From the mailbag: Church with 5 little ones

My recent Q&A post included the topic of keeping children quiet in church, and elicited the following comment from a reader.  Maybe you understand how she feels.

Oh, Kim! I am feeling so defeated about having our littles in church! We have worked so hard with our 4-year-old and our 2-year-old and they do pretty well. We have great conversations (esp with the 4-year-old) about the things we learn in church. We have a 12-month-old foster-adopt son who is getting to a challenging stage (vocally and “sitting still”-wise), and because we cannot use Biblical, physical forms of discipline with him, we are struggling with how to train him.

Add to that: our lives have just been turned upside down–we found out we will have his newborn sister placed with us (surprise!), and I am 4 days postpartum with our third bio-baby. We will have five kids, and the oldest is 4!

Even if my husband is always with us in the pew, we don’t have enough arms between us to hold all the babies, let alone train them! I am especially discouraged because in a few weeks, once the youngest can be out in public, we have to begin the church-hunting process in this not-child-friendly city. What will people think when we walk through a church’s front door and cause chaos in the sanctuary? Back when we only had the older two, we once visited a church that asked us to sit in the foyer seating area because children were not allowed in the sanctuary for “videotaping” purposes.

I guess I realize I am overwhelmed with lots of things, and worried about being rejected by believers when we most need the support of a good church.

Karen,

I hardly know where to start.  I want to offer a dozen pieces of advice and encouragement all at once, along with a shoulder to cry on.  I’m just beginning to come out of the post-partum fog, so let me remind you of one huge thing: Even though your concerns and challenges are very real, everything looks and feels even worse now while you are riding that rollercoaster of hormones and sleep deprivation.  If you can just take the next few months one day at a time, you’ll be able to look back and breathe a sigh of relief, realizing that it wasn’t quite as bad as you thought it would be.  I know this because I was a basket-case when we had a wedding, a move, and a baby all in short order, closely followed by Thanksgiving, Christmas, and hordes of happy houseguests.  It was overwhelming to me at the time, but looking back I can only blame hormone-induced stress.  It was a loud and busy time, and everyone but me was having fun.

But you do have your hands full, and they’re getting fuller.  You are overflowing with blessings, and overflowing is stressful.

It sounds like your biggest concern is finding a church that will love and accept your family.  I don’t know where you live or what your doctrine is, but I strongly recommend you look for a church on the NCFIC.org site (National Center for Family-Integrated Churches).  These are congregations from many denominations that encourage families to keep their children in worship with them, so they will joyfully tolerate the disruptions as you train your children to sit quietly.  While they may be able to point you to a nursing room or cry-room, nobody will give you dirty looks for having your children sit with you, or suggest that you send them to children’s church.

If you don’t find a suitable listing in your area, you might want to ask around on Facebook (or I’ll ask here for you) and see if anyone knows of congregations in your area that are not listed on the NCFIC site.

I understand that corporal discipline is not an option with your 12 month old, but there are other ways to teach him.

  • Many families recommend regular daily times of quiet listening as practice for worship.
  • During church, when my little ones get too noisy and I take them out, I don’t entertain them.  I make sure being taken out is less interesting than sitting in church.  For example, quiet toys might be allowed in church but not when you take the baby out of the sanctuary.  Certainly don’t reward him with a trip to the nursery if you are trying to teach him to sit quietly in church.
  • A firm vocal command can be effective.  Just tell him “no,” softly but firmly with no hint of a smile.  If he smiles in response, don’t let yourself smile back.
  • Be self conscious not to encourage the baby to squeal and play.  Funny faces may keep his attention, but who do you blame when he laughs and squeals?  My babies are quieter when they face forward rather than facing me.
  • If you can work it, a nap is the perfect way to keep a baby quiet during church.  Yes, they might fuss a little before they doze off but then you are rewarded with an hour of sweet silence.  I don’t know about your schedule, but for us worship falls squarely into naptime for our babies.

When it comes to the mechanics of worshiping with lots of little ones, we have found two seating techniques that were very helpful when we had lots of little ones:

  1. You and your husband resist the temptation to sit right next to each other, placing troublemakers between you and on your laps.  With 2 children between you, one in each lap, one on the far left and another on the far right, you can have 6 children sitting on or next to you and your husband.  While it doesn’t solve every problem, keeping them within easy reach does allow you to notice problems and address them promptly.
  2. If you really, really want to sit together – and I don’t blame you – try this.  I like it better than the first idea.  Rather than stretching out in one long row, have some children sit directly in front of you.  Sometimes this is more effective than having them sit next to you, because they are directly in your line of sight while you watch the pulpit.  This also allowed my husband and I to sit together while keeping an eye on 7 or 8 children – one on each lap, one to the left of us, one to the right of us, and several in front of us.  I won’t name names, but we still do this with our troublemakers and fidgeters.

