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Old 06-24-2012, 10:19 AM   #1
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Church with an out of control 3 yr old?

I know this is my own fault so please no flames, I'm just looking for advice/support. My 3 yr old ds is so hard to handle right now, I feel like I can't take him out in public anywhere without having a quick exit strategy. After almost a 8 year hiatus of not going to church our family has joined and started trying to attend on a regular basis. The trouble is it's just me and the kids because of my husbands work schedule. There is no nursery that I can use. I cannot get him to sit quietly at all for service. I've tried books, toys, coloring books, even my daughters DS with no volume but usually within minutes of the service starting I have to take him out because his behavior is distracting others. Once outside it just gets worse and I spend the whole service trying to talk him down, he is a high needs kid who constantly needs to be moving and entertained. I don't have anyone to watch him so my daughter and I can go alone and my dd really wants to go to service. I don't know what to do anymore, I can't take another hour next Sunday standing in the back hallway at church while my ds has the never ending tantrum. Today I just sat down on the floor and cried while he laid on the floor and screamed. I'm exhausted and at my wits end. When my daughter was this age she had tantrums but they were short lived and you could talk her down and or reason with her. I've never given in to tantrums, if you have a fit to get your way you are not going to get what you are asking for. His tantrums just never end, and if he has gotten to the point where he has started slapping and pinching me. Church is the worst, I don't take him to other peoples houses anymore. At home when he gets out of control I put him in his room until he can calm down, but that's not an option in public. I feel like I am being held prisoner in my home by my 3 yr old.

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Old 06-24-2012, 10:26 AM   #2
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Re: Church with an out of control 3 yr old?

I would honestly take a break for now and try it again in a few months. I would not go to a church that did not have a nursery or childcare. It's not really reasonable to expect small children and babies to be able to sit there quietly. What are the consequences when he acts out like that? I don't think I've ever met a 3 year old that I enjoyed being around...just kidding. It's just a really hard age. I found with my DS that trying to do anything in the middle of the tantrum just made it worse so I would refuse to give it attention and walk away. That sort of meant that for a few months we stayed close to home or left places immediately but it was effective.

Can you find another church that might fit your needs a little better? Otherwise I really think a break will take the pressure off.
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Old 06-24-2012, 10:36 AM   #3
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Re: Church with an out of control 3 yr old?

I would suggest some "home training" (NOT saying you don't discipline!). Start with just 3 minutes a day (if it is that little, maybe a few times a day would be beneficial. (or even less if he can't do that) of quiet time. Where he must sit quietly with a coloring book, crayons, beading, etc. Slowly work it up daily/weekly (you know your kid!) until he is sitting quietly for as long as you need/want him to. I know it has worked for our children. Mine are now able to sit through a 1.5 hour sermon, lecture, etc. We have sticker bags, water bottles that don't spill, a snack maybe, magnadoodles, each of them have a clip board and sheets of paper with a baggie of crayons/stickers, stencils, beading bags (only thing with this is you have to be watching to make sure it all doesn't go flying.

Kids do great if you give them a chance. We actually have quiet time daily where they each go to their rooms for about an hour (more or less depending on the plans of the day) where they "read" books, color, etc.

Mine are almost 7, 4, and almost 3. (Just wanted to add, my kids are NOT perfect, and there are weeks that we do end up taking them out). And we have been doing this for well over a year (started at around 18 months)

But the training is great for all sorts of things. We are able to attend lectures, graduations, weddings, church, etc without the fear of ruining it for others. And you will be amazed at what they pick up! I LOVE the questions I get throughout the week from all three of the kids

Hope that helps, and I don't come of as some snotty mama with perfect children :P

I also wanted to mention that I have three REALLY busy kids. They cannot sit still (one great thing for us about homeschooling. I know they would be labeled ADHD if they were sent. They are just ACTVE kids.) Sometimes, they end moving their seats around (from the chair to the floor in front of us, on our laps, etc. But they are required to be quiet until it is over.

Last edited by MommyLyssa; 06-24-2012 at 10:39 AM.
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Old 06-24-2012, 10:45 AM   #4
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Re: Church with an out of control 3 yr old?

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Originally Posted by MommyLyssa View Post
I would suggest some "home training" (NOT saying you don't discipline!). Start with just 3 minutes a day (if it is that little, maybe a few times a day would be beneficial. (or even less if he can't do that) of quiet time. Where he must sit quietly with a coloring book, crayons, beading, etc. Slowly work it up daily/weekly (you know your kid!) until he is sitting quietly for as long as you need/want him to. I know it has worked for our children. Mine are now able to sit through a 1.5 hour sermon, lecture, etc. We have sticker bags, water bottles that don't spill, a snack maybe, magnadoodles, each of them have a clip board and sheets of paper with a baggie of crayons/stickers, stencils, beading bags (only thing with this is you have to be watching to make sure it all doesn't go flying.

