Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers... and surviving Sunday Mass together

One of our family's struggles is to help our girls learn to love the Mass. Today, I want to post some ideas for helping our little ones. I love the Mass. I love being in Church. I love being with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.  As a mom, though, it's a little hard to pray and focus, and thus it's hard to teach my children to pray and focus. If all they see me do is police them, they'll never learn to sit quietly and pay attention.

When I'm alone, I bring a stack of prayer books and my "Word Among Us" booklet to help me focus.

What can I bring for my children?  That will be quiet?  And truly help them to focus on Jesus, the Mass, the Church?

After long, hard searching, I've found several unique ideas online that I just didn't seem to find in my initial searches.  These, I believe, are truly gems for children.  I get no kick-backs for these... my blog isn't that fancy.  These are just ideas to help you and your little ones love Jesus more!

  1. Rosary fit for a baby, toddler or child.  It's cuddly, and it's devotional.  It also makes a very soft rattling noise. Our girls each have their own Rosary; they make it in several colors, so it works for boys or girls.

    I have taught them to keep it tucked under their pillows, and to sleep with it in their hands so they can say their Hail Marys as they fall asleep and whenever they wake in the night.  My 3.5 year old still wants her plush Rosary, but also now wants a rope & bead Rosary.  I let her have both.  Either are great for bringing to Mass.

     
  2. Pocket Oratory.  "PiccoloDiLuce," the Etsy maker of these beautiful sacramentals explains they were popular in the 19th century, especially in Russia, which makes me think they have an Orthodox origin. What a beautiful idea... and quiet too!  Several versions are available, devoted to different saints such as St Catherine of Alexandria, St Gertrude, St Anthony of Padua, and others. 
  3. Wipe clean books.  If you can rely on your child not to write on the pews (we're not there yet!), these wipe clean books can provide a lot of activity for a child at Mass.  Learn the ABCs and the 123s with Catholic associations for each letter or number. 

  4.  DIY Catholic crafts printed on fabric.  O my!!  What a lovely idea.  "MagneticCatholic" has a shop on Spoonflower with several wonderful, simple DIY sewing projects that can help focus your child at Mass.  From pocket saint dolls to a fabric books to follow the Mass to "My Mass quiet toys", the artist has so many cute ideas... it's hard to decide! I personally plan to spend way more than I should on these lovely fabric panels to make things for our girls.  Too bad I discovered this after Christmas!  Let's see... fill the Easter basket is next!

  5. BINGO.  That's right, Bingo!  Following the Mass has never been easier than a fun Bingo card to keep a child riveted to the Mass.  There's a version for readers as well as non-readers
  6. Other Catholic fabric.  For the DIY mama, there are some other Spoonflower designers with devotional fabrics that you can make into any number of things.  Check out Anniezs, Rengal, and Anette_Teixeira and let your imagination go!