Dworin, 38, a mother of three and a former parenting magazine editor, blogs about the quirky journey of her Lutheran family: Dan, 39; Janine, 11; Ben, 8; Jillian, 5; and Harpo and Louis, circus-sized poodles, at www.thelutheran.org/blog/parenting.
Q: My wife packs snacks and toys in her purse to keep the kids calm during church. Our daughter is now 10, and my blood pressure spikes when I see her scarfing Goldfish crackers and playing games alongside her little brother. Shouldn’t she participate in worship by now?
A: It’s normal for kids to get antsy at church, which is why Cheerios, quiet toys and crayons are Sunday morning staples. Playing and snacking in the pew, though, can be hard habits for parents with older kids to break. Leave at home the things that bug you and lay out your expectations before you head to church. Sit up front. When kids have a better view, they’re more likely to pay attention and participate. Plunk down between your kids to help keep the peace. Think twice, though, before you ban doodling. Artwork can be a creative expression of worship for children and teenagers.
Send questions to Diana Dworin.
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