Having two newborns is going to be tricky no matter what you do, but remember: moms do it all the time.  It’s called twins.  Seek out moms of twins, and get advice.  Most are glad to help.

And speaking of help: once you find a family friendly church, seek out a baby-loving teen who is willing to help you during the service.  Our girls have been known to sit with the little ones of another family when both parents are occupied with needy wee ones.

Do you have advice for Karen?  Let’s hear it in the comments.

Comments

  1. We have two foster kids, no bio kids. At first it was horrible. At the time the kids were 2.5 and just turned 4.
    At first, we found that doing Sunday School AND church was impossible – it overwhelmed them. On tough Sundays we would only do Sunday School. On really tough days, we did church at home and had them practice with us (we did all parts of a service). There was one Sunday where we went to the church service and left 15 minutes later, skipping lunch out afterwards (a privilege). Usually we can now do both SS and the service. (It was very encouraging to have some older ladies tell me they noticed how much better the kids were doing. I didn’t think anyone else noticed and I almost cried.) It took us 9-12 months to get to here.
    Things we used or still use are: positive reinforcement/praises – if you are quiet through a song you get a treat (animal cracker). if you are quiet through prayer, you get a treat. If I catch you being quiet, you get a treat. If you are quiet all the way through communion you get a special treat (ticktac, llifesaver, gummy worm, etc.) In the beginning we tried to make it very often so they wouldn’t have much time to misbehave between treats. Training – If I took them out, we stood in the middle of a room (if they were throwing a tantrum and I was holding them) and did nothing or would sit and “practice”. If they screamed, kicked, hit, etc without stopping then time-outs took place in the car with them in the 5-point harness car seat. I would stand outside the car until their time was up. This way they got to scream, we got to cool off and everyone was safe. Practice at home how you do church, including walking in to sit in the pew.
    After a while, we came to find that if one of us had to leave to deal with one of the kids, the other one was more likely to act up due to change in how things are “supposed to be”. Our kids don’t like change. Now we try to deal with things in the pew.
    Things we do now: lower our expectations, but not our standards. talk about behaviors we want to see. Have them say “Hi” and talk to people around us before the service starts. (Don’t let them get bored waiting.) Sit in front of the minister, but a few rows back. There are not other kids around us – no toys for them to covet and whine for – I have four crayons and paper. Scratch backs – one will sit anywhere you want for as long as you want given that you are scratching their back. We sit close together along an aisle. This limits how far they can move and they like to be able to touch us. If they are behaving really well, they get to sit one chair away from us or in front of us. If I have to take them out they sit against a wall in a room, I tell them to come to me when they feel ready to go back and be quiet. I leave the room and they have to come all the way to me, not just to the doorway, or else they aren’t ready and I walk them back to the wall. This doesn’t give them an audience for their tantrum. I have relaxed my standards a bit, knowing that we will get back to the ones I had … eventually.
    Being as we only have two kids, total, to deal with not all of the things we do, or try, will work for you. If you are able to sit the babies down (in carriers or such) put the 12 month old in your lap, let your DH handle the 2 and 4 YOs, and hold a running dialog, in a very very whispered voice in his ear, about what is going on and all the details, “Do you see John? He is the one with a beard on his face. Where is your face? That’s right. Look what he is doing, he is walking up the aisle to the pulpit. Shhh, let’s see what he is going to do. Oh, but we have to be quiet so we can hear.::quiet:: do you hear him? He is going to pray. He folded his hands, let’s fold our hands too.::quiet:: He closed his eyes so he could talk to God without being distracted. ….”
    Good luck. Those first few weeks/month of having a new kid always stresses me out. Not only are they getting used to you, but you to them. Add in a new church and people you don’t know, and it seems like you will never enjoy church again. It will get better. It will. Remind yourself of the changes they are also experiences, see if you can make any of it less stressful for them, make it a norm. Prep the night before.
    Is it possible for your husband to look at churches without you, then decide if it is someplace the whole family should visit? How about going on a Sunday night or during the week? Good luck. It will get better.

