Worship and Children

How can parents make participation in the Liturgy and other services meaningful for younger children, who often fuss and distract others?
Sit up front. Help your children see what's going on by taking a seat in the front pews near the aisle; don't expect children to sit still, and don't be afraid to "take a break" if your children need one.
Read along with children. Use the liturgy books provided in the pews, or better yet a children's liturgy book filled with pictures and responses. Find the epistle and gospel readings in your Bible and follow the reading with them.
Sing with your children. If your children are young, encourage them to sing simple responses, like the Alleluias or Amens. If they are older, point to the words (and music if your liturgy book provides) and encourage them to sing along, even if they're off-key.
Help them notice what's going on. Call your children's attention to the priest, icons and seasonal colors. Point out the Little- and Great Entrance, the Consecration, and other key parts of the service.
Help children participate. Help them to memorize common responses at home, like the litany and the Lord's Prayer so they can be part of the service, too.

Adapted from For Parents Only, January/February 1993.

© 1996 by Orthodox Family Life and the original author(s).
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