Let me preface by saying my kids are good at church.
He's 6 - that's still young.
I have to admit that I will actually *use* the # of songs left to pacify my 2 yo DS.
Ann, married to my best friend since June 5, 1999
Happy Mom to 4 boys: Phillip (9/00), Kevin (5/02), Matthew (10/03) and Jonathan (7/06). And 1 Girl
My DS did the same thing, and after he got a sense of what happened *between* the songs, it actually cut back on the question of "how much longer?"
After that, he went through a phase of looking ahead at all the songs we were going to sing. He's 8 now, and he does just fine in church (most of the time!), if you measure it by "how much does he disturb other people." If you measure it by "how much does he care about what's going on," the answer is probably not much, but I can only do so much.
My son is almost 8 now, but he used to do this too. It took us a while, but we finally figured out that the best way to get him to stop asking was to divert his attention. Each week we would find something new for him to count. One week, we asked him to count how many times we kneel|stand|sit. Another week it was how many "Amen"s are said during the mass. Then we asked him to count how many readings there are in a mass. The next week we would review and start asking him if he listened to the stories (readings) and could maybe remember someone's name from the story.
Point is, keep encouraging him to pay attention. Maybe give him a notebook where he can tally everything he is counting. This is a great way for him to start listening to the mass, not just attending it. I think it is wonderful when kids are interested, and those sitting around you watching and listening to him should agree.
Jeanne, I spent most of my childhood counting songs. My kids do it too. I wouldn't worry about it. If the asking disturbs those around you, just give him a hand signal before every song before he has a chance to ask.
At Easter, I have the kids count the alleluias. It makes them listen closely -- though they usually lose track around 25 or so.
Recently, I've started car quizzes -- a quarter or so for every right answer to questions I ask about the readings, songs, etc. Since I've started doing this, I've been surprised at how much they do pick up when I think they're not paying attention. Funny thing is, I never pay out, and they don't seem to care!
It is amazing how much they're listening to when you think they're not, right? Two of my three kids are masters of the "blank face" where you think nothing is getting through. But yesterday on the way home from church, 8yo DS announced that he is giving up his video games for Lent because they are his favorite thing. So even though he was being silly as usual during the homily, he obviously was listening to our pastor speak!
Awwww....and I'm so proud of Kelly's 8 yr old ds - because he's also my dh and I's godson!!!!
I actually think that's a great way to keep him occupied and at least semi-focused on one thing that is going on---the music!! My girls are 5, and they pay absolutely no attention whatsoever, with the exception of the fact that we have them kneel down and say "Hi" to Jesus when we first get there, kneeling at the Consecration and genuflecting to Jesus in the Tabernacle at the end. Usually they are busy drawing (Yes, we let them), looking through picture books or emptying my husband's jacket pockets (Tessa this past Sunday, LOL). I am just happy they are no longer disruptive.
I do make all my kids kneel down for the Consecration. I've told them this is the holiest part of the Mass, and they need to listen to the priest at the altar, open their hearts to the Holy Spirit, and pay attention. This has also caused my girls to whisper "When can we sit up again?" sometimes too, LOL.
I will begin having them focus more and more as they get older. Justin is in second grade now, and preparing for his First Communion, so I make him focus more. It's still a battle! Let's face it---most of the Mass is over the kids' heads as far as the prayers, reading and homily is concerned.
Paying attention takes a while, focusing takes even more discipline, and understanding takes a lifetime :)