A few tips for a successful Sunday morning church experience for preschoolers:
Parenting takes time—a lot of time. Consistent, repeated effort to manage the many phases children go through between ages one and five is crucial for the best, most efficient outcome. Below are some suggestions to manage some difficult experiences and help both the child and the parent.
- Use positive conversation about church at home. Avoid saying, “Don’t be scared.” Do not even give them the idea of fear related to church attendance.
- Use photos of the teachers, along with their names, who will provide care and teach them.
- Go to bed on time the evening before. Lay out clothes to help ease stress on Sunday morning.
- On Sunday, start your day with prayer and a joyful heart.
- Allow enough time so you will not be rushed, and provide a nourishing breakfast.
- Keep parental apprehension in check as your child will surely notice your mood.
- Stay calm and positive, even if your child is hysterical.
- Reassure your child that you will be back soon.
- Allow the teacher to walk your child away instead of you sneaking away. Sneaking away may create more anxiety as it may seem you simply disappeared.
- Make the good-bye brief. Your child may cry, but lingering around will not help the situation.
- Make church attendance a priority. The more you include church in your normal routine, children will learn to expect and accept that we go to church as part of our usual weekly routine.
- Children need to learn to manage separating from parents as a part of normal development.
“Learning to cope is an important developmental task,” says Donald Friedman, noted child psychologist. Reassurance from you that everything is okay builds trust, reinforces that church is a good place to be, and that his teachers love and care for him while you are away.