  2. I so feel for you. We have a 7 and 5 year old, and a 17 month old foster-adopt son. He’s getting to the crazy age and I’m really struggling to keep him with me. Thanks for the ideas.

  3. I have 3year old twin boys, a 20mth old boy and 21weeks preg w boy #4. Our kiddos go to Children’s Sunday school and children’s church. I’ve only taken the 20mth old to service once and that didn’t go well! My boys are very active and our service lasts abt an hr and a half. Way longer than they could tolerate. They learn a lot in Sunday school and have playtime and a snack in there. We go to a “Bible” church. I feel like at this age they learn more (and we learn more!) by having them in an age appropriate class. They may learn to sit still in serv, but wouldn’t learn age appropriate Christian basics. I think it depends on the church and the family!

  4. My original response to this post was to be sadly surprised to hear how unwelcome children are in many churches.
    But I as I skimmed the comments, I was also kind of surprised at the prevailing mentality of guilt about using a church nursery. In Nehemiah 8, when the people gathered to hear the law read and explained, and Ezra the scribe “stood on a platform of wood which they had made for the purpose” (all of which sounds a lot like our worship services), it clearly says (twice!), that those who gathered were “the men and women and those who could hear with understanding.” It adds twice more, that the people who listened understood the words that were declared to them.
    My 2yo would not understand the words declared in the worship service, and would only be a distraction to us and those around us. Even if we managed to train her to sit quietly with a toy for an hour+, I would rather wait till she was at an age to begin to understand at least some of what’s going on, rather than teach her from a young age to play/tune out the minister. I don’t have any problem with people choosing not to make use of the nursery, but I think there are Biblical grounds to use one.

  5. Karen,
    Just wish you lived nearby, so I could HELP you! I keep on hearing about mommies who are struggling with little ones, and I don’t live near any of them! Where do you live? I am near Altoona, PA…wish I could be a pair of hands for you…

  6. Love this question! Here is another – We attend a very small family integrated church (fewer than 100 people) and we do not have a nursery. I have 5 kids, ranging in age from 9 to 1, and I am expecting. Our services are usually almost 2 hours long, and my 1 year old cannot sit that long. Or be quiet for that long. Usually she is good for 30 minutes, and then it falls apart. I keep her in her stroller, I give her snacks, quiet toys, books, etc. She is just a babbler!
    There is not even another room to take her to to keep her from being heard by the rest of the congregation. It stresses me out every single week, and there have been weeks I just stayed home because the thought of dealing with church overwhelms me. That is not how I want to feel about Sunday mornings!! Any advice?

  7. I did twins and a two year old. I did not often have all of them in the service as we attended Calvary Chapels( sigh) for a bit when then were young. BUT, When the twins were littlest, I did attend a church where I had them in the service. I wore double slings, would nurse one, then the other and then would go to sleep. Other things I would do it bring a blanket and sit in the back on the floor with them. My ex-husband is abusive and so never helped with them or my daughter who followed 22 months after the twins.

  8. I feel for the mom in this situation–BLESS YOU–but I do have to say: You, ma’am, are doing God’s work and He has obviously found you faithful thus far to bless you and your husband in such a way. I wouldn’t say I’m jealous, but I would love to find myself in your position some day. And I’d have the same dilemma regarding church that you write about, because we are getting ready for a new baby in four weeks, and will have him/her with us in church next to 3.5yo and 20-mo older brothers. Yikes. I would like to say: a KEY to this situation for every aspect of your life (not only church!) is to not be depending upon church for your soul-feeding. My husband is in the Army, and I’ve had to attend services frequently during this tiring pregnancy without him, with those two boys-under four. I have found the secret to successfully training and worshipping myself (and that does happen) is to change my opinion of church from “my personal time to be fed” into “a privilege to gather with fellow believers to corporately worship.” When I walk into church Sunday morning wtih the second attitude, not only am I in a better position for training but (and this is crucial!) I take a different position on church throughout the week, which my children see, which then makes THEM excited about church.

    • You make a great point, Amanda! While we definitely benefit from worship, it is supposed to be something we do for God, not the other way around. We don’t go to get recharged for the week; we go in obedience to glorify Him. If we are going just to get recharged and we know our children aren’t even paying attention, why should we keep them in the service? But when we keep our focus on pleasing Him rather than getting what we can out of the service, we can see a real benefit in keeping our children with us and training them to participate.

