If you go to church, you know that it is a challenge with little ones. If you go to church during deployment as a solo parent, you know it can be downright frustrating! Some churches offer childcare for certain ages or particular services. But should child care be your primary reason for choosing a faith community? I don’t think so. You should be able to attend any church you believe in, no matter your children’s ages or noise level.
Since I have 4 chlidren, ages 7, 6, 4, and 1, I knew I needed to do something to make it through church each Sunday for a 7 month deployment. My older children all do pretty well during the service, and the church offers a children’s program part of the time for my little guys. But the toddler is the real problem. At almost 2, she is at the worst age for church attendance– to mobile to hold in my arms, too loud to be entertained with toys or snacks, and too young to have any idea what is going on. Lately my husband had been spending most of each service with her, either outside or in a nursery room. But if I did that during the deployment, none of us would ever hear the service!
I knew I would need help. So I started to ask around. I found professional babysitters who wanted $10 per hour. I found friends who could help ‘on occasion, if they didn’t have something else planned.’ And finally, just in time for deployment, I found 2 different friends who spend quiet Sundays at home and didn’t mind having the company of my toddler for a while. I alternate them every other week so they won’t get overwhelmed by her. So far, it has been working great! My older kids and I enjoy church so much more, and the toddler enjoys some playtime and attention.
I am so grateful we found this arrangement. Eventually, when my husband returns, we will have to start bringing the youngest into church again. But by then, she will be 2 and 1/2, and better able to stay quiet or sit still.
What are your methods for bringing kids to church? Was childcare a factor in choosing your church community?