I have been anti-bringing toys anywhere since before I became a mother. As a public school teacher, my desk was filled with highly-distracting toys. Although I didn’t confiscate items as a children’s minister, the kids were still distracted. As a parent, I feared that if they weren’t distractions, there was a really good chance they would get lost. I just didn’t understand.
NOW I GET IT.
I have been widely successful in getting my oldest two children to keep their precious treasures at home, or at least in the car. But every child is different. Enter child #3.
#1 would break a mom’s heart. He ran into the classroom from day one like he didn’t need me at all.
#2 screamed and cried. Plus I worked in her area at church and had to duck and hide so she wouldn’t see me and start crying again on the rare occasion she had stopped. She wasn’t much of a doll girl anyway.
#3 grabbed her doll on the way out the door a few weeks ago and for some reason it finally dawned on me…Why didn’t she come with us? We were on the way to church and screaming was about to ensue. So why not keep her happy for as long as possible? Then I really had an epiphany…”Can you take your dolly with you and show her what to do at church?”
There were still a few tears when we got there, but nothing like the previous weeks that we had tried to take her to her new class. Yay! Relief.
Don’t get me wrong. I still don’t endorse bringing toys along for no reason. I am not anti-toy, but if you want your kids to be focused on what they should be doing, whether at school or church, unless otherwise specified, toys keep them focussed on the toys. Do we want them to be more excited about Jesus at church, or their new Batmobile? Batmobiles rock, but they are no Jesus!
“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.” Proverbs 4:25
If a toy calms your child, that is great. Dolls or stuffed animals may not be what works for them. They are good options for many because your child can teach them to sit, listen, and participate. And for us, there have been less and less tears as the weeks have progressed. Dolly is still happily tagging along, ready to worship.
What tips do you have to help calm your anxious children?