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« on: November 17, 2013, 05:21:21 PM »

So I have been struggling with my oldest son about going to Church. He says he does not like it, and he is "not a church kid." When I do bring him he has admitted that he will sometimes act out hoping I will leave early to take him home (being loud, laying in the floor since we stand the whole time, etc), which he usually asks for within 10 minutes or so of arriving. Any idea on how to get him interested enough to enjoy attending? I do not want to force him. He is only 5, there are also very few kids his age at the Church we attend as well. Any and all ideas would be appreciated.
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« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2013, 06:17:28 PM »

Ask your priest... if you have sole custody, I think it is possible to force him.
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« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2013, 06:20:21 PM »

Ask your priest... if you have sole custody, I think it is possible to force him.

I do not want to force him and make him dislike it more. I would rather find a way to make it enjoyable to him so he wants to go of his own will.
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« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2013, 06:28:07 PM »

I don't go to church because of ... (make reason here) ..
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« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2013, 06:28:09 PM »

Ask your priest... if you have sole custody, I think it is possible to force him.
Not the greatest idea.
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« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2013, 06:29:55 PM »

I don't go to church because of ... (make reason here) ..

Too long and boring seem to be top complaints.
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« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2013, 06:35:14 PM »

So I have been struggling with my oldest son about going to Church. He says he does not like it, and he is "not a church kid." When I do bring him he has admitted that he will sometimes act out hoping I will leave early to take him home (being loud, laying in the floor since we stand the whole time, etc), which he usually asks for within 10 minutes or so of arriving. Any idea on how to get him interested enough to enjoy attending? I do not want to force him. He is only 5, there are also very few kids his age at the Church we attend as well. Any and all ideas would be appreciated.

I didn't either, but that's because I didn't understand what Church was. Maybe that's all he needs to know. What Church is.
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« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2013, 06:44:27 PM »

I don't go to church because of ... (make reason here) ..

Too long and boring seem to be top complaints.

I have a godson who is just a bit older and has the same issue. Now he goes to a church that has Sunday school during the service, and he seems to like that better.

What does he like to do? Does he draw? Maybe he'd like to draw his own icons. Does he like to be physically active? Maybe he could do prostrations. Is he able to serve in the altar?
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« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2013, 06:49:28 PM »

If your church has Sunday school, enroll him as soon as possible. If he catches on and is invited at some point to serve in the altar, that could be the best that could happen.

There are many colouring sheets that you can print and give him to keep busy. This is a whole book. Elenie has a lot more resources, especially for when your boy can read independently.
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« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2013, 06:50:05 PM »

I don't go to church because of ... (make reason here) ..

Too long and boring seem to be top complaints.

There must be a way to get him involved. Does he like to feel useful and important? Is there a person who might put him to work greeting visitors, working in the kitchen--maybe something even not on Sundays so that he has an attachment to the church.
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« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2013, 06:52:58 PM »

So I have been struggling with my oldest son about going to Church. He says he does not like it, and he is "not a church kid." When I do bring him he has admitted that he will sometimes act out hoping I will leave early to take him home (being loud, laying in the floor since we stand the whole time, etc), which he usually asks for within 10 minutes or so of arriving. Any idea on how to get him interested enough to enjoy attending? I do not want to force him. He is only 5, there are also very few kids his age at the Church we attend as well. Any and all ideas would be appreciated.

I didn't either, but that's because I didn't understand what Church was. Maybe that's all he needs to know. What Church is.

There are a lot of adults who also need this explained to them.  I'm beginning to wonder, myself.
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« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2013, 06:55:00 PM »

So I have been struggling with my oldest son about going to Church. He says he does not like it, and he is "not a church kid." When I do bring him he has admitted that he will sometimes act out hoping I will leave early to take him home (being loud, laying in the floor since we stand the whole time, etc), which he usually asks for within 10 minutes or so of arriving. Any idea on how to get him interested enough to enjoy attending? I do not want to force him. He is only 5, there are also very few kids his age at the Church we attend as well. Any and all ideas would be appreciated.
Is he required to stand the whole time?  I'd stop that.

One thing you cannot do is reward bad behavior.  If you leave early to take him home...kids learn quickly what succeeds.