      • Does there have to be an either/or scenario in this? I do not want to sound disrespectful in any way to those who have differing points of view on this, and I do agree that we are ultimately attending church as a matter of obedience to God, and to bring Him the worship and glory that He is due. BUT….having said that, I think that for many moms with children that are young/difficult/handicapped, etc., the very act of getting up on a Sunday morning when we’d rather sleep in, and getting grouchy, tired kids up out of bed, getting them fed, bathed and dressed, and in their car seats and driven to church, and unloaded, and trying to keep them gathered around you while you make your way in…..Whew! Just thinking about it makes me exhausted! Can we not offer to moms who are in difficult situations a little bit more grace in this area? I am married, but because of my husband’s job, I am functionally a single mom through the week, and arrive at the weekend very exhausted and spent. Trust me when I tell you that just GETTING to church has been for me, for many years, an act of worship in and of itself. Is it wrong to say to an exhausted mom that it is ok if she comes to church not only with an attitude that she is there to worship God, but to ask Him to strengthen and feed her very weary soul as well, so that she can continue to raise children througout the rest of the week for His glory?? Childhood is short in many ways, but my feeling is that there are many opportunities to train them and teach them about God, and that one hour a week, spent in a nursery when needed, is not going to take away from that.

        • I agree that it needn’t be an either-or situation! Just as sacrificial service is not an either-or situation–sometimes it CAN be (“either I can take care of myself, or I can perform this act of service), but sometimes in pouring myself out and being really empty can leave room for the Holy Spirit to fill me up for real. Truly, when I’ve found myself feeling like this was an either-or situation in my own life–ie., “It would be so much easier to just stay at home this week and listen to a podcast while they do something (I’ve decided in my estimation)that they understand,” I’ve prayed about it. The Lord has lead me to many different solutions: sometimes, I’ve marked on the bulletin with my 3yo, “We will stay through these parts of the service” and often we’re able to make it to the end by that time. Sometimes when we’re without daddy, I sit by the husband of a (childless) friend who helps lead worship so he doesn’t sit alone either! Sometimes, I just pray, feel I hear nothing, and then decide to go out of habitual obedience…and somehow ‘miraculously’ (because the Lord knows and I don’t!) the sermon or illustration is something he understands or it’s a little shorter than usual, etc. No doubt, getting the family to church in one dressed-and-fed piece with MOTHER in her right mind is nothing short of a spiritual discipline. But when I was/am willing to take my Saturday-Sunday schedule and churchgoing situation to the Lord, honestly and completely with its struggles, He has been faithful! He will be faithful to you, too!

        • Also :) One week I came home from church almost in tears because I was physically exhausted, the boys had misbehaved through church, my husband was away so there was no respite in sight, and I had of course gotten nothing out of the morning except embarrassed. I was feeling very sorry for myself, and vowed to not read any more silly posts about keeping children with me in church because it was just STUPID. That afternoon out of the blue, my son (the hesitant singer) started to sing at his play: “Here I am to worship….Here I am to worship…Here I am to worship”, which had been sung that morning. I had no indication that he had spent church doing anything other than squirming, fighting me, being corrected and generally “ruining my time in church”. Very clearly, the Lord spoke kindly to me: “THIS is worth it to me…maybe not to you, yet, my dear, but to ME.”

  9. The first step is to find a church that is tolerant of children’s noise in church, which I pray is not too difficult for you. But perhaps you can benefit from an invention that I so love. A pastor invented a wooden seat that has arms that fit over a pew and then simply has a buckle to keep the child in the seat. He invented this for his wife that has lots of little ones. I am also a pastor’s wife with lots of little ones and love these seats that a man from our church was able to build for our church. The child is higher and therefore, can see better. He’s not able to sit on the floor, lay on the pew, try to escape, etc. If I want to go to communion, I can leave the little one for a few minutes – it’s great. If your church uses chairs, you could just bring an eating booster and it could work the same way. The seats are perfect from when the babies start to be good sitters until about age 4 or so.

  10. When my 3 year old was a squirmy wiggly loud 18 month old… (she had pretty severe delays from the orphanage) I got some great advice From a godly woman. The advice was to play church. But the child is the “mom” and you (mom) gets to be all the wiggly whiny children (stuffed animals/dolls). We did this every day for 2 weeks, 2x a day for 2 minutes. Watching her discipline her stuffed animal children was so funny. She figure it out very very quickly. I was astonished how such a short time each day training her, made this issue disappear so quickly.

    • This is a great idea. I tried it with lining up chairs and singing, but the kids got wiggly. I think I may try it your way, even though our kids are now a bit older. There is still a long way for them to go before they get to where we want them to be.

