“Children learn through observation, but they learn best through participation. We take them to church so that being part of a church family and gathering regularly to worship God in community with others becomes part of the fabric of their lives” (Karen DeBoer, Home Grown Handbook for Christian Parenting, Faith Alive, page187). Here are five ways to help kids worship. (See attachment for a printable version.)
1. Be positive
Instead of saying, “We have to go to church” say “We get to go to worship.” Teach your kids that worship isn’t just a place we go, it’s something we do with God’s family, and when we’re not there, God’s family isn’t complete.
2. Take along worship tools
Bring along tools that will involve your children in worship rather than simply keep them busy. Some ideas: a children’s storybook Bible, a small notebook and colored pencil for drawing/writing questions, impressions, and prayers.
3. Let kids choose the seats
Parents with young children often sit toward the back of the worship space so they won’t be embarrassed by their children’s behavior and can exit easily. But often children prefer the front because they can see, hear, and participate better.
4. Be a “church whisperer”
Help kids stay engaged during worship by asking questions and making observations. During a song, whisper, “My favorite verse of this song is the third one. Which part do you like the best?” As Scripture is read, ask your child how it would feel to be living in that story,
5. Talk about worship on the way home
Ask kids about what they saw and heard in worship. Affirm their insights and encourage them to learn more. Ask if they wonder about anything that was said. As you talk, use the language of worship to build your children’s vocabulary.
For more ways to connect children’s ministry and family faith formation, check out the Dwell at Home resources at dwellcurriculum.org/home.