We believe that worshiping together as a family is important, so it is something that we work hard at. In all honesty, I don't think that I'm very good at teaching the children how to do this well, but I promise that I'm giving it all I've got! I enjoyed reading the book Parenting in the Pew and think it does a good job at explaining the why of worshiping as a family, but I read it in hopes of finding some tips on the how and didn't really get many (for little ones at least). A few weeks ago, I found a post on a blog I have recently been enjoying that gave some ideas on keeping young children in church and I was excited to see an idea I hadn't thought of! I didn't follow exactly what she does what her children, but I got an idea from it.
Trevor now has a notebook that we bring for him into the service and each week I prep a page with words that I hope will be in that week's sermon. I generally include the name of the book the text will be out of and then some key words from the verses that come after the ones from that past weeks sermon (and just cross my fingers that I've picked words that our pastor is actually going to use =).
Instead of writing the words out completely, I make them with dashed lines, so Trevor can practice tracing letters. If applicable, I put a picture of the word next to it so he can guess what word it is. Before the sermon we talk about what words to be listening for and during the sermon we point to the word or picture when we hear it. It doesn't keep him listening intently for the entire sermon, but it definitely helps! It always melts my heart when he says a word after our pastor says it. I just love to know that he actually is listening even though he doesn't understand everything.
This is what a finished sheet looks like....
If you don't keep your children in the service with you, I encourage you to prayerfully consider it! If you do keep your children with you, do you have any ideas that you have used to engage your children?