Many times, pastors' children dread the church services. Their parents often feel everyone is watching the children and they stress to the child what he or she should or should not do during the service. Instead of learning to view church as a blessing, the pastors' children often think of it as a joyless occasion.
This need not be the case. Pastors' children are no different than other children. Parents would do well to keep this in mind.
Begin the Sabbath morning in a calm manner. Children sense when parents are rushed and fretful. Lay out the children's clothing the night before. Make the children a simple breakfast and encourage them to enjoy God's bountiful food.
Give the children a break between Sabbath School and the Divine Worship service. Take them to the bathroom, let them have a drink at the water fountain. if possible, take them outside for a brief walk. Be careful not to make the break too exciting because the child may have a hard time settling down for the worship service.
Find a good place to sit. Don't worry about where you think some of the church members think you should sit. Rather, locate a place where the child can sit quietly and enjoy the service.
Encourage the child to take part in the worship service. Teach the child the hymns and sing together. Teach him or her to stand or kneel when the congregation does. Make the child feel he or she is an important part of the service.
Depending on the child's age, restlessness may be a problem. Plan ahead and bring a quiet book or toy along to keep him or her busy. An older child might bring a small notebook for recording specific facts of the sermon or tallying the number of times the minister says "love" or "God" or some other word.
Praise the child after the service. Be cautious about mentioning bad behavior and even slower to punish mistakes. A child who associates church with spankings is not learning to like church. It is better to emphasize what the child did that pleased you. Tell the child, "I was so proud of you when you knelt so quietly during prayer" or "I enjoyed hearing you sing with the congregation."
Remember, attending church is not only a religious experience, It is also a social one. The people we worship with become our friends. Take your children to the social functions of the church so they too can make friends.
Most importantly, accept the fact that children will make mistakes. If a child misbehaves and will not stop when told to do so, take him or her out of the sanctuary until he or she calms down. At such a time, remind yourself that your task is to teach the child how to know God and to worship Him—even if this sometimes may mean "disturbing" older people in the church.
Help your child associate the worship service with the love of Christ. Make sure your child looks forward to spending time in God's sanctuary. Church should be a joyous experience for a child—even a pastor's child!