After much searching I think I have finally found a regular church for us to attend. It's very small (very very small), and they do not have a childrens church during the regular service. The children attend the adult service. The Pastor prefers the children be in there, he likes them to be there and doesn't mind if they make a little noise or walk around. The thing is, they have never met my little children (insert Jaws theme music). I haven't yet had the little girls come with me to a church service. They will be attending with us for the first time on October 18th.
I was a little stressed out about how they would be acting in the church. They do not like to sit for very long, and they certainly are not quiet. I found a couple of stay at home mom blogs where they discussed training kids to sit in church. It's self control training and listening training. The term is "blanket training".
I researched blanket training and there are several ways this can be done. This is what we have done so far. We picked special blankets for blanket quiet time. We went over the rules.
1. When you sit on this blanket you have to stay on the blanket and stay quiet. (quiet means not screaming or yelling, it doesn't mean not uttering any sound)
2. You must stay here until the timer goes off or Mommy says to get up.
3. If you leave the blanket you don't get your treat.
4. You may have a book or a toy to play with quietly while you sit.
I made sure I talked in an excited voice so that they understood this was a nice fun game, and if they followed all the instructions they would get a candy treat after.
The instructions were to start the kids off with 5 minutes a few times a day then gradually increase in increments until they can sit on a blanket and play quietly for a longer period of time. Yeah right, I'm thinking. My kids will never ever do this.
We started off our first day with 5 blanket time sessions of 5 minutes each. They actually sat there quietly for the entire time. The next day we moved it up to 10 & 15 minutes. Still quietly. I tried out a 20 minute blanket time so I could shower. AMAZING! Now after less than a weeks time, they can sit there for up to 30 minutes quietly with their toy or book.
One mom described this as her play pen in a purse. The blanket can be taken anywhere and used whenever, and they know that if they are sitting on this blanket they must follow the blanket rules. We even took the blankets to the store with us and put them in the shopping cart. Usually, they are climbing in and out of the cart, from front to back, riding on the bottom etc. I placed one blanket in the back and one in the seat of the cart. They sat the whole time and read their books, and didn't once climb out. AMAZING AGAIN!
This may not be any big deal to some, but if E and J were your children, you would understand. Hopefully by the 18th when I take them to the service they will be able to sit most of the hour without disrupting.
I also read about teaching and training children to listen to instructions the first time and act immediatley. I read about an obedience game and we started to play. They love this game. First I give them a fun instruction and they, are supposed to say "Yes ma'am, it would be my pleasure" They say, treasure instead of pleasure, it's cute. Their instructions may be to go touch the bedroom door and count to 5 and then come right back. No chores or cleaning up is done during the game. It's still to teach them to do what they have just been asked to do. When they come back form completing the task they get tons of cheering and hugs and kisses. Emily and Julia are LOVING THIS GAME. While we are not playing the game I have asked them to do little things like put their shoes in the shoe box, and they go and do it right away.
In less than a week, these little monster children are calmer, quieter, they have been asking for things instead of scaling the fridge to get the stuff on top. They have had more self control and have not been terrorizing everything. I have been less stressed and it's been a lot more fun. They enjoy all the extra praise and games.
Adam noticed a change in then just after the first day. He has been totally impressed.
Here is the website for our new church. http://vbclivermore.googlepages.com