“Then little children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.’ And he laid his hands on them and went on his way.” Matthew 19:13-15
When I was in kindergarten – and maybe this is still the case – we had a “Room Grandma.” She was an older woman who would come in once or twice a week and to help the teacher. Perhaps she would engage with some of the kids during free play, perhaps she would help a group with a craft project, or perhaps she would escort a child to the nurse if necessary. Whatever she did, she was there to take some of the load off of the teacher and give the children some extra attention. My class always looked forward to the time when “Grandma” would be in the room.
When you bring your child to church, consider that there might be Grandmas, Grandpas, Aunts, and Uncles in the pews around you, just waiting for a chance to help you out a bit and bond with your child. Our church family is an extension of our blood family, and your child should be encouraged to form relationships with the adults in the congregation, as well as the children.
I think we are blessed at St. John’s to have a congregation with many members who are willing to help parents. I’ve seen many people offer to hold a baby, amuse a toddler, or give an encouraging word to a grade schooler. Wonderful things can come from these small moments. Your child might find a spiritual mentor who can demonstrate Christ’s love, patience, and understanding, as well as His unconditional acceptance of the little ones. If nothing else, you’ll get help managing a somewhat unruly small person during service!