5 things my son who hates going to church has done.

We started going to our church when our son was about 6 months old. He is almost 4 now. He has barely ever been out of our sight while he is there. So I feel pretty confident in vouching that nothing bad or traumatic has happened. I don’t know if it’s because of the people or music or having to sit still, but he does not like going to church. I would even be as bold to say that he hates it.

I am not proud of it. We are “those” parents with “that” kid. We have tried all sorts of strategies and appeasements. Some visits are smoother than others, but by the time we make it home around noon on Sundays, my husband and I typically feel like Vikings that survived battle. We are still hoping he will grow out of it or we will find a way to make it more comfortable for him. In the meantime, here’s a list of some things my son who hates going to church has done.

  1. He wouldn’t go to nursery unless I was the nursery worker. Yep it was either me or let whoever was on nursery duty handle a 30-45 minute meltdown. They always said it was okay, but I felt bad to put them through that. He is old enough for children’s church now and does better with that. Or at least he goes to children’s church without me.
  2.  He cries every time we pull into the church parking lot.We tell him that we are going to church, but on the short drive there he tries to convince us to go in the opposite direction. Then he instantly wails as our wheels turn into the church lot instead of magically taking him back home or to a playground.
  3. He offers to wait in the car. 
  4. We get him calmed down enough to go inside, but as soon as he sees the preacher he will cry again.
  5. One Wednesday a group of us were decorating the fellowship hall for an upcoming event while Wednesday evening church service was taking place. My son got away from me for a minute, and then I heard my name being called from inside the sanctuary. There my son was dancing behind the preacher on the edge of the baptismal interrupting service. I was mortified. Of course, that was the best time he had ever had in church.

We have learned that it goes best if he eats well before we go. Thanks to a fellow churchgoer we have learned that if we have goldfish (don’t judge) for him to snack on, he is more likely to sit quietly until children’s church begins. He tends to do better when we are able to attend consistently.

How do your littles act in church? What are your tips for making Sunday mornings smoother?


40 thoughts on “5 things my son who hates going to church has done.

  1. The couple of times I’ve taken mine they were monsters. It was horrible. Once they are both old enough for Sunday School I;m hoping to go more regularly, but for now, forget it. I only go once in a while when Husband is off work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s nice to know mine aren’t the only ones. Our church is small and the others kiddos that go seem okay. Thanks for the comment. Maybe that’s something we should consider.


    1. My littles have usually done ok but but my new 18 month old will not go. And that’s OK. It feels kinda wrong to me to force it on him. He’ll eventually like it and go. So for now if we go, we usually hang out in the nursing room or the nursery so I can either watch the service or at least fellowship with other mamas.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I meant it feels wrong g to me to force my little Timothy. Not that you were doing anything wrong. Sorry if it sounded that way. I’ve always forced all mine to go, but Timothy is different

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m the nursery attendant at our church. I’ve only had to go get a parent one time to come get her child. Only because he was so upset I was afraid he was going to make himself sick. When the kids see me come in, they run to the snack shelf and they’re ready to stay. So bribing them with snack is a good thing and what seems to work for us. By the way, I love his ways of trying to get out of going.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The first thing that comes to mind is taking this to God, if you are not already. He is the one you are developing your familys’
    relationship with so let Him be part of the solution.

    Prayer for instruction & peace over the kiddos, Mom & Dad can be very revealing as well as uplifting for each of you. I can’t say we have ever had this type of battle with our girls. But, at their pre-teen years we had to hit our knees for God to grow a stronger desire in their hearts to know Him more & better. Those days were tough…..the girls didn’t enjoy transitioning from children’s church to youth and made excuses, rational & many times wouldn’t stay in youth service. What does a mother do with a defiant pre-teen at church? It can be as troublesome as a toddler with tantrums.

    Through God’s grace & understanding we each learned that staying true to our convictions about serving God and letting Him restore our familys’ peace & stability about our faith paved away for our attendance to church.

    I hope this helps and will keep you & the family in our prayers.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for this comment. I found it very encouraging. I can see how the preteen age would be it’s own set of challenges. I remember being on that end of it actually.


  4. He offers to stay in the car?? He is funny! Coloring books and snacks. Also earbuds and ESPN, oh wait, that’s my boyfriend! Sorry. Children are very intuitive, maybe he senses something you don’t. We’ve all been there and it will get better!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I feel for you. Our son usually saves his meltdowns for church. Snacks have helped but this is just too close to his nap time. At 2.5 it’s hard to try to reason with him… You are doing great and he will figure it out soon. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Awww so much Light and love to your son. This sorta made me smile in his antics, they are sweet (maybe not as much for you all the time, right?). Maybe his dancing is a way to bring joy into church. Anyway, have a WONDERFUL weekend, and blessings to your entire family. ❤


  7. Dylan wouldn’t go to the nursery at all until she was at least 2, but Mia was always fine. We’ve been a lot more consistent about going since Mia was born, so I’m sure that made a difference. It was definitely a lot worse when the girls were younger because it interfered with nap time! Dylan started sitting through church when she was maybe 3 1/2 (we don’t have children’s church) and it’s USUALLY without a problem. She gets to bring her backpack that has her special church coloring books & quiet activities that she doesn’t get to play with during the rest of the week, so she’s always excited. I try to remember to pack a snack, too.

    Also, we try to talk about going to church when we’re doing our bedtime routine on Saturday nights & maybe sing the Doxology (because we sing it every Sunday) or recite the Lord’s Prayer (again, because we say it every Sunday) just so she has certain things to listen for the next day that she already knows or recognizes.

    Good luck, lady!!


    1. You know, sometimes he actually does better by just sitting in my lap. Maybe I need to watch his cues closer. I don’t mind him not going to children’s church as long as I’m not fighting to keep him still and quite through the entire sermon.

      Good ideas about prepping them on Saturdays!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. “Like Vikings after battle, “haha, I love that!

    I have not attempted bringing my toddlers into church. I never attended regularly myself, and the idea seems frightening. Though, I remember going to Sunday school as a kid–they just pushed all the kids into another room with little felt boards and Biblical cartoons. Smart, lol 🙂


    1. I meant the idea of taking my kids to church seems frightening, not regular attendance in general. Just reread my comment and realized that could be read different ways 🙂


  9. Hope your small guy learns to love church and even more to love God. I like the comment to pray for the whole situation– and was not above bribery myself. I gave our oldest a stick of gum after church if he went happily to Sunday school–he was such a shy kid. You’re a great mom Lacey– pray it all goes better ahead…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’s awesome that he goes. Our kids are older but I still remember the huge stack of stuff we took with us, just to keep them occupied and not take over the building.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hmmmm. ‘ When we go more regularly he seems to be better.’ I think once he go regularly, observe the other kids, get to know both kids and adults he will be better. Now he may feel he is among strangers… many of us, including adults, are not comfortable with stranger’s. It with get better with time.


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