Warning: A Rant

May 16, 2004 | 24 comments
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Babies are making me crazy. I can’t talk over them in Gospel Doctrine and I can’t hear over them in Relief Society. For a Church that’s so pro-family, why is that we do nothing for the 0-17 month crowd except force their parents to spend two hours each week trying to get them to stop licking people’s shoes?

Seriously, where do you go with your little ones during Church when they won’t sit quietly? In my ward, the answer is: nowhere. You stay in class and let them scream, even if it means that no one else can hear the lesson.

I don’t want to sound like I am blaming these parents. The alternative is to walk the halls (no one needs that much exercise), or, assuming you can pry the deacons off of the only couch in the entire building, to sit in an area that offers your kid nothing to play with except a breakable lamp, an extension cord, and an outlet with no protective cover (were our church lobbies designed by the American Trial Lawyers Association?).

Every time we have a child in this age range, I become apoplectic at the continual, wearying senselessness of trying to make it through Church. I suppose there might be a lesson here on enduring to the end (‘the end’ being defined as the age when you get to send them to nursery and do the happy dance in the hallway), or perhaps good grist for a reality show (“In our next event, we’ll see who can rip more hymn books without their parents noticing, Avery or Abby.” or “Today, Brother Jones and Brother Garcia face off: which one can keep a toddler quieter with only a sacrament meeting program, pen, and a set of keys?” Or, the way I feel it plays out when I teach: “Today, we’ll see if Sister Smith can make it through the lesson in her usual peripatetic way without stepping on one of the six–count ‘em, six!–babies on the front row. She’ll lose one point for every baby that crawls under her skirt.” Note: so far, that’s happened twice to me while teaching this month. Maybe I should wear shorter skirts?)

I’m venting here, but I am also dreading next year, when I’ll have another bundle of joy in the Screaming Baby catagory. What can be done about this?

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24 Responses to Warning: A Rant

  1. Julie in Austin on May 16, 2004 at 7:40 pm

    fix

  2. Ivan Wolfe on May 16, 2004 at 8:42 pm

    Orson Scott Card says it is because Civilization begins in Sacrament meeting:

    http://www.nauvoo.com/vigor/14.html#five

    After our second kid, I resigned myself to the idea that parents of young kids aren’t meant to get very much out of their church meetings. But our children benefit (hopefully, if we do it right) from the discipline.

    Or I could be deluding myself. I still think OSC’s article above is one of the best on the subject.

    Here’s a brief excerpt from OSC’s article:
    “In fact, the foyers often tell us more about our sacrament meetings than the noise inside. Loudspeakers attempt to allow people in the foyer to hear the meeting, but to no avail. Between the teenagers laughing, the little children playing and running around, the older children scurrying to and from the bathrooms and drinking fountains, and the adults chatting loudly about subjects having nothing to do with the sacrament meeting, it is often impossible to make out the words of the speaker. And if you dare to raise your voice and ask people to pipe down so you can hear the meeting, you are met with glares and resentful comments as people either leave the foyer or, more often, talk a little more softly for a few moments before quickly resuming the previous noise level.

    For the adults, teenagers, and older children in the foyer, I refer you to the standard talk on reverence and courtesy that you’ve heard and ignored a thousand times. You are beyond help, unless you choose to help yourselves.
    But the noisy little children, whose cacophony disrupts the meeting until they are taken outside to run around and screech in the foyer, are not to blame for their behavior: Their parents are training them to do it by rewarding them for it, thus guaranteeing a new crop of unruly teenagers and discourteous adults in the foyers of the future. Schoolteachers, employers, health providers, and law enforcement officials are already dealing with the achievements of such parents in the past.

    Raising Barbarians

    Parents who train their children to have contempt for sacrament meeting are training them to be uncivilized throughout their lives — to be discourteous, easily distracted, inattentive, careless, selfish, unhappy, and generally lacking in the skills needed to earn the love and respect of other people.

    Some children recover from such parental training in irreverence, but the later they come to the realization that they need these skills, the harder it is to acquire them and the less naturally they use them. It’s like learning a language: There’s a window of opportunity when the skill can be acquired almost effortlessly, with no memory of the process of learning it. But to learn it later, you have to overcome many unhelpful habits, and you are never as natural and fluent as those who have had the skill from infancy.

    Parents who are raising barbarians generally think of sacrament meeting as an hour of hellish torment, for it seems to them that everything they do with their toddlers backfires and makes things worse.