  11. First of all, I agree whole heartedly with Kim’s helpful comments. They are wise and gracious words! I am a supporter of training little ones to worship with the family in church, and welcome the sounds of infants and children during worship as a joyful sign of a healthy congregation.

    However…I’m going to offer our story in case it might bless you. (I should start by saying that I’m a pastor’s wife, so I always sit alone with all my children in the pew, unless a friendly teenager or college girl joins us.) Once I was struggling with many small children and a wiggly infant in the service and I asked a godly, older friend with wonderfully trained children for advice. Much to my surprise she said, “You need to hear the sermon more than your wiggler needs to be trained. Put her in nursery without guilt, feed your soul on Sunday mornings, work on training her during the week, and when she is ready bring her into the sanctuary.” Whew! That was balm to my soul and truly a blessing for our whole family. Since then our pattern has been to use nursery during difficult seasons (particularly when I have a nursing infant and a 2 year old), knowing that the little ones can be trained at home, that they will eventually be able to join us, and that mommy will continue to be fed by the pastor on Sunday mornings in order to sustain her throughout the week. I can say that so far all of our children who were plopped in nursery during their most vocal stages have had no problems cheerfully moving into the sanctuary with us as older toddlers. I will also add that it definitely helps to have the older siblings firmly in hand so that they will be good examples to the younger ones. When the three year old sees the 10 year old sitting quietly and taking notes, she wants to imitate her big sister.

    Blessings to you on this journey!

    • First off I would like to say THANK YOU for ministering to the “least of these” and humbly taking these precious children into your home and family! ALL children are wonderful blessings from God, not just our biological ones so I love to see Christian families choosing to adopt! May God richly bless you, and I will certainly be praying for you as the Lord brings you to mind!
      The above comment echos my thoughts as I read your question to Kim. We have 5 children ages 6 and under. Some of them we have been able to keep in the service with us consistently from birth on up but others we have put in nursery for a while. We tried to focus on what was best for our family and our church family, making sure that we did not making keeping our children in church with us an idol. We keep them with us because we want them to learn what it is to be part of the Body and to engage in worship as best they can. When we have had a child who is really struggling to learn to participate in worship we often put the younger ones in nursery so we can better help the one who is struggling without being so disruptive that the focus of the service becomes our family instead of worshiping God. We also work at home to help them develop the skills they will need to actively participate in church -learning the songs at home since most can’t read, working on self-control so they can sit quietly, getting Pastor’s notes ahead of time so we can prep them for what they might hear and can be listening for, teaching them to whisper, etc. As the struggling child grows in their abilities we start to bring the babies back into the service. Remember that ALL your children are still very young and God-willing you have lots of time to train them up and help them learn to be a part of corporate worship -don’t feel “rushed” that you have to get them all trained to sit perfectly right now or it won’t work, give grace to them and yourself :-). Especially with the youngest of your crew -napping in nursery during the service so your arms and mind are free to train and engage with older children is not going to start them on the wrong path. If your church does not have nursery I heartily second Kim’s thoughts on finding a teen girl or even an older lady(or gent!) who would probably be more than happy to snuggle a little one for you during the service. Talk with your husband and really nail down why you attend church services each week -I know that sounds silly but it will help remind you of your priorities and then after you have done that decide what will work best for YOUR family during that worship and teaching time. Set your practices in line with your priorities, don’t let your practices determine your priorities.
      Blessings!

    • I absolutely agree with this advice!! Church should be a blessing for everyone involved, and sometimes that means giving a mom one hour of quiet and rest during a worship service. I am very much family oriented, and believe in the concept of the family friendly/family-integrated church. However, I honestly think that babies should be allowed to be babies, and a mom should not feel guilty if she wants to let the child play in the nursery for a while while the service is going on. I have five kids, ages 22 to six, and we homeschool, so I really do believe that children are a blessing and that family-oriented stuff is the best. But I also equally believe that too much undue pressure is put on moms and little children in family-integrated churches to always have them sitting in the service, as still as little church mice. There are some kids that can do this at a very young age, but MANY who cannot. My honest advice would be to find a church that is ok with you bringing the children into the service, and then either keep them there or take them to the nursery depending on the day and everyone’s mood and fatigue level. This one hour a week is NOT going to make or break your child’s spiritual development, and I think it’s better for everyone long-term if the child associates his time in church as being a happy and joyous thing, and not a matter of extreme stress. Do what you can, and don’t feel guilty! I have found in our small church that the young girls who help in the nursery just SWOON over the chance to hold and help with babies and very young children, and it makes them feel like they have been a blessing…..which they have! :-) My only other advice would be that a smaller church is generally more family friendly than huge mega-churches. Churches that have video taping are usually the worst about bringing kids into the service, so avoid them for this season if you can. But honestly, do what works best for your family, and be sensitive to God’s leading, and you’ll do fine!