Since he admits that is his strategy, tell its outcome: if you have to leave early because of him acting out, you won't be going home.  Instead he will be spending the time in the corner in the church hall away from everyone.  Once more, the time you miss DL will be deducted from his TV time (or game boy time, whatever). Under NO circumstances will you be leaving early, no matter what he does.

As to getting him interested, what does he mean by "a church kid"?  How well do you know the DL (is it in English?)?

Gorazd mentions sole custody. Is there a divorce involved?  What does dad think of Church?

Are there siblings?
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« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2013, 07:06:53 PM »

So I have been struggling with my oldest son about going to Church. He says he does not like it, and he is "not a church kid." When I do bring him he has admitted that he will sometimes act out hoping I will leave early to take him home (being loud, laying in the floor since we stand the whole time, etc), which he usually asks for within 10 minutes or so of arriving. Any idea on how to get him interested enough to enjoy attending? I do not want to force him. He is only 5, there are also very few kids his age at the Church we attend as well. Any and all ideas would be appreciated.
Is he required to stand the whole time?  I'd stop that.

One thing you cannot do is reward bad behavior.  If you leave early to take him home...kids learn quickly what succeeds.

Since he admits that is his strategy, tell its outcome: if you have to leave early because of him acting out, you won't be going home.  Instead he will be spending the time in the corner in the church hall away from everyone.  Once more, the time you miss DL will be deducted from his TV time (or game boy time, whatever). Under NO circumstances will you be leaving early, no matter what he does.

As to getting him interested, what does he mean by "a church kid"?  How well do you know the DL (is it in English?)?

Gorazd mentions sole custody. Is there a divorce involved?  What does dad think of Church?

Are there siblings?


Dad is Muslim and lives across the country, dad is also almost non-existent in their lives by choice however his opinion is low of Christians in general. No he doesn't stand, he can sit if he likes but that doesn't end well either. It is an OCA so English is used (I opted for this over the COC which I prefer, for their sake). I've explained we won't be leaving at all, only stepping out as of today so I hope this works. He isn't old enough to do anything in the alter yet but I may ask the priest about some ideas.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2013, 07:07:08 PM by RehamG » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2013, 08:20:32 PM »

So I have been struggling with my oldest son about going to Church. He says he does not like it, and he is "not a church kid." When I do bring him he has admitted that he will sometimes act out hoping I will leave early to take him home (being loud, laying in the floor since we stand the whole time, etc), which he usually asks for within 10 minutes or so of arriving. Any idea on how to get him interested enough to enjoy attending? I do not want to force him. He is only 5, there are also very few kids his age at the Church we attend as well. Any and all ideas would be appreciated.
Is he required to stand the whole time?  I'd stop that.

One thing you cannot do is reward bad behavior.  If you leave early to take him home...kids learn quickly what succeeds.

Since he admits that is his strategy, tell its outcome: if you have to leave early because of him acting out, you won't be going home.  Instead he will be spending the time in the corner in the church hall away from everyone.  Once more, the time you miss DL will be deducted from his TV time (or game boy time, whatever). Under NO circumstances will you be leaving early, no matter what he does.

As to getting him interested, what does he mean by "a church kid"?  How well do you know the DL (is it in English?)?

Gorazd mentions sole custody. Is there a divorce involved?  What does dad think of Church?

Are there siblings?


Dad is Muslim and lives across the country, dad is also almost non-existent in their lives by choice however his opinion is low of Christians in general. No he doesn't stand, he can sit if he likes but that doesn't end well either. It is an OCA so English is used (I opted for this over the COC which I prefer, for their sake). I've explained we won't be leaving at all, only stepping out as of today so I hope this works. He isn't old enough to do anything in the alter yet but I may ask the priest about some ideas.
Maybe your son has picked that up from his father about Christians or he said something to your son or just maybe he wants to be what is dad is if he saw him praying the 5 prayers and now church is scary have you thought of that.
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« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2013, 08:33:40 PM »

