- Create lots of little “low stress” opportunities for your kids to practice siting quietly. Meal times are a great example. Get kids in the habit of sitting still and quietly at the table for each meal. Reward good behavior and follow through on warnings to discourage disobedience. You have to take this seriously for it to work, and you have to stay consistent.
- Before church or any other planed destination where quietness is required:
- Explain to your children what you expect before you arrive at your destination. Say, “We are going to a place where you have to be as quiet as a church mouse. Let’s practice. What does a church mouse say? ______ That’s right, nothing.”
- Explain why they must stay quiet: So that you are able to worship Jesus and focus during the service, and so they do not distract other people around them. Also, explain what the consequences will be if they are rowdy and disruptive. For my kids, being rowdy or disruptive includes: Laying on the floor, pulling on people around them, distracting others around them, talking or making noise, getting up and down, putting their feet on the chairs, going in and out to use the bathroom (I have them use it before the service), and sitting to color when they should be standing to sing.
- Go prepared! Bring an activity bag for your children. Having the element of surprise with what is in the bag makes it that much more exciting. Do not pull the bag out right away. Let your children pay attention to the activities first (singing at church, etc.), and then bring the bag out.
- Explain to your kids ahead of time that you have a bag of activities. Say, “I will tell you when you may see and play with what is in the bag. It is important that you keep your hands in your lap. You may not lift your hands above your head because you will be a distraction to the other people around you.”
Figure out what works best for your child. Because I cannot sit next to my kids much of the time, I have found they actually do better sitting completely by themselves within eyesight of me at all times. Some kids do so much better next to a specific individual or a complete stranger! Do you have an older adult that could “adopt” your child every once in a while by sitting next to him or her?
7. Lap Books/Quiet Games like the ones found here: Pinterest: Quiet Books