      • Thank you so much sarah and sue. Ive felt like a failure after removing my little one from church to the nursery for a season. Youve given me reassurance that its ok and not a terrible thing, and hope that she will return to church with us.

  12. My 24mo would rather get a spanking and stand facing a wall outside than sit in church, truly. After facing the wall 10 minutes she will scream as we attempt to enter the sanctuary. Maybe i did something wrong when she was younger, i dont know. She never went to creche, she has toys in church, we were diligent. It doesnt help that people insist on playing with her during service, whether its handing her things because she ‘looks bored’ or making funny faces accross the room. I dont know what i did wrong, but we have decided, for her personality, to put her in creche untill shes old enough to talk to (read: bribe), probably another 6 months, then try again. We will try again with our 4 month old, and see if we have more sucess.

    The reason i share this is that you are facing a hard situation. If you can make it work, wonderful! But dont feel too terribly guilty if, for a season, you need to use the nursery or other service, and deal with the problem gradually. Sure, we probably could have spent our sunday morning spanking our daughter and standing outside all service, but i also dont want her to hate and dread church, which we were quickly heading towards. Its not impossible to teach her later, in fact, it may well be easier when she can understand our expectations. She isnt really verbal yet. I felt guilty and like a failure, but i know this is what is best for our family situation, i cant compare myself to everyone else. You will soon have a unique family situation that shouldnt be given the same expectations of another one.

  13. This is soooo interesting and encouraging to me, but also discouraging. I have a wonderful church but they certainly encourage children to go to their own classrooms, which have wonderful teachers. We moved to a new (smaller) town and tried a community church that had children stay in the sanctuary during song worship and prayers but left at the start of the actual sermon. It really bothered me, as just a mom bringing her two small boys to church…it was difficult. NOW…we decided to travel the distance to our old church, and while I love the children’s center, I do wish our church would encourage family worship.

  14. Oh! Big hugs. I agree, some churches really are baby-friendly and some are not. I have used the link Kim suggested in the past to find a good church home.

    We’ve attended churches where children weren’t really allowed in the sanctuary — off to their own classrooms they go. No thanks.

    Hang in there. It’s a busy, busy stage of life you’re in right now. But it will get less crazy soon. Hope you can find a good church home soon!

  15. Great advice! Can’t think of anything to add, except giving them quiet toys or soft books, pacifiers, sippy cups and cheerios (one at a time, lasting as long as possible :) We live in NW Alabama and have a great church, if you are anywhere near.

  16. Kat Menard says:

    Wishing i could give you a big hug! and Kim C as well! we have a year old foster son as well and it can be challenging to come up with something that gets the point across. I cannot even imagine with 2 newborns as well! Wishing you lived close enough to visit our church (NCFIC) in Arkansas–because like Kim C says, no one would judge you or probably notice if your child is noisy. In a congregation of less than 100 we have about 10 babies of different ages all in the worship–along with plenty of 2-4 year olds. One Sunday, when we had 8 babies born all in the same year, they all took turns crying all through the service. The minister had to stop his sermon for a moment and admonish us to be thankful for all the new blessings who were there TO cry! Hang in there, you will find people to support and love you all, growning pains and all.

  17. Kim. I don’t have any advice better than what you’ve given. But I would really like to give this momma-reader a hug and a hot meal! Bless you dear momma as you walk this out. I’m so comforted by the fact that The Lord spoke our family into being, and in doing so well-equipped us to not just survive, but thrive in His creation.

  18. Having the older children sit in front of you is quiet effective for us with our 4 and up kids. We have 3 girls, and one due in March. I started putting Sarah (6) and Emma (4) directly in front of me, as it helps me to keep my 2 year old, Ava, within close reach, and away from distractions. It almost helps her more than them! I have to sit with all three alone, since my husband is in choir, and our church choir sits up front. So far we’re managing quite well this way, just me and my girls! Best piece of advice I’ve ever had about sitting through church! :) Most effective for our family too! I’m anxious to see how I do with 4 kids!

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