    The truth is that bringing a toddler to sacrament meeting is one of the most valuable, even crucial, passages in the process of raising a civilized child.

    For that is the responsibility every parent owes to the public at large: To produce civilized children, who not only refrain from disrupting public order but also actively create and maintain it. It is not easy, but the rules are relatively simple and the process with most toddlers is completed within a few months. Only minimal maintenance is required in later years, and the child will have no memory of any unpleasantness involved in the learning process. “

  3. Kristine on May 16, 2004 at 8:58 pm

    I think it’s barbaric to ask an 18-month-old to be still and quiet for the better part of three hours. They’re not designed to do that, and asking them too (and then telling their parents that they are derelict in their duty if they don’t enforce such unnatural behavior by whatever means necessary) sets up both parent and child for the kind of frustration that leads to really, really ugly parent-child conflicts. Much of the WORST parenting behavior I’ve ever seen (including physical and emotional abuse) comes from parents trying to get their children to be quiet in church.

    Also, OSC’s advice (which I would have agreed with, if I’d never met my first child) ignores the different temperaments children come with. My younger two children can be helped to make it through church meetings with some creative and thoughtful parenting; my oldest just plain couldn’t do it until he was about 5. Comparing his behavior to his relatively docile and low-energy sister’s and brother’s just isn’t fair to them or to me. And OSC would have come to a decidedly less charitable judgment of me from watching me with my first than with the others, despite the fact that I have been the same parent who cares a lot about civilizing my children right along.

  4. Kingsley on May 16, 2004 at 9:39 pm

    Not having any children myself, I find a good shoe-licking a fun distraction from the rigors of Sacrament Meeting. Thank you, all you parents out there, for the truly delightful entertainment. It is one of the great Sunday pleasures to look down at your feet during, say, a tithing talk heavily reliant on Malachi 3:10-11, and see a small, chubby, solemn face staring up at you as if to say, “You’re bored too? What do you say we get out of here and find some sidewalk chalk?”

  5. Anna on May 16, 2004 at 9:48 pm

    I agree with your bewilderment regarding a lack of reverence during worship. I wonder why you did not include Sac. meeting in your list of interrupted meetings. It is certainly the most important of the three meetings, and with so many kids concentrated in so small a place, it’s the most disrupted. Children are not allowed into the temple, except for ordinances.
    I get very angry during Sacrament meeting, too often, because of the inconsideration of parents.
    One thing you can do, which our family does, is to bet candy on which parent will keep his/her wailing baby the longest in sacrament meeting before taking it out. For about 5 to 10 minutes, parents all tell the screaming kid to sssssssshhhhhhhhhhh, and when that doesn’t work, after everyone’s been angered by the noise, then they take them out.
    I also don’t know why you don’t blame the parents. Very often they clearly aren’t listening either. It seems to me hugely inconsiderate.
    I quite literally used to go to the cry room during sacrament meeting, because it was always empty, and very quiet.
    When my kids were small, I took them to one of the Sunday School rooms, or the R.S. room, and let them run around. I could turn up the speaker in that room, and hear the talks, and the kids would ventilate their energy, and I wouldn’t interrupt anyone else. If the R.S. room was occupied, I found another room.
    I also mentioned to the bishop to make an announcement in Psthood and R.S. about reverence and children. Few people got angry at the announcement. You’d be amazed at how many people agree with you.
    If parents think children HAVE to be at church during Sac. Meeting, they can take them out.
    The noise also harms the impressions of investigators. Members understand this.

    It is obvious to me that there is no blessing gotten from making children sit in church, when they are incapable of being reverent for long periods. Everyone comes to hate it.

  6. Julie in Austin on May 16, 2004 at 9:53 pm

    Anna–

    I have no idea if it is the acoustics in our building, or the time of day (we meet 11-2), or what, but for some reason, sac. mtg. doesn’t seem to be the problem that the other two hours are for us. It may be

    (1) the rs room is very small and crowded

    (2) people have no where else to go–we are the middle of three wards, all rooms are used all the time (I think)

    Maybe it is just that the noise from my kids is drowning out all of the other kids in sac mtg (grin).

  7. Ivan Wolfe on May 16, 2004 at 11:29 pm

    Julie –

    OSC had five kids by the time he wrote that. I’m sure he knows all about different temperaments of different kids.

  8. Kristine on May 16, 2004 at 11:52 pm

    Ivan, I read his whole article, and no, he doesn’t know about all different temperaments. The one child he described as “stubborn” was taught to sit quietly through Sacrament Meeting in six months, before she reached the age of three. He ain’t seen stubborn!!