I don't know your church or your jurisdiction, but I've been taking my nephew to church since he was about 2.  He is almost 5 now.  Usually that means I have to spend $20 on $1 candles and he spends the whole 90 minutes kissing icons and lighting candles.  We have a ton of icons and shrines.  Also, I let him just wander around the church at will as long as he promises to walk slowly and stay out of the way.  That usually works.  However, my Church has no pews, so his walking around isn't disruptive.  And since the floors are wood and waxed regularly, I make sure he wears his non-squeaky shoes to church.  And if he gets out of line I talk to him or another woman in the parish, usually an older woman, will redirect him.  I don't know if that is helpful at all.  i notice kids, especially boys, love fire, so the more fire they can play with in a safe way, the better.  :-)
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« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2013, 08:37:01 PM »

So I have been struggling with my oldest son about going to Church. He says he does not like it, and he is "not a church kid." When I do bring him he has admitted that he will sometimes act out hoping I will leave early to take him home (being loud, laying in the floor since we stand the whole time, etc), which he usually asks for within 10 minutes or so of arriving. Any idea on how to get him interested enough to enjoy attending? I do not want to force him. He is only 5, there are also very few kids his age at the Church we attend as well. Any and all ideas would be appreciated.
Is he required to stand the whole time?  I'd stop that.

One thing you cannot do is reward bad behavior.  If you leave early to take him home...kids learn quickly what succeeds.

Since he admits that is his strategy, tell its outcome: if you have to leave early because of him acting out, you won't be going home.  Instead he will be spending the time in the corner in the church hall away from everyone.  Once more, the time you miss DL will be deducted from his TV time (or game boy time, whatever). Under NO circumstances will you be leaving early, no matter what he does.

As to getting him interested, what does he mean by "a church kid"?  How well do you know the DL (is it in English?)?

Gorazd mentions sole custody. Is there a divorce involved?  What does dad think of Church?

Are there siblings?


Dad is Muslim and lives across the country, dad is also almost non-existent in their lives by choice however his opinion is low of Christians in general. No he doesn't stand, he can sit if he likes but that doesn't end well either. It is an OCA so English is used (I opted for this over the COC which I prefer, for their sake). I've explained we won't be leaving at all, only stepping out as of today so I hope this works. He isn't old enough to do anything in the alter yet but I may ask the priest about some ideas.
Maybe your son has picked that up from his father about Christians or he said something to your son or just maybe he wants to be what is dad is if he saw him praying the 5 prayers and now church is scary have you thought of that.

Dad was a non-practicing Muslim, name only, no prayers ever. I keep all phone contact on speaker to avoid anything negative said to my sons. He does not say scary he says boring....I did ask this, he says he just doesn't like it. I did let him light one candle today...perhaps I need to pack more dollars and use that idea as well.
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« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2013, 08:41:24 PM »

Are there any other churches with more kids anywhere nearby?

Btw, is your son baptized?
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« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2013, 08:42:30 PM »

If you guys care to weigh in, would it maybe be better to look for a larger church with more activities. I'm just an active inquirer, and the GOC that is about a half hour away has a ton of things for kids. I love my parish but it is less than 100 people including kids.
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« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2013, 08:44:30 PM »

Are there any other churches with more kids anywhere nearby?

Btw, is your son baptized?

I just replied about that. There are others maybe 30min away. And no, none of us are as of yet.
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« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2013, 09:00:24 PM »

If you guys care to weigh in, would it maybe be better to look for a larger church with more activities. I'm just an active inquirer, and the GOC that is about a half hour away has a ton of things for kids. I love my parish but it is less than 100 people including kids.
Well can you do the 30 min drive every sunday if you can then I would give it a try if it had tons of things for kids there
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« Reply #20 on: November 17, 2013, 09:38:27 PM »

Ask your priest... if you have sole custody, I think it is possible to force him.

I do not want to force him and make him dislike it more. I would rather find a way to make it enjoyable to him so he wants to go of his own will.

