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cardiogirl said in April 30th, 2009 at 8:44 am

All good points, the only thing I would add is to sit closer to the altar. When you are closer to the action, your children have something visual to focus on.

We were resistant to this idea for many years. For a long time we sat in the back row so we were close to the cry room.

Our children are now 9, 6 and 3 and I have to say sitting up close has really helped them handle the hour-long Mass — especially our 3-year-old.

Having a priest who starts Mass on time and doesn’t dawdle is also helpful.

Regardless they can see what’s going on and tend to me more engaged in watching and listening.

We also offer bribes.

If they sit still (relatively speaking) and do not poke at each other we stop to get a doughnut after Mass. And yes, we’ve had days where the doughnut was not earned and much crying and gnashing of teeth occurred on the drive home.

Lastly, I ask my 6-year-old to listen for the word “Jesus” and to squeeze my hand when she hears that word. It helps her listen a bit more closely.

And my 9-year-old likes to listen for the phrase: “The Mass has ended, let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord.”

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Lorelei said in May 1st, 2009 at 9:57 pm

Thanks for your comment! Yes, sitting up front is a good idea, too. And we’ve used donuts for bribes . I really like your suggestion about asking the child to listen for a specific word, like Jesus. That’s brilliant! And your nine-year-old sounds a lot like my 27 year old son.

Sometimes, I like to mention to my kids on the way in to Mass what the readings are going to be about, so they can listen for them. That means I have to be organized enough to know, but sometimes it happens!

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