    (To my surprise, actually, the method he describes for training children to be quiet in Sacrament Meeting is pretty close to what we’ve done. The piece does raise some interesting structural and cultural issues, especially the difference in parenting styles and standards of reverence, and the difficulties that creates)

  9. Kim Siever on May 17, 2004 at 12:43 am

    Actually, our children initially stayed with us during Sunday School and RS/Priesthood. Sinéad didn’t go to nursery until I was called as the Young Men President in our ward and needed to teach each Sunday; she went into Sunbeams four months later. Our son didn’t go into Nursery until Mary was called to be the Primary chorister.

    Our daughter has been relatively reverent and well behaved and is able to get through Sacrament meetings with rarely a peep. Our son is a three-year-old boy. I could probably stop there. However, while he cannot sit still, he doesn’t run the aisles of the chapel, nor does he wail. When he does start to act up he is taken out into a classroom, sat on a table and has a talking to. He’s subdued when we come back in and will usually be relatively well-behaved for the rest of the meeting.

    Our children can be somewhat of a challenge on occasion in our minds, but we regularly receive comments from ward members concerning how reverent they are. The noises they do make must not be significant for these ward members to hear.

    Our children stay in the chapel. If they need to go out of the chapel, they do not run around. They never leave our pew to play in the aisle. They don’t play with toys and they don’t eat at church.

    We determined before we had children that they would be well behaved in Sacrament and we’ve done everything we could to make sure that happens.

    If anyone’s interested, you should try to get a copy of “Familes Are Forever if I can Only Get Through the Day”. It’s written by a mother who had six pregnancies and 11 children. One chapter talks about how she prepared her children during the week for sitting in Sacrament on Sundays.

  10. Sheri Lynn on May 17, 2004 at 2:02 am

    I was wheelchair-bound during my last pregnancy, and not very able once she came. She walked at nine months, and was one of those really active kids. She also wanted nobody but Mama, period. Even my husband could not just take her out of a meeting. It had to be me. I couldn’t stay in any meeting for any length of time. By the time she was 18 months old I could no longer lift her. I walk with a cane, and I’m slow. She could and did run rings around me by the time she hit the crucial 18 month point!

    But she was nursery age, right? Well, funny thing. Right when she turned 18 months and I figured she was old enough to get used to being away from me for a couple of hours, they called a sister to the nursery calling who was put on bedrest for her own problem pregnancy. The result of that was that there was never ANY adult in the nursery when I would go to take my daughter. Nope, nobody subbed. There were only a couple of us in the same boat. It wasn’t worth finding a substitute for two toddlers.

    There were other things that happened, mostly my health and a few other things, but the upshot was that I just gave up and became inactive. (So did the other family.) It was too hard to try to get through RS without her banging on the durn piano. They could have assigned the whole elder’s quorum to keep her away from the piano, but it was irresistable to her.

    Nobody HELPED me. They should have seen that I could not manage. Nobody did. So. It was easier to stay home where things were babyproofed for her and the worst thing she could do was smear $40 worth of prescription toothpaste all over her bathroom mirror when I was taking care of an injury to an older sibling.

    I’m trying to get back to activity now. Boy it’s hard when you’ve been away, especially since we’re going into a new ward with a special needs child (my oldest) and I’m such an obvious wreck they’re probably afraid to breathe on me lest I break on them. I long to be useful. My kids are old enough that there HAS to be something I can do. I am recovering from surgery which means there will be no more babies, and I don’t mind that–I’m done. But I do remember well what it meant to do nothing but “keep them from licking people’s shoes.” Gosh, my son used to lick sinks and toilets everywhere we went. Something about the cold white porcelein. GAAK. I don’t miss that at all and I have profound admiration for anyone battling this. Babies are a blessing from God. They’re also dumb as a dog, and considerably harder to socialize!!!

    I notice that my kids are the BEST behaved in primary, but that just means they’re picked on for it by the rude little snots. I’m dealing with a lot of tears. I have them in a private school–they’ve all been taught to sit still and behave in chapel there, which is apparently not fashionable in Mormon children. What’s with that? By nine or ten The Look should suffice to completely wilt a kid who forgets and starts to run her mouth when someone is giving a talk!