My advice, FWIW, would be for any parent to introduce the Liturgy to the child as early as possible. Get the child used to the routine and when home explain what they just experienced.  Sunday school should be a booster not a replacement for Liturgy.  Eventually, they may become more accustomed to the Sunday routine and hopefully settle down and maybe try to understand what is going on.  Forcing a child to endue the long service will only result in negative results.  The child must be home schooled as to what the Liturgy is all about and that that child can contribute to the holiness of the service by him being there to pray.  Hopefully that works.  Other than that I have no solutions.
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« Reply #21 on: November 17, 2013, 09:49:15 PM »

He doesn't have to like church to be respectful of the others that do.  Nor does he have to like church to be respectful of his parent.  He does however need to respect that in public places where ever that is, in church, a grocery store, where ever he doesn't want to be - but is there because his parent has brought him there, he is to be respectful of those who are in his company.  Especially his parent. 

When mine were five and six, we went through the same thing for where ever they didn't want to be.  You go to church.  You are the head of your family.  He's not your boss - nor is he providing for you, or caring for you.  He doesn't have to like it, but he can be respectful. 

When mine acted up, we went to the bathroom and had a time out with them sitting on the floor.  It took maybe five times of doing this to let them know that they had the choice - they could go to the bathroom and sit on the floor for as long as it took, or they could be respectful of those around them and patient with the circumstance. 

Soon they found that they actually WERE interested in what we were doing as they began to grow and understand - from the grocery store, to the library, to the doctor's office. . .to church. . .to sitting at the dinner table. 
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« Reply #22 on: November 17, 2013, 10:12:25 PM »

Btw, are there more children in the Coptic parish?
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« Reply #23 on: November 17, 2013, 10:47:42 PM »

Btw, are there more children in the Coptic parish?

I am sure, because the page shows a ton of kiddos. The same with the Greek Church. The dilemma is that this OCA is just very small, and that means even less children around since about half are my grandparents age.  Undecided
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« Reply #24 on: November 18, 2013, 04:34:54 AM »

Ask your priest... if you have sole custody, I think it is possible to force him.

I do not want to force him and make him dislike it more. I would rather find a way to make it enjoyable to him so he wants to go of his own will.

My advice, FWIW, would be for any parent to introduce the Liturgy to the child as early as possible. Get the child used to the routine and when home explain what they just experienced.  Sunday school should be a booster not a replacement for Liturgy.  Eventually, they may become more accustomed to the Sunday routine and hopefully settle down and maybe try to understand what is going on.  Forcing a child to endue the long service will only result in negative results.  The child must be home schooled as to what the Liturgy is all about and that that child can contribute to the holiness of the service by him being there to pray.  Hopefully that works.  Other than that I have no solutions.
I always explained what was going on during the DL.  I don't know, however, if Reham is a new convert and might now know all that much hereself.  In which case I would suggest reading up on that, and at the same time share that.

Lighting candles was always a favorite, and kissing icons.  When they had a relative or friend who was sick, I would tell them when they should pray for them during the liturgy, and other things like that.  They also had the blue Guardian Angel book which outlines the DL, which they tried to follow along with.

I never had a trouble with DL.  Pretty much the opposite.  Not too much trouble with school either: just once or twice they said "I don't want to go to school" when they were in a particularly defiant mood.  I just replied "You are answering a question that wasn't asked.  Get your shoes on."

We also always had a prayer rule at home (grace with meals, bed time prayers, etc.).  That helps.
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« Reply #25 on: November 18, 2013, 04:34:54 AM »

So I have been struggling with my oldest son about going to Church. He says he does not like it, and he is "not a church kid." When I do bring him he has admitted that he will sometimes act out hoping I will leave early to take him home (being loud, laying in the floor since we stand the whole time, etc), which he usually asks for within 10 minutes or so of arriving. Any idea on how to get him interested enough to enjoy attending? I do not want to force him. He is only 5, there are also very few kids his age at the Church we attend as well. Any and all ideas would be appreciated.
Is he required to stand the whole time?  I'd stop that.

One thing you cannot do is reward bad behavior.  If you leave early to take him home...kids learn quickly what succeeds.

Since he admits that is his strategy, tell its outcome: if you have to leave early because of him acting out, you won't be going home.  Instead he will be spending the time in the corner in the church hall away from everyone.  Once more, the time you miss DL will be deducted from his TV time (or game boy time, whatever). Under NO circumstances will you be leaving early, no matter what he does.

