The Lenten season has begun and because I am Catholic, it is this time every year that I renew my faith and commitment to the Catholic church. This past year (I will admit to the world) that I have set a really bad example by skipping church over and over again. Mostly out of fear that my two children wouldn't sit through the whole mass.

We went a few times when Mini was a tiny baby and Poops was just under 2. We tried sitting in the "cry" room, which (as the name implies) is the place where children and parents go when there is crying (usually by the child). But it's become a place where parents bring their children to run around and play (no judging here) and then my child wants to play and can't understand why I don't let him, and then we spend the whole time sweating and having to leave the cry room to go outside because he won't sit still even in the cry room. And we can't hear the mass anyway over the noise in the cry room. (But I'm not judging, especially because it's Lent.)

In fact, I've been so far away from church lately that I really only knew it was Lent because the fish sandwich commercials were popping up on tv.

And that's really bad.

So that's my Lentil this year. (By the way, my family makes up terms. Lentil is what my family calls the sacrifice that we choose to make during Lent). The kids are at an age (almost 3 and 14 months) where I think that the two of them sitting still for 45 minutes is even remotely possible, so for Lent, instead of giving something up, I will return to church. And with the children. I had better let my husband in on this because he's more scared of going to church with the kids than I am. So I was wondering, to the churchgoing families out there, how do you get the children to sit through mass? Is there bribery involved? Candy? Toys? Because when I grew up and went to church, the threats of violence were enough to keep me quiet. I really don't know how she (she, being my mom) did it, because my sister and I were both really good in church (and she reminded me of that recently which made me think that she thinks I'm doing something wrong here.)

Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
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  1. We always brought crayons and paper, quiet toys (cars make a lot of noise when the roll them on the pew), books and the biggest thing of all....snacks. I kept them quiet by having them eat. But don't forget the drink. If you do, you'll here "I'm thirsty, I'm thirsty" at 10,000 decibels during the consecration. Not that I'd know anything about that of course ;)

  2. Best wishes! I've struggled sometimes, and other times have gone really well, and I'm not sure what the difference was... Something new like stickers, or finger puppets, or a board book. And ignore any dirty glances! I really don't get many, just lots of smiles.

  3. The suggestion of crayons & paper is a great one - but taking it a little further... I used to sit in church with my grandparents when I visited them. It was fun, because my grandmother always had tic tacs, the one and only 1 calorie breathe mint... :)

    BUT - my grandmother would always have me draw what the pastor was talking about. So, if I heard "shepherd" during the sermon - I might start to draw a shepherd and some sheep and so on. I would do it right in MY OWN copy of the bulletin, which helped me learn to read and I could follow along. And, I loved singing so I would look in the bulletin to find the next time I got to stand up and sing. YAY!

    I realize that at 3 this may seem impossible... but I don't remember a time when I was little NOT going to church or at least Sunday School! Plus - your 14 mo old is probably at a stage where he does things his older brother does... soooo... he may follow suit!

    Good Luck!!

  4. We go every other week for sanity sake. There's an option to go either Sunday morning or Saturday evening and we sometimes go to the Saturday masses because they're shorter. We bring books for Elliot to look at or a few cars for him to push around. If it gets to be too much then we go out the back of the church so he can run up and down for a little while and then go back in for communion. Good luck to you.


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