3yo in mass--help!

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-26-2009
3yo in mass--help!
6
Thu, 02-26-2009 - 10:05pm
Hi everybody! This is my first time here. I completed RCIA last year and am so happy to be part of the Church. My son who is normally pretty well behaved in all other situations is having a really rough time in Mass. We practice sitting still and quiet at home, we've talked about the meaning of the Mass and its importance to our family, and yet he becomes really disruptive. We've tried sitting up front to be more involved--so he can see what's happening, too. I'm so embarrassed and have tried rewards, various punishments and nothing seems to work for us! He doesn't show any signs of any physical or learning problems and truly does seem to understand what kind of behavior is expected of him even says he's looks forward to Sundays, and still just gets out of hand in Mass. We don't really have any other problems with discipline, but I just can't figure this one out!!! Please give me any suggestions you can think of!! Thank you!!!
mcmcj
mcmcj
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2006
In reply to: mcmcj
Thu, 02-26-2009 - 10:39pm

Hi!! Welcome to the board!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-11-2007
In reply to: mcmcj
Fri, 02-27-2009 - 1:09am
You are not the first, nor will you be the last, with this concern. It has been asked several times here.
Let me keep my post simple. I went in search of previous posts about kids at mass. I found a LONG answer I posted ages ago, and it still is the same answer I'd give now. The particular response I gave in this instance was to a person asking how to handle taking her younger son out if he misbehaved, but worried about her older son finding her when he came back from the children's liturgy of the word. So the end of my post was specific to her particular situation.
http://messageboards.ivillage.com/iv-pscatholic/?msg=6389.1 is the original post.
http://messageboards.ivillage.com/iv-pscatholic/?msg=6389.10 is my response to her.
~Trish

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
--old Irish blessing

Irish siggy courtesy beaches59

Photobucket
~Trish

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
In reply to: mcmcj
Fri, 02-27-2009 - 7:50am

Congratulations on your RCIA.


It's a long hour for kids that age and younger so I think it's normal for him to fidget.

 


 


Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
In reply to: mcmcj
Fri, 02-27-2009 - 9:56am

Maybe you have to adjust your expectations of what's appropriate behavior for a 3yo during mass. Sitting in a place where there is no literal wiggle room - the pew - would be enough to make any child fidgety. Expecting them to sit for an hour when there is nothing going on that he can understand and little he can really engage with is just not realistic.

When my kids were little, I brought books with me. NOT religious books, because those pictures are just not that interesting to small children! I brought along the books that would hold their attention the longest, and I'd take them out one by one, as their interest waned. I would let them bring one non-noisy toy, but no cars or anything that would make a loud noise when they dropped it. On rare occasions I'd bring coloring supplies. I did not bring food because it really creates a mess, and they can live without eating for an hour (plus I'm not a fan of distracting or comforting kids with food). The exception was with a couple of the kids who would get SO upset that they didn't "get" anything at communion, so I'd bring along 4 crackers that they could have after communion!

And don't forget the power of positive reinforcement. My DH, who has a degree in psychology and used to work with children, set up a system for our oldest, who simply would not behave in church when she was 4yo. Together with her we made up a list of 4 things she had to do in church and 4 things she could not do in church. We made up colored "tickets," and before we went to mass, I'd take one ticket and put it in my purse. She knew that if she did the 4 things she was supposed to do and didn't do the 4 things she wasn't supposed to do, then she'd get the ticket. She could turn in her ticket to me at the bakery for a treat after mass. When she'd accumulated 3 tickets for good behavior, we would go to McDonald's. I was suspicious of the whole scheme at first and told my DH, "But I want her to behave because I said so!" He said, "Well that's not really working, is it?" LOL! He assured me that in a couple of months the whole ticket business would be irrelevant and we would have achieved the desired behavior. And he was absolutely right. She started behaving better immediately, and people used to comment on what well-behaved children we had at mass.

Kelly

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-14-2006
In reply to: mcmcj
Sat, 02-28-2009 - 4:24am

Keep doing what you are doing.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-11-2007
In reply to: mcmcj
Sat, 02-28-2009 - 9:41am
I absolutely agree. When my dd6 was a baby I couldn't leave church with her if she got fussy, because I still had two older boys ready for a fight anytime in the pew, and my husband wasn't at Mass with me. I started stepping to the back of the church where dd could be bounced and rocked in the sling, and I could still see the boys. I noticed that after I started doing that, other parents simply stepped to the side or back of the church as well, and didn't leave the sanctuary. At that particular parish, the cry room was full of adults chattering about what they were doing for lunch after church, not paying one lick of attention to the Mass. By not leaving the sanctuary, I think I ended up teaching my dd that church was not the place to pitch fits to get away from the environment. I haven't had too many problems with her like I had with the boys who weren't brought home from the hospital going to church with me.
~Trish

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
--old Irish blessing

Irish siggy courtesy beaches59

Photobucket
~Trish

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your