As to getting him interested, what does he mean by "a church kid"?  How well do you know the DL (is it in English?)?

Gorazd mentions sole custody. Is there a divorce involved?  What does dad think of Church?

Are there siblings?


Dad is Muslim and lives across the country, dad is also almost non-existent in their lives by choice however his opinion is low of Christians in general. No he doesn't stand, he can sit if he likes but that doesn't end well either. It is an OCA so English is used (I opted for this over the COC which I prefer, for their sake). I've explained we won't be leaving at all, only stepping out as of today so I hope this works. He isn't old enough to do anything in the alter yet but I may ask the priest about some ideas.
Maybe your son has picked that up from his father about Christians or he said something to your son or just maybe he wants to be what is dad is if he saw him praying the 5 prayers and now church is scary have you thought of that.

Dad was a non-practicing Muslim, name only, no prayers ever. I keep all phone contact on speaker to avoid anything negative said to my sons. He does not say scary he says boring....I did ask this, he says he just doesn't like it. I did let him light one candle today...perhaps I need to pack more dollars and use that idea as well.
The thing about Islam is that you don't have to pray or even believe in order to hate Christians.  I've seen it a lot.  In fact, overall, it seems easier that way.
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« Reply #26 on: November 21, 2013, 06:32:11 PM »

I think that making it through Divine Liturgy can be tough even on the kids who have a generally positive attitude towards going to church ... I think there are some adults who have trouble as well!  Smiley   The length of the service and the repetition of certain prayers is challenging for those who are not used to it or who just aren't in the right frame of mind for it.  At the little Mission Church where I am a member, the younger children are excused for Sunday School immediately after Divine Liturgy, although it is not uncommon to see parents step out with their restless children at other times as needed.  You said your church is small ... does it have a Sunday School?  Sometimes a little enjoyable interaction during Sunday School is enough to redeem an otherwise boring morning in the eyes of a 5 year old.  If your church does not have a Sunday School, it seems like you have a vested interest in helping to start one!  It may not be a replacement for Divine Liturgy, but it can really help with the motivation factor.

Also, I know that there are plenty of people on this forum who are going to vehemently disagree with me, but I'm going to say it anyway: maybe you need to arrive sometime after the beginning of Divine Liturgy and before the very end, at least until your son's attitude improves.  Your priest may show some flexibility in this matter, considering your circumstances.

It sounds like it's starting to become a battle of wills, which is generally a lose-lose situation, but as much as possible try to stay positive with your son when talking about going to church.  It isn't necessarily going to be a fun experience for him, but between the two of you maybe you can figure out some ways to make it more positive.  If lighting a candle or two helps to do that, then so be it.  I liked some of Ialmisry's other thoughts as well, including praying for friends at church and prayer time at home.  Shanghaiski had some good ideas too, such as drawing icons and finding ways to get your son involved.  Also, a little reasonable bribery ... er, reward ... might also be in order, such as agreeing to stop somewhere for a treat afterwards if his conduct is satisfactory.  Sometimes that works ... sometimes.  One thing I'm pretty sure does not work is taking a heavy-handed, authoritarian approach with a strong-willed child.

Another thought ... are there any particularly approachable parents there at church who you could talk to about your concerns?  They know your church and are hopefully at least acquainted with your family, so they are in a better position than the people on this forum to give you truly useful advice.

Your son's Muslim father may be a factor in all of this, even if it isn't overt.  He knows his father isn't Christian, much less Orthodox, so even if the dad doesn't say anything about it, just knowing that does not help to get your son to church.  Nevertheless, he is with you, and you have to try to give him the best religious education that you know how to.

