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Help! My Kids are Bored at Mass!

Help! My Kids are Bored at Mass!

Bringing kids to Mass is often a sacrifice of praise in and of itself. Even when tantrums and bathroom breaks are avoided, there's the threat of "boredom."

Children have a relatively short attention span as it is, but when they’re bored… Prepare for the whispering, “Are we almost done?”  to repeat steadily until the end of Mass.

This is natural and understandable. It also offers us an opportunity to train their attention, patience, and understanding of the importance of being at Mass (even when we're bored).

 

Combat Boredom at Mass

 

So what can we, as parents, do to combat boredom?

 

Preparation

 

A worthy investment is preparation before Mass. Not all of these may be possible every single week, but some combination will certainly help kids (and parents!) have a more attentive mindset before stepping through the doors of the church:

  1. Talk about Mass and the major "mile markers" along the way (especially for younger children who are still learning the rhythm of the Mass).
  2. Read and discuss the readings for Mass. Then, while there, see if they remember them!
  3. Spend some time in prayer and reflection. Think about what you're bringing to Jesus at Mass this week. (To help you through the process, we created a free printable that helps your child prepare their heart for Mass each week. Sign up below and print as many as you need!)

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Activities for Kids at Mass

Once at Mass, attention is key, so taking measures to prevent boredom is the best way to make Mass an enjoyable experience.

  • Pack small snacks. Opinions differ on this point, so feel free to do what is best for your family. While you don’t want your child to associate Mass with snack time, children are usually hungry and this is probably the easiest way to solve the problem. This is mostly reserved for babies and toddlers, any older than that and it could form into a habit that you’d rather not encourage.
  • Don’t like bringing food into Mass? Sometimes bringing a snack into church is messy, so if your child is complaining about being hungry, try feeding them right before Mass, or even packing snacks for the car ride.
  • Bring books. Packing board books and small picture books makes it easy to keep children content during Mass. Any of the Carry-Me-Along Board Books are perfect for toddlers, Our Friends the Saints is a good starter.
  • Give them a Mass guide. Not only toddlers have trouble sitting still in Mass! For children of reading age, a Mass guide helps them with following along in the Mass, keeping their minds and hands busy. A Missal for Children by Magnificat is a wonderful option for young readers. For younger children and toddlers, such as 3-6 year olds, My First Catholic Mass Book is a great go-to.
  • Bring coloring books. Coloring books are a great option for little ones. Keeping an eye on children while drawing is a must, you don’t want them to color on the pew. A great option is “mess free” coloring books which comes with markers that can only be used on specific paper.

Keeping little hands busy during Mass is hard, don’t overthink it! Following these five simple steps can help Mass attendance more smooth and pleasant all around.

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