority, trust me those beautiful children are so much more important than all the social media in the world.

  158. Churchgoingmom says

    I taught my son much the same way. I actually REFUSED to take him to the nursery at church once he got older because other moms allowed their children to play rather than sit still. I wanted him to sit and it was terribly hard to do so with so many running around. so we would sit in the auditorium, get up when he got rowdy, get him under control in the hallway, and back to the auditorium we would go. there were some days Iwas up 7-8 times, but after much work he now sits and takes notes. my greatest pleasure was a Mom at the store telling her older kids, “look how that little boy is behaving and how he says yes ma’am. if he can do it so can you..”

  159. Gina says

    Did you allow them toys at events like you practiced with? Like books, coloring etc. or did they just sit the whole time quietly?

    • says

      Gina, I didn’t allow them toys at church, because I wanted to teach them to listen. That’s just my own personal opinion. I did allow them to bring books and quiet “toys” to places like doctor’s offices.

      Hope that answers your question. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!

  160. JK Wray says

    Your blog was shared to my FB page, and I was intrigued by the series about no fuss parenting – teaching children to sit still. I haven’t read all four articles, but I just had to tell you what you already know – quiet, well behaved children are the best! Since it’s been about 100 years, I don’t know exactly how I did it, but I also taught my four to sit still and be quiet. We all got much more out of the lessons at church. Now I will read the other three articles…

  161. says

    Thank you FringeGirl for teaching GOOD SOCIAL SKILLS! We taught ours not to run inside. Our church has a gym (“multi-purpose”)where we eat our meals and have lots of activities… and they never ran unless its purpose at the time was GYM!

  162. Ashley Kelly says

    How old were they when you started this? I have a 6 month old little boy and it’s almost impossible to sit through church or even dinner! Thank you for sharing!

  163. says

    I don’t have kids yet, but I am so glad to hear that this can be done. There’s been such a hullaballoo lately about taking young children on planes — it’s nice to know that they can be taught to sit still at such a young age!

  164. says

    Amen! it is possible! I think I must have had it easier than some–but I only had two to train. And we don’t have a church nursery. It is a given that kids sit through the service with their families. Or they go out to the back with a parent.

    If they don’t learn little to sit in church, how can you expect them to stay in when they get big?

  165. says

    Love the idea that you’re calling it a teachable skill! And it IS such a blessing to others as well.
    It always irritates me when parents excuse their children’s behavior with the “Oh, he/she just can never stay still.” And then I feel guilty, because maybe just cause mine could, I had it easy? You’re right — I did teach them that skill! They always got an A+ in restaurant… :-)

  166. says

    My older three are so good with this. My 2 year old, however. Well, let’s just say we left church after 10 minutes of him yelling “Help!” from our spot in the back pew. Great post!

  167. says

    Sometimes I think teaching our kids, like you said isn’t kid torture, but parent torture. We are the ones who get the dirty looks and condescending remarks when our kid misbehaves, we are the ones being judged for our parenting skills or lack thereof.

    I get so frustrated sometimes repeating myself that I think I am going stark raving mad one of these days I may start rocking back and forth and speaking in a voice like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man, “Your shirt is not a napkin, not a napkin, not a napkin . . . “

  168. says

    This is really cool and actually the very most important thing. Not intentionally (forgive my bad English), they were taught to behave, to be patient, and respect a condition. Wish i could do it to my kids also. At this time, my baby boy still on the highest stage of “roll over” 😀 he is very good at that.. :)

  169. says

    I have never thought about this before but I think you’re right. I have read to my kids since they were tiny and they’ve always been able to sit still (except for my daughter at dinner right now…I swear she’s a bird). But they go with me to doctor’s appointments and they just sit with a book.

  170. Natasha says

    I often have to walk out of the service with my super energetic 11 month old. This is one important lesson I take from you today, hold him the entire time we are in the hallway. Thank you :)

  171. Melissa says

    Love this! We do the same thing here and you are so right about it taking practice and time but it’s so worth it. We don’t have any family to help out either and my kids come everywhere with me too. The reward for the hard work is when people come up to you in the Dr. office or restaurant to compliment you and what well-behaved kids you have. That alone makes the hard work worth it! :)

    • NanaJill says

      Melissa, I agree! We had 6 children and could take them absolutely anywhere and not worry. One time, I had all 6 of my children plus one cousin in a restaurant (and I was the only adult). All the children were 10 years old down to 2 years old. They did such a great job of sitting and being polite and quiet. I was even impressed! The older gentleman sitting in the booth next to us complimented us and said that it gave him hope in the next generation that the children were so well behaved. He was so impressed that he anonymously paid for our entire meal – all of us!. What a sweet man!!

      • Melisaa says

        That’s amazing! We are expecting #7 and our oldest is 9. I think people for the most part cringe when they first see us enter a restaurant or Dr office but end up pleasantly surprised when they see we’ve trained them to sit! Though we’ve yet to have anyone pay our meal! :)

  172. says

    I think you made a great point here, about practice, practice, practice. And patience. Boatloads of patience!!! We have NOT nailed this lesson around here. However, we’ve done a pretty great job of teaching them to “look to the interests of others.” Often, my son is the first one to praise someone for a job well done, or ask if someone is okay if hurt.

    • says

      Missy, YES. Boatloads of patience, just like you said. It’s a learning process, just like anything else in life.

      I love that your son is so sweet! My daughter is an encourager too. I missed her so much last week, because she is my biggest cheerleader. :-)


        • Stephanie says

          From the time our girls could sit up we have started working with them on sitting quietly. I certainly have a long way to go still (ages 1 and 3 now) but it’s never too early! We have family worship every morning and evening, and they are expected to sit quietly during worship. They can sit quietly on my lap while I play piano or type on my computer. We also do “blanket time” that we learned from the Duggars book – they sit quietly, with just one toy, on a blanket until a timer goes off. We started with just 2 or 3 minutes and work up to half hour or so. Anything that helps them learn self-control is critical for their success later. At 11 months, your child is absolutely able to be learning to be quiet and still! Oh, a friend of mine helped her child learn to sit in church by using a bumbo – every day she would sit her LO in his bumbo beside her on the couch while she read to him or while they listened to a sermon together. Then, she would take the bumbo to church, sit it on the pew beside her, and her LO would know it was time to sit and be quiet. Brilliant.

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