    The teenagers, especially, are appallingly rude, in every ward I’ve seen–visiting when they are more than old enough to be listening to the speaker. I don’t expect a 4 year old or younger to pay attention to someone talking about tithing, and it doesn’t bother me when the littlest ones bang on the piano–it’s expected they’ll try it again and again–but a 14 year old ought to be able to at least pretend to pay attention. Where would we be if Joseph Smith hadn’t been old enough to think about religion at 14?

    I’m with you on your rant but I am darned if I know what to do about it. There was a toddler who actually had a BALL in sacrament meeting today, and was throwing it in the chapel. Not a small ball. One of the big ones, the kind they sell in big bins at Wal Mart, a big yellow metallic thing as big as a basketball. If anyone was doing anything about that I didn’t see, and the bishop of this ward was ignoring it. The toddler wasn’t the problem–he was just being two or three–but whoever let him in the chapel with a big ol’ ball was the problem.

    It was a happy ward and a tolerant one and other than the ball, had no more than the ordinary run of bad behavior. I don’t mean to imply we attended the First Bedlam Ward or anything.

    Still, we might as well hand out free whistles and cups of chocolate pudding, I think, sometimes. We can’t expect perfect behavior out of the little ones, or those neurologically damaged, but school age kids ought to be able to sit down and shut up. That’s a given. Whether they are interested or not they can behave themselves.

    And the littler ones need deft distraction. If that fails, take them out–but don’t reward them after age 2 or 3 by giving them the run of the building. When I had to take mine out, they folded their arms and sat. In Sacrament Meeting they could sit and read or color once the deacons had rejoined their families, but if I had to take them out, they didn’t get to anything but sit!

  11. John H on May 17, 2004 at 2:41 am

    Ah, talking over kids in Gospel Doctrine. Good times. Every ward’s got that couple who think keeping their kid in the meeting is the most important thing they could possibly do. No matter how loud that kid gets, they sit there quietly doing nothing. And everyone else is supposed to understand.

    Lest anyone think I’m an uncharitable childless person, I have two kids – one 9 months and the other 20 1/2 months. Yup, my kids are 11 1/2 months apart (through no intention on our part)! My kids don’t last five seconds in sacrament. And yes, unlike those parents who think it’s their job to teach their kids to stay in sacrament meeting, regardless of the yelling and screaming that may result, I take my kids out after a couple of attempts at distraction or calming them down.

    I’m very happy for those parents whose children are well-behaved angels during sacrament meeting. But they really need to stop acting like that’s how everyone’s child should be. If I could get my son to act like that, don’t you think I would?

  12. Grasshopper on May 17, 2004 at 11:13 am

    I was just thinking about this yesterday as I sat in Gospel Essentials with our 9-month-old. It doesn’t seem to me that there’s a whole lot the Church can offer for that age group. They will typically have a harder time with strangers, many will be nursing, need diaper changes, need naps, etc. The best thing, IMO, is for parents to try to be aware when their child is being too much of a distraction and take the child out. It’s not like your salvation is at stake if you miss Sunday School to care for a fussy baby.

  13. Kim Siever on May 17, 2004 at 11:15 am

    “By nine or ten The Look should suffice to completely wilt a kid who forgets and starts to run her mouth when someone is giving a talk!”

    :-)

    The Look.

    I can usually do it with my five-year-old daughter ad she’ll behave. Occasionally, she’ll have an overly defiant day where more than The Look is needed. Our three-year-old son usually needs more than The Look; although it does seem The Look is more effective with him at home.

  14. D. Fletcher on May 17, 2004 at 11:36 am

    I don’t have children, so take my comments with pound of salt.

    Why do we need to bring children to Sacrament Meeting at all? How many other adult lectures do we bring our littlest to?

    It has always seemed to me to be by default. There’s nowhere else for them to go, and unless you want to hire a babysitter every week…

    Which is what my parents did. I’m old enough to remember Sunday School in the morning, Sacrament Meeting at night.
    We were often left home from Sacrament Meeting, until we were old enough to go and sit still (about 6 years old).

    I know it wouldn’t work today. How about a nursery/primary that lasts through Sacrament Meeting, with rotating parents in charge?

    Other than this, I think Steve Evan’s idea of the eWard might be best for solving this dilemma.

  15. Ryan Bell on May 17, 2004 at 12:12 pm

    This whole discussion reminds me of the story where the man and his son are walking their donkey into town. Passersby criticize them for being stupid that they’re both walking when they have a donkey to give them a ride. So the son gets on and passersby criticize the son for riding and making his father walk. So they switch and then passersby criticize the father for riding and making his poor young son walk. So they both get on, and then the passersby criticize them for being so cruel to that poor old donkey.

