Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Keeping Kids Quiet

At church on Sunday it seemed like no matter what I did, my son wanted to be loud and this is not the ideal place for a loud child! I gave him snacks, had quiet toys in the bag, a sippy cup of juice and books for him to look at. If he gets to restless or loud, my husband generally takes him out of the meeting to somewhere he can still hear the meeting, but Lucas can walk around and play. So, my question to you is:

How do you keep your kids quiet in places you don't want them to be loud or making noise?

Do you find that snacks and sippy cups work, or are there other tools of distraction that work better for you?

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Tannie Datwyler said...

What a GREAT question... one that I think we ALL struggle with. :) Who doesn't have grouchy/roudy toddlers getting all over them during church?

Just like you mentioned... snacks and sippy cups can help. I also bring a HUGE diaper bag to church (and no doubt everyone thinks it is a beast) but it is helpful because then there are lots of ways to change up activities. I suggest that - lots of changes in quiet activities.

Practicing being quiet at home can also help for older toddlers/kids.

Alos, if the toddler is older an FHE lesson on reverence can help (at least it did for our daughter). We revisit that topic FREQUENTLY in FHE because it is something that is ongoing.

Here is one general rule we have for church.... before our babies are 18 months we let them play as much as they want (within reason - I make sure they aren't annoying other people) during Relief Society/Preisthood or Sunday School (my reasoning here is that they will go to nursery and play most of the time there). Then of course when they join nursery I leave their activity up to the nursery leaders. But, during sacrament meeting the kids (no matter the age) need to sit on the bench and play quietly or be taken in the hall and held until calm (not put down). Some kids learn that if they fuss in sacrament meeting they can go play in the hall. That's just one thing...

Most of my comment is related to church, but I think the same principles apply to other places where your child must stay quiet.

Thanks for a great topic. I'm excited to see what other moms do.

Fisher Fam said...

I have to agree with not letting them "down" during specific times, like Sacrament meeting (running up and down aisles is a distraction for me) or in a Doctor's office. It's hard to do, but I'm hoping it will pay off in the future. My son is almost 3 and does pretty well (most of the time) and my 1 yr old daughter is learning still, but overall is well behaved, unless she's tired. We have lots of quiet toys, color wonders markers, and books that we take for church(I put them into my sons backpack and he carries it in and out for me, it makes the diaper bag a bit lighter). Snacks are vital in this house. Things like goldfish, fruit snacks, cereal, bread, and sippy cups of juice. When my son was about oneish, I would have a "last resort" treat, usually marshmallows, or something that he REALLY liked, but didn't get often. They would come out when it felt like the battle was being lost :) For other quiet appointments I take my IPOD with some headphones. We have movies on it and my son LOVES it! We use it on airplanes and in the car as well. It's smaller than a DVD player, so it's easier to haul around to some places. We'll have to reevaluate when my daughter wants to watch as well ;) I'm excited to see what other ideas people are using to help during quiet times!

Jessie said...

Yeah, my kids are expected to stay with us in our bench (and we've learned to NEVER sit on a front row of any sort... gotta keep 'em contained!), and they learn that from the beginning. If they do go out in the hall, they're not allowed to play. For the meeting (this is generally for Sacrament meeting), I bring crackers and craisins, as well as a sippy with water, and maybe other snacks, depending on what we have around the house. I also bring markers/paper/coloring books, regular reading books, and maybe a few little toys, like my daughter's miniature princess dolls. Also, though, my kids are learning that they don't get snacks or toys until after the Sacrament--something my family always did. I think it turns the focus towards the Sacrament--at first because they just want to get through it, but hopefully eventually because it is the important part of the meeting. The biggest thing, again, I think, is consistency--if you want to establish some sort of rule, you have to stick with it continuously.

Universitybabe said...

Okay, so I know I am the psycho mom but the few things we have done have helped a lot and I have a 4yr old, a 3 yr old, a 2 yr old, and now an infant. The routine that works for us:
1. Get there early--kids generally want to know their surroundings and it takes us five to ten minutes to get them calmed down and sitting quietly They start to notice things like prelude music, speakers, and order of hymns. (We've gotten so that we let the older ones take turns deciding where we sit--giving them some control)
2. Sacrament is an ordinance--it is different from the rest of the day and I want my kids to know it is different--I will take a baby out to be fed or a newly potty trained kid to the restroom (unless I think they are just trying to get out.) Otherwise, my kids get nothing, no snacks, no toys...nada They can get through an hour. Believe me, we know when a meeting has gone over the alotted time.
3. Each of my children has a paperback BOM and eraseable pencil if they settle down early they color words or letters that they know in their scriptures but they get put away once the meeting starts.
4. I have found that each of my children goes through a phase between 1 and 18 months when they test my limits and are learning what they can and can't do. So, we take them out when they start disturbing others--usually clear out to the hall where we hold them on a lap--if they calm down we go back in. But it is a progression, sometimes I can stand up and the child will be quiet so I just carry them to the back of the chapel and stand by the door until they are ready to sit with us again. Sometimes they get quiet in the hall and to prevent leaving 100 times I will progress to just standing inside the chapel that way too. Soon they figure out that they get nothing but being held by being noisy and they have more freedom when they are quiet.
5. Like others have mentioned the floor is off limits--I am not chasing a kid around the chapel.
6. And the latest gem that we discovered; I wanted my kids to know that the Sacrament was more than just the boring meeting before nursery/primary and I was noticing that they didn't know a lot of scripture stories. So, during the sacrament we help them focus on Christ by my husband or I telling the kids in a whisper a story about Jesus. Now they ask us when the wiggles get to them while we wait for the sacrament to tell them a story of Jesus.

P.S. I am with Tannie when it comes to R.S. and Sunday school--they can do most of what they want (within reason).

Kelly A. said...

Our "secret weapon" that helps in church is a mini Magna Doodle. It allows my little girl to "color" without me having to pack/keep track of crayons and paper. We also take snacks and a sippy. And I have found that when I rotate what small toys/books I take to church, that helps too.

Jared and Delia said...

Age one to 18 months/almost 2 is the hardest age for sitting in church! I think that all the advice given already is great. Take that and just be patient. Your one year old will gain the self control to be more reverent sooner than it feels like right now.

I have gained good ideas for my kids. THanks!

Kaylyn said...

I try to have a just for church toy and book. I don't let her play with it during the week, so it is "new" and keeps her attention a lot longer than one she plays with all the time. We are now in a ward with tons of kids so it loud to start with so one more kids noise is nothing. We also do different treats to keep it entertaining.
Next I have seen lots of families bring the Friend to church, it seems to help a lot of kids be quite. I also follow a lot of what others said.

Chris and Laura said...

I am really glad this question came up. My daughter is 16 months old and I am going INSANE trying to keep some kind of control over her during church. Thank you for all the great ideas!

One thing that I am fairly adamant about has already been said. If we take her out into the hall, she does not get to play at all. She sits on our lap, occasionally by force, until she calms down. It's hard with her being so young, since she probably can't tell the difference between church and the rest of the week very well. But, I want to teach her from the beginning that we are reverent during church and the place to be is in the meeting, not in the hall.

There was a girl in my ward who said that when her son (21 months) is acting up, they take him in the coat room with the light off. He has to sit on their laps in the dark until he calms down, then he can go back in. The dark makes it more appealing to be quiet, I guess. I haven't found this to be helpful with Jane (the dark mostly freaks her out more), but it's an idea if you need something else to try.

Thanks again for all the ideas!