Homegrown Catholics is an excellent resource for religious education teachers, homeschoolers, and parents. Here you'll see all my lesson plans and project ideas on many Catholic subjects as well as school topics. If you would like to read about my adventures as a Home Educator, click on the St. Brigid's Academy tab above.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Keeping Quiet in the Pew

I've seen one too many children in church holding onto portable gaming devices, having a picnic in the pew spilling juice boxes and snacks, crawling under and over the pews, and tearing apart missals. I've watched too many parents walk out of Mass and never come back with their unruly children. On occasion, I've been that parent! There are too many children in the crying room with parents holding loud conversations. There are too many children in the nursery who don't know how to behave in the church when it's time to receive their First Communion. In some cases, that was us. Something needs to change!
Jonathan Bruce - Baptism (56)
With 7 children of our own, it has been obvious that some productive entertainment is necessary for many families to have along in the church pew at Mass, weddings, funerals and other services. In the past year I've been developing products that are great Catholic accessories to have in your own church bag - or "Quiet in the Pew" bags as I've named them. Items that will enrich their experience of the Mass, not deter from it.
Learning to PrayBoys at Mass
    Six-year-old Angie and her four-year-old brother Joel were sitting together in church. Joel giggled, sang, and talked out loud. Finally, his big sister had enough. "You're not supposed to talk out loud in church."
    "Why? Who's going to stop me?" Joel asked.
    Angie pointed to the back of the church and said, "See those two men standing by the door?  They're hushers."


If you've seen the amount of Catholic workbooks, books, toys, printable activities, etc on the market - you understand that it's tempting to buy it all because you want every chance to enrich your children's faith life. Right? These next few items I've created for my own children and am glad to share them with you.

 Catholic Seek and Find Card Set
Offertory Card
Some may recall my sketched image printable cards I posted for free. Well, they are not all that cute nor durable with frequent use. So I've made a great new collection of cards for you!
CardSample3 CardSample2 CardSample1
   Each set of 30 colorful and child-friendly cards comes as a Digital (PDF) File for you to print as many times as needed. (I currently do not have these premade to ship on my shop, but hope to have a laminated version soon). It also includes a Bingo Game! 14 pages to use as you desire.

Catholic Seek & Find Cards 14pg PDF File

ABCs of our Catholic Faith

My Catholic ABC Book CoverBaptism Edward Joseph

BaptismImmaculate Mary
4x6 Cards to print of these brilliant images, scriptures, prayer, traditions and more. Add to a photo sleeve book, or laminate, hole punch and add a ring.

The Soul Diet: For Kids
Soul Diet 4 Kids sample

Free Printable Booklet about having a satisfying faith life. Children can match, write and color about prayer, virtues, scripture and Sacraments.

   My kids used to be very antsy and sometimes loud during Mass. I'm sure many moms have something in their purse or perhaps a lineup of activity bags in the pew. Or perhaps you have a strict behavior policy your children adhere to well? I must say, I feel at peace during the first half of The Mass, but sometime around The Consecration, it's "All Hands on Deck!"

   Every young, challenging, or disabled child has a point when they can't sit quietly any longer. Here are more ideas to help engage them in the Mass. If you have other ideas - please share in the comments!

   Sometimes the little ones need something to hold onto. I lean towards plush objects for my toddlers. Nothing that will make a noise or zoom from one end of the pew into another parishioner's purse.
WeeBelievers Mass Kit
   We bought the soft My Mass Kit by Wee Believers when it first came out. It's spendy, but a great soft toy for them to use in role playing.

  I love my Wood Peg Dolls, especially the saints and vocations, but unless you have cushioned pews that might be a lot of banging. If you bring them along, be sure to have a blanket or pew-sized playmat available! (Now there's an idea I can sew next!!!)


   I have a few versions of books for my children to follow along with the Mass, and multiple other Catholic Readers of sorts. The trick is letting them know ahead of time you cannot read it to them during Mass. Books I carry in my bag are full of pictures, and some have a handle. They like that. You can find my favorites on my Amazon Church Wish List!

Our Little Catholic Corner shows how to make your own soft book.

   We have used MagnifiKid's missal, and it was nice but they are specific to that year, so we cannot reuse them. They do not have as many activities as the St. Mary's Messenger magazine as I've seen on their website.
- St. Mary's Messenger Magazine for ages 7-12
Magnificat's - MagnifiKid Sunday Missal for ages 7-12


   Many mom's have expressed that "Lap-Books" are excellent for any quiet time. It is easy to find ideas online to create them. These are great for the car ride to church, or instead of Sunday cartoons while you get yourself ready to go.


