Monday, April 11, 2011

Living the Gospel in Latter-Days: Partaking of the Sacrament

I am a convert to the church and therefore have a different background when it comes to the sacrament. In many other Christian churches children are not allowed to take the sacrament/communion until a set age. After joining the church I was surprised to find that children as young as 1 year old took the sacrament. I didn't think it was necessarily wrong, it was just different from what I had been taught.

I have 3 children and my two older children do take the sacrament. I started letting them take it when they showed an interest in doing so. When they do take it I remind them in a quiet whisper that we take the bread and water to remember Jesus. I try to reinforce what the sacrament is for so they know it is not just any bread and water.

Sometimes I feel that I'm taking the sacrament too lightly. I also want my children to understand its importance. I don't want to deny them the sacrament, but at the same time they aren't renewing a covenant like I am so it is a bit confusing as to where they stand in reference to the sacrament.

How can I make the sacrament more special for my children?
How can I make the sacrament more meaningful for myself even when I have young children to tend to?
At what age do you let your children take the sacrament? Why?

For us, one thing we do is to only let our children focus on the Savior during the administration of the sacrament. We let them look at pictures of Jesus or "read" board books about Jesus. We use the Gospel Art Kit as a main source to find pictures of Jesus. This I think helps them understand that the sacrament is different.

One other thing we have done is to have an FHE lesson on the sacrament whenever we feel that we are all disrespecting the administration of the sacrament. This seems to help us bring it all back into focus.

Share your ideas! We'd love to hear what you do to make the sacrament meaning for your family.



BECKY said...

you're a convert????

Anonymous said...

I felt like I really needed the sacrament yesterday. Of course, the 2 year old also seemed more hyperactive than normal. Of course right? So I held her tightly on my lap and whispered urgently to her that I needed her to be quiet for a few minutes. I needed to pray to Heavenly Father and say "sorry" for the bad choices I made this week. "Can you fold your arms and close your eyes with me?" I was able to get what I needed. I think she sensed that I really needed the quiet right then. Children are sensitive to spiritual things. I concluded with, "Thank you. :) Now my bad choices are all gone. You were very reverent. Would you like to look at books now?"

Laura said...

We let our kids take the sacrament regularly starting when they go into nursery. By that time, they at least have some kind of attention span to sit quietly, as well as the coordination to take the sacrament themselves. I think it's important they are doing it personally rather than me giving it to them, so they start to have some kind of feeling that it is a personal thing.

One thing we do for sacrament meeting in general is not have any toys or snacks or anything until the sacrament is over. We will occasionally pull out a picture of Christ for them to look at, but nothing else until the speakers begin their talks. It helps start the meeting with some kind of reverence (hopefully!) and keeps the distractions to a minimum during the actually passing of the sacrament.

One thing I find helpful for myself is to really listen to the words of the sacrament hymn. There is a lot of peace and power that can come in the music, and because the entire congregation is singing, I can generally hear the words even if the kids are a little rambunctious at the time.

Alyssa Harper said...

I've always been torn on whether or not to let my toddler take the sacrament. So far, I haven't let him. Although sacrament time is, of course, a time to reflect on the Savior and the Atonement, actually partaking the bread and water is something we do to renew baptismal covenants. Because my boy hasn't made those covenants yet (and I want him to understand the significance of it), I think I'll hold off until he's 8. I absolutely don't think it's wrong for other parents to let kids take it though. It's just a personal choice I've made as a parent.

I like everyone's ideas to focus in on the Savior during sacrament time. We do churchy-board books and work on sitting quietly, whispering about Jesus too. My boy's only 2 and has the attention span of a squirrel, seriously, so mostly it goes in one ear and out the other...but eventually it'll start to sink in. :)

BECKY said...

For me, from the time they start solids at home, they can partake of the bread. I like to get them in the habit of taking it. I couldn't ever refuse my toddler from taking it. The water will as she masters a cup. And the explanations will come all along time varying in degree as she understands more.

Ruby in the Rough said...

Jay and I don't have our kids take the Sacrament. We figure they don't need it until after they're baptized. It gives them something extra to look forward to.