Sunday, July 17, 2011

Oh, It's On, Now! (or, how to tell when it's time to teach church etiquette)

So, to put it mildly, church with my three darlings was a very interesting experience. Where shall we start? Caden (1) conducted a one-baby protest movement against listening to his daddy's sermon. This involved kicking, screaming, crying, and throwing toys and juice cups. For the sake of others, it ended with a long walk outside in the hotel lobby and hallway. Round one goes to baby. Stephen (3) recently graduated to full-time pull-up free status (even at night). Unfortunately, he has come to realize that when a recently potty-trained three year old says he needs to potty, grown ups stop everything to help make that happen, even if the three year old in question has already gone to the potty fifteen minutes prior to the current claim. So, while I was occupied with wrestling with the one year old, Stephen made a game of seeing how many times he could get the other grownups to take him to the restroom. Finally, not to be left out, Andrew (7) seemed to believe his chair was a jungle gym. Every time I turned around the boy was sitting backwards, hanging off, or basically trying to do everything except sit in the chair properly.

So, I have come to a conclusion: It is time to roll out the big guns. It is time to revisit for some, and start for others, the Wicks family church training sessions. This is not an original concept. I have read about different versions of this on several Christian parenting websites. Here is my battle strategy:

1. Church training will occur daily at 10:30 am, which is about the time my husband starts the sermon on Sunday mornings.

2. Since The House of Prayer meets in a hotel meeting room, I will line up individual kitchen table chairs to make the experience as similar as possible to the real thing.

3. I will go over the rules. When we are listening to the sermon, our ears are open and our mouths are closed. We are looking at the speaker. We can play quietly with ONE toy or write. We MUST stay seated.

4. Then, I will turn to whatever recorded sermon is on TV and we will watch it for 30 minutes. All the while, I plan to compliment good behavior and redirect as necessary.

5. For the baby, if he cries, I will put my fingers to my lips and say, "Shhh" every time. If he tries to get up or resists, I will very gently press down to keep him in place on my lap.

So, I'll start tomorrow and I'll see if it works this time. I learned of this method after having Stephen, my extremely loud and highly verbal child. I started his training while pregnant with Caden, but then I had to go on bed rest, so I did not get to see how well it works long term. Of course, by the time I returned to church, I had two little ones to train and I just haven't had the time to get back to it. So, it will be interesting to see how my training sessions go. I'll keep you posted.

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