    In other words, there is a strong impulse to govern one’s child in church based on what one perceives to be the desires (and critiques) of other churchgoers. I often try to placate my hyper toddler until I can perceive that those around me have been truly distracted, at which time I take him out. But once he’s out, I now have to worry about those like Orson Scott Card and others, who will instantly conclude that I am not sufficiently prepared/authoritative/creative to control my child and keep him in sacrament meeting.

    I think OSC’s thoughts above (did not read the whole article) are uncharitable in the extreme, and serve no useful purpose except as a great example of unrighteous judging. In the end, a parent needs to free herself from trying to please everyone else around her– as that will simply be impossible. What will please one fellow church goer, another will condemn. Parenting in church is very difficult, but much less so when done with only the well-being of the child, the sanity of the parent, and the presence of the spirit in mind. Let others make judgments as they may.

  16. lyle on May 17, 2004 at 12:13 pm

    the cry of a baby, the tantrum of a child is a prayer unto the lord & pleasing to the heart.

    for all our sakes; heaven had better be different that mortal life. otherwise…we’all be sitting in how to be a God 310 while raising 100s of spirit children at the same time. and we thought it was bad as mortals…

  17. Frank McIntyre on May 17, 2004 at 12:42 pm

    “But once he’s out, I now have to worry about those like Orson Scott Card and others, who will instantly conclude that I am not sufficiently prepared/authoritative/creative to control my child and keep him in sacrament meeting.”

    OSC’s method involves taking the child out as soon as they cross the line. So I’m not sure why you’d say the above. You might want to read the whole article. Orson’s clearly on a soapbox but I think he has some useful ideas about giving children the right incentives.

    That said, we don’t raise children on autopilot. Good parents adapt to what will work best for the child and the parent, whether it be what OSC suggests or something else. The same elements should always be present, love, encouragement of good behavior, punishment for bad behavior, and a careful attention to what motivates your child and how to use that to give him incentives to be good in the long run.

    Another heterogeneity problem arises because people have widely different tolerance levels for disruption. Suppose your kid disturbs the meeting with an outburst, you give them The Look, and they quiet down and are good the rest of the time. I think most of us would be pretty happy with that child. Unfortunately, if there happen to be 50 or 60 kids in a ward, and each of them were that well behaved, there is a disturbance approximately every minute of the meeting. For some people that is perfectly acceptable, for others it isn’t. Now throw in some tantrums and suppose kids are loud two or three times in a meeting…

  18. Grasshopper on May 17, 2004 at 1:35 pm

    D. Fletcher has a good point, I think. The consolidated block schedule may have brought about some of these problems — but mostly for sacrament meeting.

    Brigham Young had something to say on this subject (as on just about every subject):

    “During our Conference we shall require the people to pay attention and to preserve good order, and perhaps we shall require that that will not be altogether pleasing in some respects. One thing which strikes me here this morning, and which is a source of considerable annoyance to the congregation, appears to me might be avoided, and that is bringing children here who are not capable of understanding the preaching. If we were to set them on the stand, where they could hear every word, it would convey to them no knowledge or instruction, and would not be the least benefit to them. I will ask my sisters: Cannot we avoid this? Have you not daughters, sisters, or friends, or some one who can take care of these children while you attend meeting? When meetings are over, the mothers can go home and bestow all the care and attention upon their children which may be necessary. I cannot understand the utility of bringing children into such a congregation as we shall have here through the Conference, just for the sake of pleasing the mothers, when the noise made by them disturbs all around them. I therefore request that the sisters will leave their babies at home in the care of good nurses.” (JD 13:343)

  19. Sheri Lynn on May 17, 2004 at 2:30 pm

    Are these good nurses of Brigham’s like the Muslim houris, who do not themselves have souls in need of salvation, and therefore are not covered by the “maidservant” provision of the Sabbath commandments? I am just wondering where I go to sign up for our houri/good nurse. We could really use one or two around here. (Looks around at post-op mess.) Yeah, I could make good use of her…and not only in the childminding business….