It sounds like useless platitudes, but the main thing for you during this difficult period is to try to be patient, not only with your son but also yourself and your own religious path.  When kids are involved, sometimes you can't make progress as fast as you would like, but the main thing is knowing the right direction for you and your family and being persistent in continuing to go in that direction.  Also, try to be flexible, even if the people around you aren't.  Kids delight in breaking inflexible parents!  I pray for your perseverance, that you do not let yourself become discouraged or deterred.  Please forgive me if these comments are not helpful!
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« Reply #27 on: November 22, 2013, 01:12:37 PM »

Tell him that you go to Church to be a fire, to be an angel for God. Doesn't he want to be a powerful angel?
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« Reply #28 on: November 22, 2013, 01:36:45 PM »

My mother didn't care if we wanted to go to church or not. Nor did she care if we wanted to go to school, the doctor, the dentist or any other thing that was in our best interests. Our wishes or desires were irrelevant. These things were good and necessary and we were going to do them. Grin

Here is a good resource for children - I've used it in Sunday School - we're making a book for the younger children.
http://www.orthodoxabc.com

Also here is some practical advice.
http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/youngchildren.aspx

You can find a lot of resources on the internet for children and church. Maybe your son could make a book for himself?
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« Reply #29 on: November 22, 2013, 03:09:15 PM »

How well disciplined is he in general?  Trying to discipline him in regards to Church but not in other walks of life will probably bear no fruit in the long run.
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« Reply #30 on: November 22, 2013, 10:57:53 PM »

He is well disciplined in general, about like the average 5 year old. Basically he is no terror but he is also headstrong these days. It is also worth saying that his little brother loves going, but he is 3. IoanC, I like your idea as well.

I've emailed the priest and we will be talking to him this Sunday after DL. Turns out there is a Sunday school, just very small which we will be discussing putting him in, too. I appreciate all of the replies very much.
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« Reply #31 on: December 03, 2013, 08:49:56 AM »

He is well disciplined in general, about like the average 5 year old. Basically he is no terror but he is also headstrong these days. It is also worth saying that his little brother loves going, but he is 3. IoanC, I like your idea as well.

I've emailed the priest and we will be talking to him this Sunday after DL. Turns out there is a Sunday school, just very small which we will be discussing putting him in, too. I appreciate all of the replies very much.


How'd it go?
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« Reply #32 on: December 06, 2013, 10:28:15 AM »

A few practical suggestions that have helped me with my 6 year old who has mild aspergers and also has problems at Church.

1) Read the Sunday gospel reading or listen to it throughout the week on "Let us Attend" on the antiochian.org website. They also have pdf handouts for the gospel story which include an icon he can colour.

If he knows the gospel story well in his own words then he will recognize it when the Priest reads it on Sunday.

2) Use the Divine Liturgy activity book for kids. If you google it you will find the pdf of the entire book that you can download and print.

3) Make other activities, such as a crossword or wordsearch puzzles that use keywords from the Gospel reading.
Explain that he is free to do these activities during the Church service but he has to stand during a few very important times. ie: Gospel Reading, Little Entrance, Great Entrance, censing of the congregation, etc. My hope is that as my son gets older, I gradually decrease the activities and increase the important times that he should pay attention.

4) Take a break: half-way through take them out for a 5-10 minute pee break or a short walk.

5) Walk around, look at and explain some of the icons.
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« Reply #33 on: January 11, 2014, 11:44:49 AM »

Maybe he can start to get involved in the Church, become an altar server or something along those lines.
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« Reply #34 on: March 22, 2014, 10:22:11 PM »

If you guys care to weigh in, would it maybe be better to look for a larger church with more activities. I'm just an active inquirer, and the GOC that is about a half hour away has a ton of things for kids. I love my parish but it is less than 100 people including kids.
The GOC usually says at least 50 percent of the DL in Greek, it is nice if you know Greek, but if your son doesn't he could get bored/confused about it.
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« Reply #35 on: June 25, 2014, 11:39:29 AM »

I had something like that going with my daughter, i keep on praying to Theotokos for guidance and protection. Then one day she started to ask me about church and we had very nice conversation!
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« Reply #36 on: June 25, 2014, 12:13:07 PM »

If you guys care to weigh in, would it maybe be better to look for a larger church with more activities. I'm just an active inquirer, and the GOC that is about a half hour away has a ton of things for kids. I love my parish but it is less than 100 people including kids.
The GOC usually says at least 50 percent of the DL in Greek, it is nice if you know Greek, but if your son doesn't he could get bored/confused about it.

