Through the months of November and December Rock Creek Bible Church has paused Children's Church, so all of the children who would normally leave during the sermon are instead learning how adult church looks and feels. This likely means many more shhhhhh!!! sounds from parents and a lot more direction during a normally peaceful time of engaged learning.
This is a learning time for kids and parents! Here are a few ways parents can engage their little ones in the sermon that will allow the adults to still learn while the little ones are soaking up important messaging, too.
1) Make Sure They Have a Bible, and Use It
An age-appropriate Bible makes a big difference. When a child who doesn't read can see pictures that are telling a story, they will want to listen more. When an older child is learning how to navigate the books, chapters, and verses, their ears will be more likely to be open. And engagement means they are also soaking up the Word of God! Help your kids find each scripture and use a finger to help them follow along. If they don't read yet, still use your finger and whisper the words in their ear.
2) Start Them Early With Sermon Notes
Teaching our kiddos to listen at the appropriate time will serve them well through the years. It's a valuable lesson for life, and it gives them one more opportunity to learn more from the Word. A great idea for teaching kids to listen is encouraging them to take notes. For Pre-K kiddos give them paper and crayons and help them listen for words that they can draw. Early elementary kids can take "tally notes" where you give them a list of words to listen for and they keep track of the number of times those words are mentioned throughout the sermon. Maybe even create a short fill in the blank with the day's scripture.
3) Pack Age-Appropriate Activities
Not every kid reads, but most of them are capable of staying quiet and still with the right tools at hand. Bible-themed coloring books allow children to keep their minds on topic, and you can relay sermon messages that might cross over with the pictures they are coloring. Is your child into legos? Bring a small assortment in a bag and have them build a cross, a manger, a staff, the temple, or any other item that crosses over with the message of the day.
4) Talk About it Later
We all know how easy it is to walk out of a classroom or a lecture hall and forget the information we just heard. But if we sit down and think about it shortly after it's more easily stored in our brains. Kids are the same way! Use the drive home to talk about what they heard. Ask questions about what they didn't understand and find ways to make kid-friendly applications from the message. You'll be surprised at what they learned.