Kids do great if you give them a chance. We actually have quiet time daily where they each go to their rooms for about an hour (more or less depending on the plans of the day) where they "read" books, color, etc.

Mine are almost 7, 4, and almost 3. (Just wanted to add, my kids are NOT perfect, and there are weeks that we do end up taking them out). And we have been doing this for well over a year (started at around 18 months)

But the training is great for all sorts of things. We are able to attend lectures, graduations, weddings, church, etc without the fear of ruining it for others. And you will be amazed at what they pick up! I LOVE the questions I get throughout the week from all three of the kids

Hope that helps, and I don't come of as some snotty mama with perfect children :P

I also wanted to mention that I have three REALLY busy kids. They cannot sit still (one great thing for us about homeschooling. I know they would be labeled ADHD if they were sent. They are just ACTVE kids.) Sometimes, they end moving their seats around (from the chair to the floor in front of us, on our laps, etc. But they are required to be quiet until it is over.
not snotty at all, thank you so much for the advice. My oldest was such an easy child compared to my second. I feel like I'm doing it alone his time because of hubbys schedule and I am pregnant and battling terrible morning sickness so the last few month I have been way more lax than usual. I'm exhausted and feeling like the worst mom on the planet. The lady at church who rolled her eyes at me didn't help the situation. Emotions are running a bit high today

The home training is a great idea and I will try it, thank you.
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Old 06-24-2012, 10:51 AM   #5
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Re: Church with an out of control 3 yr old?

Hoping things ease for you! I remember those days, and they are rough!! The quiet time will start off hard and you aren't going to want to do it. Stick to it, and I am sure you will love what comes!

A few other ideas for fun quiet things are: tupperware with a hole cut out (small) and filled with a few pompoms. I know my 2 and 4 year old love this- then you take them out, and they just put them back through the hole, an d take them out, and put them back. Super simple, but fun for them.

Felt stories. Get a few small squares of felt and keep one whole. Then cut the others into shapes/houeses/people/ etc. The felt sticks nicely to the square of felt, and they can make their own pictures with it.

Beading bags- just get a pipe cleaner and a few large beads. If you twist one end a little bit, the beads wont come careening off every time he puts a bead on.

I know I have other things in our arsenal, so if you need/want more, let me know! Use those things only during quiet time. They each have a bag that comes out during sermons and such (Now that they are better, NOT during daily quiet time), that is stocked with all things we need. It is ready and hanging down in the basement so when we need it, we just put in a fresh snack and water and we are ready to go. Also, preparing them and letting them know they will be sitting for a while really helps them.
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Old 06-24-2012, 11:07 AM   #6
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Re: Church with an out of control 3 yr old?

I wouldn't take him if he is going to "win" by being out of control. I'd either try a different church with a nursery or get a sitter for him, or take a break from church. There is no way in HELL I would take DS to a church service. I wouldn't get anything out of it because I'd spend the whole time dealing with him, and he'd be HORRIBLE. We leave him in the nursery.
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Old 06-24-2012, 11:08 AM   #7
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it's hard to sit still. It's harder still to be the mom who tries to make a LO sit still. When my MDS was little, we attempted to go to a small church. They had a tiny nursery that was always overflowing. MDS and MDD never could sit still. ODS and ODD could to an extent but would then pick fight with each other. We switched to a larger church so DH ad I could listen to the sermon and get something out of it. Now, DH is doing his internship at a TINY church. There is a very tiny cry room at the back of the sanctuary where I spent the one Sunday I went with MDS (still very active and the youth leader wasn't there that Sunday he would have been ok if he hadnt been upset that the youth leader was absent) YDS, and YDD. YDS is 2 and a half and can't sit still for more than 2 sec. We plan on helping clean up and organize the basement better so that I can do a toddler/baby room in a small room downstairs. It's finished but being such a small church (20 adults and a couple kids) and having no youth leader until recently they stopped using their space efficiently. I probably won't be back for church until we get that done
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Old 06-24-2012, 12:05 PM   #8
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Re: Church with an out of control 3 yr old?

