Keeping my 1 1/2 year old busy

on Apr 05, 2015 @ 09:13 am

We go to church every Sunday and I'm running out of ideas to keep my son busy. He throws a fit cause he wants to leave and walk around the church. Which I don't want to do but end up doing cause he's bored. I bring new toys every Sunday and I made a quiet book but that only keeps him busy for so long. Any other ideas?

6 Replies

. on Apr 05, 2015 @ 10:49 am

We are in the same age group here. I don't think there is much you can do, because they are in the stage when they wanna walk/run around, explore things. When we go somewhere my purse has turned into bag full of things to entertain the little explorer and still there will always be a moment when all she wants to do is walk around.
Sorry im not a big help here. Get a sticker book maybe, that might keep him busy for little bit :))
Good luck! And share experience if you discover some magic tricks :)

Thank you on Apr 05, 2015 @ 11:38 am

Thank you. A sticker book is a great idea. I'll have to go look for a few!

toddler on Apr 05, 2015 @ 03:46 pm

When we take our Grandsons to church(ages 6 yrs and 19 months), I like to bring coloring books and washable crayons. I give each his own coloring book and crayons. My 6 yr old Grandson, I give him colored pencils and crayons. My 19 month old Grandson gets a coloring book with the jumbo pack of 8 crayons. He thinks he's a big boy and scribbles every where on the coloring books.

Church on Apr 05, 2015 @ 10:21 pm

This is a tricky age range for children, since their attention span and patience are both very limited. Since church can be an environment with lots of stimulation for the senses, this could be too much to bear for him/her. There's music, other children who may be crying, lots of people around them, it gets hot, etc... Then they are made to remain in a confined space without the permission to run around and play like they do at home. It's not fun nor easy for them. Your 1 1/2 year old is still not at the level to fully understand what it means to remain quiet and seated, but the following tips below can help you as he grows older. For the time being, all you can do is be patient, provide some snacks such as Cheerios or bits of fruit to munch on and some age appropriate toys.

1. As he starts to get a little older, start training him to become accustomed to the general rules that pertain to that environment. Often times, we ask children to exhibit a certain behaviour, but we forget to teach them exactly what that behaviour means. Show them exactly what it looks like and sounds like to be quiet, to sit without disturbing others, etc... Don't just tell them it's quiet time without them knowing how to go about doing this. Prepare your child in advance by talking to him about where you will be going and that it is a place for praying. Model this behaviour for them. As of 2-3 years old, you can role play "going to church" at home and practice the behaviours your child needs to learn. Initially, if you'll be providing a busy toy or activity, this will mean practicing how to play quietly, and later on, progressing towards sitting quietly without any toys, to eventually just praying.

2. Reward them when they have made an effort. You can start by giving them a sticker that they can place on the calendar every time you come back home from church. At the end of the month, they can get/choose a bigger reward such as an afternoon at the park or a play date with their friends. Make sure to target the behaviour you're looking to fix. Telling your child they were well behaved is a little too general. Instead, praise them according to what they learned to do, such as whispering or keeping their hands to themselves. You can designate a behaviour for each month. Again, tell them in advance, "This is what we're going to try to do the next time we go to church.". Concentrate on the positive such as, "We're going to try to sit for 10 fingers before we can get up and walk." instead of "We're going to try not to get up from our seat." During the mass, gradually hold up a finger at a time to show them how much more waiting they need to do. This will give teach them to be more patient and also learn the concept of time.

3. Be prepared. Sit at the very end of the pew in order for you to get up easily and not have to disturb others. It also really helps to sit at the very front where there are less people around your child. This will also make your child more aware that there is something important happening in front of them and they will be more likely to pay attention for longer periods of time.

4. I know lots of parents prepare toys and busy bags for their children to play with during mass so that they can remain quiet and occupied. This is great initially when they are still infants or toddlers, both for their sake and for your sanity. By the time they are 4 years old, they should be taught that at their age, toys will no longer be allowed in church. Explain to them that when they were babies, toys helped them stay calm during mass because they could not understand how to do certain things like sit quietly. Explain to them that now that they are smarter and older, they have an important job to do, which is to show the younger children how to pray. You're going to prepare them in advance at home, gradually weaning them off the toys and activities, bringing less and less with you as time progresses.You can even give them a "Praying Assistant" badge so that they feel like they have a responsibility to teach the younger ones. Again, use the behaviour tracking and reward system to reinforce this.

5. It's important to be lenient at first. They'll start gaining a better understanding as they hit the age of 2-3 years old and up, so in the meantime, be patient and expect to have to get up and excuse yourself from the congregation in order to give your child a break. An hour long mass is quite a big feat for a child this age to endure, so if you see your child getting antsy, get up and get some fresh air or take a bathroom break. You may have to do this more often at the beginning, but it's perfectly normal.

If you need any other tips or advice regarding children, I can give you my professional opinion, as I'm a teacher. Just let me know and I'll be glad to help! Hang in there and good luck!


Small idea on Apr 06, 2015 @ 10:36 pm

Gums or mints work well to occupy my son.

Phone on Apr 07, 2015 @ 09:58 am

My little sister used to be like this. I'd have an album of photos on my phone for her, like puppies and kittens and things, and she'd scroll through them while at church and it kept her occupied for a while.

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