Really? I've yet to witness this. "Kyrie eleison," sure.
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« Reply #37 on: June 25, 2014, 12:27:47 PM »

Two ideas:

Friends. Get some of the children his age over to your house to play. Make sure he is able to interact with kids after liturgy.

Manage your expectations of him. What we're doing with my three-year-old is having her participate respectfully in liturgy for stated lengths of time, between which she is awarded breaks or treats. I also agree with the poster above who suggested coming late to liturgy, at least for a time.
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« Reply #38 on: June 25, 2014, 01:46:06 PM »

So I have been struggling with my oldest son about going to Church. He says he does not like it, and he is "not a church kid." When I do bring him he has admitted that he will sometimes act out hoping I will leave early to take him home (being loud, laying in the floor since we stand the whole time, etc), which he usually asks for within 10 minutes or so of arriving. Any idea on how to get him interested enough to enjoy attending? I do not want to force him. He is only 5, there are also very few kids his age at the Church we attend as well. Any and all ideas would be appreciated.

Kids are like dogs; both need jobs to keep them focused.  I don't know what the age requirement may be at your church (at some places, I have seen it as young as 6), maybe he could be an altar server.  Most churches I know need more boys to serve behind the altar. Sometimes, you see none.  Maybe if he has something to do and if he were away from you (please don't take that as an insult; it is certainly not intended as such, but kids, boys in particular, seem to thrive if the know their parents aren't going to be there scrutinizing their every move) then he may show an interest.  And it's not that he would be alone.  At my church, the younger recruits are mentored by the older boys and that can go a long way to fostering them and making them appreciate what they are doing.

The altar servers have to know the Liturgy; they have a job to do and I can think of few better ways than this.  If he's too young, he's too young but keep it as an option for maybe later years.  And if you do decide to go this route, don't follow up right away with "How was it?" or "did you enjoy it?" but say instead, "So, next week at 10, right?"  You'd be surprised how he might come around. 

Don't know if this is a good option or if it will work. Good luck.
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« Reply #39 on: June 25, 2014, 01:47:51 PM »

If your church has Sunday school, enroll him as soon as possible. If he catches on and is invited at some point to serve in the altar, that could be the best that could happen.

There are many colouring sheets that you can print and give him to keep busy. This is a whole book. Elenie has a lot more resources, especially for when your boy can read independently.

Sunday School is one of the WORST ways for children to learn the Orthodox faith or any Christian faith. Numerous studies over the years have conclusively said that Sunday School does absolutely no good in retaining kids in the faith or having them learn the faith.  It's better for them to be at the Liturgy, no matter how hard a task that may be. 
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« Reply #40 on: June 25, 2014, 01:50:35 PM »

If your church has Sunday school, enroll him as soon as possible. If he catches on and is invited at some point to serve in the altar, that could be the best that could happen.

There are many colouring sheets that you can print and give him to keep busy. This is a whole book. Elenie has a lot more resources, especially for when your boy can read independently.

Sunday School is one of the WORST ways for children to learn the Orthodox faith or any Christian faith. Numerous studies over the years have conclusively said that Sunday School does absolutely no good in retaining kids in the faith or having them learn the faith.  It's better for them to be at the Liturgy, no matter how hard a task that may be. 

When done correctly, Sunday school takes place at a time before or after Liturgy and it is divided into classes by age group, including adults.  We are never too old to learn. 
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« Reply #41 on: June 25, 2014, 02:12:19 PM »

If your church has Sunday school, enroll him as soon as possible. If he catches on and is invited at some point to serve in the altar, that could be the best that could happen.

There are many colouring sheets that you can print and give him to keep busy. This is a whole book. Elenie has a lot more resources, especially for when your boy can read independently.

Sunday School is one of the WORST ways for children to learn the Orthodox faith or any Christian faith. Numerous studies over the years have conclusively said that Sunday School does absolutely no good in retaining kids in the faith or having them learn the faith.  It's better for them to be at the Liturgy, no matter how hard a task that may be. 

When done correctly, Sunday school takes place at a time before or after Liturgy and it is divided into classes by age group, including adults.  We are never too old to learn. 