Catholic Kids Bulletin by Is There Zucchini in This (blog)
Today's Gospel Activity Sheets by CatholicMom.com
Mass Worksheets for ages 7-14 by CatholicMom.com

Catholic Focused Printables
Celebrating the Mass Lesson Plans by The Catholic Toolbox (1st Gr+)
Plenty of Enrichment Ideas at Catholic Icing
Many links also found at ReligiousResources.org

     One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Alex was staring up at the large plaque that hung in the foyer of the church. The plaque was covered with names, and small American flags were mounted on either side of it.
     The seven-year old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up, stood beside the boy, and said quietly, "Good morning Alex."
     "Good morning pastor," replied the young man, still focused on the plaque.
     "Pastor McGhee, what is this?" Alex asked.
     "Well, son, it's a memorial to all the young men and women who died in the service."
     Soberly, they stood together, staring at the large plaque. Little Alex's voice was barely audible when he asked, "Which service, the 8:30 or the 11:00?"

Where coloring may be allowed…

Divine Mercy Jesus by TheDivineMercy.org
Great Saints Coloring Book by Relevant Radio
Saint Coloring Pages by Waltzing Matilda

First Communion Coloring Pages by Elite Dresses.
first_communion_mass communion_cup_host
>> Many more coloring pages at the website.

First Communion prayer by FatimaKids.com
1st Communion Prayer
>> They also have a delightful collection of Catholic Comics.

For at a Funeral  Unknown artist.

Funeral - carry casketFuneral - burial

Or just search online "Precious Moments Coloring" or "Catholic Coloring" "Saints to Color"

STORES - Visit one near you, or shop online!
The Catholic Company
Catholic Supply
St. Patrick's Guild
Christian Book
Catholic Family Gifts

If you got all the stuff and are wondering how to put it together for your kids, or perhaps as a project for the church - check out my home business blog post about what I made for our parish!


   If you go online, there is much to be said about this subject. Here's a printable list of hints I found at King of Peace.  Rather well said.

   Fr. Saunders comments on Appropriate Behavior in Church. He writes "Jesus loves and welcomes children, but they do need our help." This is an excellent article for all ages of churchgoers. After all "Manners, whether at Mass or in other situations, reveal the value we place on each other and God. "

   You might read this article about "Avoiding Mass Hysteria." She approaches the situation by not "packing their picnic baskets-activity bags for church"  but helping the children focus on each part of the Mass. "Children are fast learners. The key is consistency." I agree that too many parents are allowing handheld games, tempting snacks and other ridiculous options to enter The Lord's House! She suggests:
*Until a child is 3 years old, he is a lap-sitter. His feet simply do not touch the ground. The child is held lovingly, but firmly, with no exceptions. If he puts up a struggle, he is promptly removed.
   Thanks to Catholic Icing's post, I found a worksheet at TheDivineMercy.org website. You can print a chart for children about Behavior at Mass.

   There is a beautiful article on the subject at FaithandLeadership.com that says "A challenging child in church forces everyone -- parents and other parishioners -- to confront whether we value compliance over compassion." She has a son with attention disorder, but her parish saw him as an opportunity to spread Christ's love.

All these wonderful resources! I teach them their religion well, but their focus is easily strayed. This research has really given me a second chance to start over in this area of discipline. I hope you've found it helpful too!

Send me more ideas, links, articles…


Jamie Jo said...

I'm a little embarrassed, I don't see snacks on here?

I think we are the only ones who do snacks in church. Bridget just got weaned from her daytime feedings and needs a little snack of pretzels....which makes my 4 year old hungry.

We've only had one Sunday of no nursing so far and I had to walk her out and hold her in the back. Littles just need to run and can't. It's a hard stage.

I have found the only thing that works is to pray to a couple women I know that died, they were wonderful mothers and help me every time during Mass. My children are not perfect, but we make it and I am patient enough when I remember to pray to them and ask their intercession.

Our "religious" children books are just not interesting enough to keep their attention. They are so wordy and either have basically the same pictures on every page or just not interesting enough pictures for them.

It's hard.
but they grow and I look down the line and see my 3 oldest being so good during Mass and ask myself, "How did I get here?" They are so good.

They used to be naughty in Mass too.
Hang in there Melissa!

PS are you coming to the Easter Party? You still belong to the group and we'd all love to see you!!

sunnymum said...

Thanks for offering the seek and find cards. Keeping quiet during mass is always a challenge. Sometimes, we get to mass early and let them light candles and walk around and that seems to help calm them down.

Monica @ Equipping Catholic Families said...

Nice post! Thanks for mentioning my Reverence and Awe Collector Cards. This is a wonderful resource! I just noticed a pin on pinterest for your cards...and repinned. I wonder if you could check out my current blog series shared with Catholic All Year...our two little boys (15 months and 2.5) are penpals, discussing Mass and Mass Survival Tips! http://www.equippingcatholicfamilies.com/2013/01/a-letter-to-frankie-about-moms-mass.html

Monica @ Equipping Catholic Families said...

oops...any mention of our Arma Dei Shoppe within your list of resources and online stores would be MOST appreciated. We have a number of Catholic books (liturgical crafts, journal) 12+ printable Catechism craft kits and 3 types of quizzing cards.
It's all here: The Arma Dei Shoppe: www.armadei.blogspot.ca

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