Kid’s and Parents – A reminder that Sunday January 27th, 2013 is a Festival Sunday. It’s the season of Epiphany which means we are celebrating that Jesus did not come only for a small group of people, or to one nation, but to all people in their own place, in their own language, in their own culture. (more info here).
Festival Sunday means that our worship is truly intergenerational with even our youngest members present. There is no Kid’s Church or youth group on a Festival Sunday. To accommodate shorter attention spans and needs we provide activities and a special focus for kids part way through the service to help them through the more grown-up focused sermon time. Kids are also invited to the altar for a closer view as we pray the prayers of thanksgiving around the Eucharist. There are also often chances for youth and kids to be involved in the leadership of the service. Please speak to a priest if you think your child would appreciate doing this!
Upcoming Festival Sundays:
Here are some tips for celebrating in community with young kids:
-A quiet snack – goldfish, gummies, granola bars, dried fruit.
-Quiet toys and simple activities
-Talk to the child about your expectations of behavior before the service begins
-Check if the child needs the washroom or a drink before the service
-Overlook small annoyances.
-Avoid allowing the child to become overly excited before the service
-Be gentle with your child, letting yourself be more flexible than at other times.
-Be a good example – listen, sit quietly, etc. Model how you would like them to behave.
-Actively guide child through service – eg. Help them find the right hymn, explain to them what is going on.
-Allow them to give an offering in the plate
-Have the child find specific words in the BAS or BCP, or other book in the pew
-Praise success and encourage more of it. Catch them when they are doing a good job and tell them.
-Make the service a special event by bringing a special toy (quiet) or stuffed animal along. Pull the toy out part way through the service (or during the sermon) to extent their attention.
-find ways to express your love for the child throughout the service in small hugs, words and actions.
-Be reassured that in the long-term your actions and conversations will leave a big impact!
-And please, if your child does make noise during the service, remember that it is good for the older parishioners to be reminded that we all need a child-like faith (!). We’re okay with child-like noises, but if you do feel you need to go into another room, feel free to move about as you need
-We’re also okay if kids keep their hands or minds busy with a tactile activity or book. By simply being present for the liturgy it is amazing what they will pick up as they do it Sunday by Sunday. Process with them what they do pick up along the way.
A brief service outline:
We gather (the opening greeting calls us in to meet with God the Trinity)
We listen to God in Scripture (readings and sermon. We say the creed, pray, and confess, to respond)
God invites us to share in a meal with him (Eucharist)
God invites us to share in his work in the rest of the week (blessing and dismissal)
What are your favorite parts? Share this with your kids. Let them know if you were particularly aware of God at one moment or another.