Taking Young Children to Catholic Mass

Taking Young Children to Catholic Mass

Taking Young Children to Catholic Mass

Many years ago when Jacob was just a baby, we would occasionally go to daily mass.  I remember one particular morning Jacob was a little fussy.  After mass an older lady came up to us to say good morning.  We chatted for a bit and I apologized for Jacob being noisy at mass.  She remarked “Don’t worry about that one bit, you are right where you are supposed to be“.

Those encouraging words have stayed with me ever since.

Catholic Mass with Little Children

It’s no small task to get young children up, fed, dressed and out the door for mass on Sunday morning.  Then begins the wrestling match and shushing fest. They are squirmy, loud, demanding, and sometimes just downright embarrassing. It’s hard to pay attention, let alone to feel anything spiritual. Some weeks it hardly seems worthwhile.

You are right where you are supposed to be.

Even now our kids are 12, 10, 9, 9, 8 & 6 and we still go to mass with a seating chart.  Some children bug certain siblings more than others, some kids goof off more than others and need to be within arms reach. My kids are far from perfect at mass, but it does get easier.

Some families trade off masses so that the little ones can stay home, i.e. one person goes to the 8:00am service with no kids/big kids and then spouse goes to the 10:00am service. This is something that we never chose to do.  Of course if someone is sick that’s a completely different story.

My husband in particular was always very adamant that we attend mass as a family. It helps to set the tone for going to mass every weekend. It’s what our family does, we attend mass together each weekend. On vacation, when we are tired, when we have a busy weekend, we go to mass. I believe the only way kids are going to learn to be better behaved at mass is to go to mass.  Attending infrequently makes it easier to forget proper behavior.

Daily Mass is Good Practice

Daily mass is a good place to “practice” attending mass.  The mass is usually much shorter than a weekend mass.  Often after mass there is time to wander around the church just a bit to look at and talk about the different statues and Stations of the Cross.  Our parishes are usually rich with history and tradition, a great homeschooling religion class on the fly.

Don’t be discouraged by the occasional stink eye in church. Some parents were blessed with perfectly behaved children – the rest of us were not!  For some reason God didn’t call me to parent perfectly behaved children, God called me to parent the children that I have.  I’m quite positive that God would rather have my children misbehaving a bit at mass rather than sitting perfectly behaved at home.

Remember, mass is where you need to be!

Moms of older children, let’s remember  to extend grace to those frazzled young moms with young children.  Be an encouragement and let them know they are right where they need to be.  It does get easier to get out the door, there are less bathroom emergencies, and children do start to sit still. I can’t guarantee they will pay attention the whole time {my mind still wanders!}, but they do sit relatively still.  A little, okay, A LOT, of work in the beginning will reap benefits later on down the road.

Tips for Taking Young Children to Mass