I get so frustrated because there are at least 5 other families with children 3 and younger that seem to sit through church just fine. I feel like I am the only one with a beast child and it feels like a personal failure. I'm sure i'm probably being a bit oversensitive but it's so humiliating.
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Old 06-24-2012, 12:13 PM   #9
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Re: Church with an out of control 3 yr old?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MommyLyssa View Post
I would suggest some "home training" (NOT saying you don't discipline!). Start with just 3 minutes a day (if it is that little, maybe a few times a day would be beneficial. (or even less if he can't do that) of quiet time. Where he must sit quietly with a coloring book, crayons, beading, etc. Slowly work it up daily/weekly (you know your kid!) until he is sitting quietly for as long as you need/want him to. I know it has worked for our children. Mine are now able to sit through a 1.5 hour sermon, lecture, etc. We have sticker bags, water bottles that don't spill, a snack maybe, magnadoodles, each of them have a clip board and sheets of paper with a baggie of crayons/stickers, stencils, beading bags (only thing with this is you have to be watching to make sure it all doesn't go flying.

Kids do great if you give them a chance. We actually have quiet time daily where they each go to their rooms for about an hour (more or less depending on the plans of the day) where they "read" books, color, etc.

Mine are almost 7, 4, and almost 3. (Just wanted to add, my kids are NOT perfect, and there are weeks that we do end up taking them out). And we have been doing this for well over a year (started at around 18 months)

But the training is great for all sorts of things. We are able to attend lectures, graduations, weddings, church, etc without the fear of ruining it for others. And you will be amazed at what they pick up! I LOVE the questions I get throughout the week from all three of the kids

Hope that helps, and I don't come of as some snotty mama with perfect children :P

I also wanted to mention that I have three REALLY busy kids. They cannot sit still (one great thing for us about homeschooling. I know they would be labeled ADHD if they were sent. They are just ACTVE kids.) Sometimes, they end moving their seats around (from the chair to the floor in front of us, on our laps, etc. But they are required to be quiet until it is over.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MommyLyssa View Post
Hoping things ease for you! I remember those days, and they are rough!! The quiet time will start off hard and you aren't going to want to do it. Stick to it, and I am sure you will love what comes!

A few other ideas for fun quiet things are: tupperware with a hole cut out (small) and filled with a few pompoms. I know my 2 and 4 year old love this- then you take them out, and they just put them back through the hole, an d take them out, and put them back. Super simple, but fun for them.

Felt stories. Get a few small squares of felt and keep one whole. Then cut the others into shapes/houeses/people/ etc. The felt sticks nicely to the square of felt, and they can make their own pictures with it.

Beading bags- just get a pipe cleaner and a few large beads. If you twist one end a little bit, the beads wont come careening off every time he puts a bead on.

I know I have other things in our arsenal, so if you need/want more, let me know! Use those things only during quiet time. They each have a bag that comes out during sermons and such (Now that they are better, NOT during daily quiet time), that is stocked with all things we need. It is ready and hanging down in the basement so when we need it, we just put in a fresh snack and water and we are ready to go. Also, preparing them and letting them know they will be sitting for a while really helps them.
These are great ideas. I've heard of doing this before and I even started trying it with my 5 little children. But, it was hard and I didn't stick with it. I think I may pick it up again. I love the ideas you mentioned above and would love to hear more. Thanks for your insight!

OP - We have 5 small kids, all under 6, and one is especially hard in church. Because of this, one of the things we have to do is choose a church that has a nursery or Sunday School class for the kids. Right now, the church we have has the older children (4+) stay in the service for the music and then leave for Children's Church before the sermon. Personally, I don't prefer this set up. I prefer them to be gone the entire service, but we really like this church and are sticking with it. Sometimes it's even tough for us with our 3 just during the singing. I wouldn't be able to keep through the whole service. It would be too much stress on me. However, I would love to do the above and train them to be able to do it. That would be awesome. Anyway, I would try the above and then I would probably look for a church that better fit my needs. I wouldn't stop going to church. Just my

I'm sorry you are feeling so emotional about it. I know I would feel the same in your situation. I rarely even go to church if my husband can't come. Good luck!

Oh and don't forget to pray about it.
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Old 06-24-2012, 12:28 PM   #10
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Re: Church with an out of control 3 yr old?

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Originally Posted by penelope picklebottom View Post
I get so frustrated because there are at least 5 other families with children 3 and younger that seem to sit through church just fine. I feel like I am the only one with a beast child and it feels like a personal failure. I'm sure i'm probably being a bit oversensitive but it's so humiliating.
I feel the same way about my DS in public right now. Keep being consistent and hopefully it will pass.
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