Samantha Stephenson reminds readers of what’s important when bringing kids to Mass. Download and print this checklist!
Teach your child, both at home and during the Mass.
- Read books about the Mass (you'll find some great suggestions at Carrots for Michelmas).
- Whisper quietly to discuss what you see, hear, and smell. Children love ritual and the more they can understand and participate in what you are doing, the more joyfully they will approach the Mass.
Involve kids in the Mass.
- Allow them to put the offering in and pass the basket. Even if your family gives by mail or online, bring a coin or dollar for them to put in the basket each week.
- Encourage them to shake hands during the kiss of peace.
- Light a candle and say a prayer after Mass.
Set them up for success.
- Meet their needs before Mass. Kids whose needs are met are better prepared to pray and learn.
- Exercise prudence when choosing Mass times. Nap time is cranky time.
- Make sure kids arrive well-rested and well-fed.
- Get good seats.
- Sit close to the front so they can see.
- Sit close to an exit so you can make a quick escape if necessary.
- For potty-training and diaper-changing, sit close to the bathrooms.
Choose when not to come to Mass.
- Kids who are tired, sick, or especially cranky for any other reason might have a legitimate need to sit this one out.
- No snacks.
- No noisy toys.
- For the love of God (really), no phones.
Bring the right kinds of toys.
- Look for quiet books, felt boards, flap books. Etsy has some great ones!
- Give kids a “Mass backpack” to be used only at Mass.
- Rotate the toys and books each week. Toys they see only once a month are more special and interesting and will hold their attention longer.
Practice monkey-see, monkey-do.
- Practice prayer at home and at Church. Kids learn more watching what we do than listening to what we say.
- Remember that when your kids are with you, they are there to learn how to behave during Mass.
When all of the above fails, remember Who is really in control.
God gave you these children, and, in bringing them to Him, you are already doing exactly what He has asked of you. The eternal value of coming before their Maker is something that can never be canceled out —not by all the squirming in the world.
As a bonus, Jesus did say that whoever becomes as humble as a child is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven. Thank your little saint-makers. You might be bringing them to Jesus, but, then again, they are doing the same for you.
Copyright 2023 Samantha Stevenson
Images: copyright 2018, 2023 Holy Cross Family Ministries, all rights reserved
About the Author
Samantha Stephenson is a Catholic wife and homeschooling mama of four, host of the podcasts “Brave New Us” and “Mama Prays,” and author of Reclaiming Motherhood from a Culture Gone Mad. Follow her blog at MamaPrays.com or sign up for her newsletter at FaithandBioethics.com to receive the latest updates on medical research, technology, and culture.