Here at St Aldhelm’s we pride ourselves on including young people in every aspect of the church’s life. From family trips to toddler services, we are proud of the range of activities available for babies through to late teens.
When children are baptised we say, “We welcome you into the Lord’s family”. Children are never too young to come to church. You and your children are all very welcome. We realise that bringing children to church, especially babies and toddlers, can be very hard work, and it always seems as if your baby is crying the loudest! We want coming to church to be a happy experience for you and your child.
You and your baby
If your baby is settled, please feel free to remain seated, even if others are standing. Don’t be embarrassed if your baby cries. If you need to walk around to settle your child please do so. Please feel free to take children to the crèche in the side chapel, but do stay with them. If your baby needs feeding or changing, there is nothing wrong with doing this in church.
How to help you baby enjoy being in church
Feel free to bring your own quiet toys. Do move around if there are things to see in the service, perhaps bringing your child nearer the front. Some babies are attracted by the light shining through the stained glass, or by flickering candles. Tell them when something different is happening. Babies may enjoy being held close as a parent sings, or enjoy the music of the service.
If the service is Holy Communion please take your baby with you to receive a blessing at the time of Communion.
Already your baby is absorbing the atmosphere of the worship and, apart from the occasional ‘off-day’, will quickly accept his or her time in church as part of the rhythm of the week.
How to help your toddler enjoy being in church
Children learn much by imitation, so encourage your toddler to imitate what you are doing – holding a book or standing beside you when you are singing, kneeling down or sitting at prayer times. If the service is Holy Communion, take the toddler to receive a blessing at the time of Communion. This can become a special time for them, and the people around them.
So – children in church
When children are in church they are not there simply to be “coped with” or “put up with”. On the contrary, they are members of the congregation and are present to worship as part of their journey of faith. Even when they are amusing themselves with a favourite book, they are absorbing the atmosphere of worship.
We can encourage them to be further included by finding ways of involving them and drawing their attention to what is going on, even if it is only for a short time.