  20. Grasshopper on May 17, 2004 at 3:04 pm

    Well, Brigham was fond of Mormon co-operatives; maybe you’d have to trade babysitting with the sister in the ward across the way… And just think of the great opportunity for service you’re providing! ;-)

  21. Juliann on May 18, 2004 at 4:52 am

    As a long time educator of a variety of special needs children, I have never understood why parents would take a child to have fun in a foyer and then wonder why they screamed in the chapel. You put the fun in the chapel….and the not fun outside of it. In other words, throw them in an empty classroom or someplace where there is absolutely *nothing* to do until they want to go back to the fun. To expect a young child to just sit is counterproductive to behavior control. I have always ignored instructions about toys. I always had a bag of special stuff for church…anything that did not create noise on its own and I made darn sure there was nothing churchy about it. It was high demand stuff. Then it is portioned out. So much sitting…lots of praise and another activity as a reward. This is the best way to teach reverence for the most important part, the sacrament. Nothing gets passed out until after that. They wait in exquisite and quiet anticipation.

    Right now we have one severe autistic boy and one multi-handicapped boy in a wheelchair. His father works and his mother was sitting in the hall with him and his hyperactive younger brother every Sunday. My father is also in a wheelchair so I had her come in where we sat in the back and we have created a little area. I am still bringing toys. We play with cars. We play with magnets. We play with giant plastic bugs. If he doesn’t keep his voice under control he doesn’t get the goodies. Now the mother has trained the younger boy to stay put and everyone is in the chapel. If it bothers anyone they can sit somewhere else. To me, the sound of a special needs child is heavenly. The autistic boy makes his bird calls throughout the meetings. We all just sit there as if nothing is unusual.

    It’s wonderful.

  22. Matt Evans on May 25, 2004 at 12:46 am

    Hi Juliann,

    I subscribe to your style of Sacrament parenting: contrary to popular practice, children should be given much greater latitude inside the chapel than outside it. In the pews we let them look at books, draw pictures, lay on the bench, eat fruit snacks. If they are disruptive and have to be taken out, they sit on a chair looking into a classroom wall. When they are young, I restrain them to keep them in “time out.”

  23. Julie in Austin on August 16, 2004 at 1:28 pm

    Just wanted to follow up on this: awhile back, our ward added a second Gospel Doctrine class–for people with babies!! My class is much calmer, no is is stepped on, and I hear good things about the other class: the babies tend to entertain each other and be quieter.

  24. Mike on January 3, 2005 at 4:14 am

    For some reason I found a link to this somewhere else and the thread really interests me after being in a family ward for a couple of weeks and seeing my sister try to deal with her daughter.
    I am glad to hear about the seperate gospel doctrine classes, sounds like a good idea.

    “I think OSC’s thoughts above (did not read the whole article) are uncharitable in the extreme, ”
    Uhm, what’s new? I actually quite like Card, but I don’t think this criticism of some of the things he says is out of line, or really that uncommon.
    Having read the article, even though Card does suggest taking a child out right away, there is an assumption that any child can be trained properly in a few months, and that if yours isn’t it is obviously because you are a bad parent. I agree with Kristine, that argument seems a bit short sighted.

    “Familes Are Forever if I can Only Get Through the Day”
    Kim, I was actually talking to the mother of one of my friends a few years ago, and she (a great mom, stable person, completely “with it”) said she nearly had an emotional breakdown trying to live up to the standards set by that book- that she did all she could to follow the suggestions given and that the book seemed very critical in the same way OSC was- that this always works for every child and if it isn’t working with your children there is something wrong with you.

    “I always had a bag of special stuff for church…anything that did not create noise on its own and I made darn sure there was nothing churchy about it. It was high demand stuff. Then it is portioned out. ” Julianne, this sounds like a great idea, but what about younger children who don’t really have a desire to play with toys. Or even children with a short attention span who don’t stick to even favorite toys for long, and who just want to move? Many special needs children would seem to have this problem, as well as many just active full of energy children. Has strictly enforcing a non-pleasent time out worked with hyper-active children who are always running and moving when they are not in church?

    The removing children but not letting them play that many have suggested seems great- but what do you do in crowded buildings with three wards overlapping and no free classrooms? Do you just leave the building entirely?
    When my sister was out of town and my parents and I were at church with my niece (20 months old) she started to act up and with just my mom there in the congregation with me took my niec out and was a bit amazed at the people in the foyer. I looked out the door before opening it, but ended up bonking a kid on the head who was playing by the door but was too short to be seen out the window. At first I felt horrible, but then I thought “I couldn’t help it, why are these kids just playing in front of the door?”
    I didn’t want to let my niece just run around but with another ward using the classrooms I didn’t know where to go other than the foyer or halls. It was definitely frustrating. I didn’t want to distract others by having her there, if I held her and didn’t let her play in the foyer she would be loud enough to be a distraction there- but there was no where else I could go to hear those who were speaking.

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