But the point is that it's not working, whether taught correctly or not.  I think the Orthodox Sunday Schools take way too much from Protestant models of Sunday School, which aren't working for them either. 
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« Reply #42 on: June 25, 2014, 02:14:37 PM »

If your church has Sunday school, enroll him as soon as possible. If he catches on and is invited at some point to serve in the altar, that could be the best that could happen.

There are many colouring sheets that you can print and give him to keep busy. This is a whole book. Elenie has a lot more resources, especially for when your boy can read independently.

Sunday School is one of the WORST ways for children to learn the Orthodox faith or any Christian faith. Numerous studies over the years have conclusively said that Sunday School does absolutely no good in retaining kids in the faith or having them learn the faith.  It's better for them to be at the Liturgy, no matter how hard a task that may be.  

When done correctly, Sunday school takes place at a time before or after Liturgy and it is divided into classes by age group, including adults.  We are never too old to learn.  

But the point is that it's not working, whether taught correctly or not.  I think the Orthodox Sunday Schools take way too much from Protestant models of Sunday School, which aren't working for them either.  

I've not seen a good recent Protestant model although I know of successful ones 60 and 70 years back.

Our Orthodox parish has a successful graded Sunday School up to age 18 but it doesn't meet every week.  Once a month during Coffee Hour.  The participants seem to really enjoy it.  They can ask their own questions and get answers without being judged.  And if one person has a question about something probably ten more do but are too afraid to ask. 
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« Reply #43 on: June 25, 2014, 02:19:31 PM »

If your church has Sunday school, enroll him as soon as possible. If he catches on and is invited at some point to serve in the altar, that could be the best that could happen.

There are many colouring sheets that you can print and give him to keep busy. This is a whole book. Elenie has a lot more resources, especially for when your boy can read independently.

Sunday School is one of the WORST ways for children to learn the Orthodox faith or any Christian faith. Numerous studies over the years have conclusively said that Sunday School does absolutely no good in retaining kids in the faith or having them learn the faith.  It's better for them to be at the Liturgy, no matter how hard a task that may be. 

When done correctly, Sunday school takes place at a time before or after Liturgy and it is divided into classes by age group, including adults.  We are never too old to learn. 

But the point is that it's not working, whether taught correctly or not.  I think the Orthodox Sunday Schools take way too much from Protestant models of Sunday School, which aren't working for them either. 
I think Sunday School worked for protestant churches when the children attended Sunday School before or after the service and then participated in the service with their parents. Nowadays, they do it during the service, so when the kids finally are too old to be in Sunday School, they are dismayed to learn that they can no longer sit around coloring or discussing childhood angst and actually have to participate in a worship service which is much less self-centered and therefore perceived as boring.
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« Reply #44 on: June 25, 2014, 02:35:26 PM »

If your church has Sunday school, enroll him as soon as possible. If he catches on and is invited at some point to serve in the altar, that could be the best that could happen.

There are many colouring sheets that you can print and give him to keep busy. This is a whole book. Elenie has a lot more resources, especially for when your boy can read independently.

Sunday School is one of the WORST ways for children to learn the Orthodox faith or any Christian faith. Numerous studies over the years have conclusively said that Sunday School does absolutely no good in retaining kids in the faith or having them learn the faith.  It's better for them to be at the Liturgy, no matter how hard a task that may be. 

When done correctly, Sunday school takes place at a time before or after Liturgy and it is divided into classes by age group, including adults.  We are never too old to learn. 

But the point is that it's not working, whether taught correctly or not.  I think the Orthodox Sunday Schools take way too much from Protestant models of Sunday School, which aren't working for them either. 
I think Sunday School worked for protestant churches when the children attended Sunday School before or after the service and then participated in the service with their parents. Nowadays, they do it during the service, so when the kids finally are too old to be in Sunday School, they are dismayed to learn that they can no longer sit around coloring or discussing childhood angst and actually have to participate in a worship service which is much less self-centered and therefore perceived as boring.

I will have to relocate those studies since I they were part of the research I submitted to the parish council on an idea proposing to limit the scope of Sunday School.  Not all Sunday schools in the Protestant world meet concurrently with the times of their church services and, from my recollection, do not think that the time Sunday School was held (whether during or before/after services) significantly affected the statistics.
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