My 10 year old girl was a bit wiggly when she first began sitting with us. We learned not too much later, that she has some minor sensory “issues”. If I hold her tightly, her body calms down and she is capable of sitting still for long periods of time. Give her space, and her body starts moving as though it is searching for something! Her squirmy was an easy fix.
It’s my 7 year old, Macy, that has not sat with us much because she is so wiggly and struggles with being attentive for more than a few minutes. We have decided to have her attend the children’s church program while we work with her at home.
If you have a wiggly young one, I would like to give you some ideas as to what you can do at home to prepare them for sitting through a service.
1) Family Worship – If you already do a regular time of family worship or devotions, this is a great opportunity to teach your young ones that they, too, are capable of sitting still for more than a few minutes. Each family will have different structure and routine. Here’s how ours looks:
My husband, Jim, does a study with the kids in the evening after dinner. Jim’s style is more relaxed and casual and his time is usually lengthy. He expects the children to be attentive but not necessarily sitting still.
Since I homeschool, I have opportunity to do a morning Bible time with the children. My time with the kids is more structured and kept to about 20 minutes. We sit at the kitchen table so that everyone is forced to sit up and stay in their own space.
2) Blanket Time – This is what I called reading time during their preschool years. Every day I would have my first 3 children sit on a blanket for a few minutes to look at books. The blanket was spread on the floor (one per child). They were not allowed off the blanket. I would set a timer for 5 minutes and slowly increase the length of time as they became capable.
3) Meal Time – Each child should spend the entire meal time in his seat. There is not reason for constantly getting up from the table or doing acrobatics in the chair.
What I hadn’t realized before bringing Macy into the church worship service with us, was that she was also very wiggly at home. She lacks the discipline and self-control that the other children had at earlier ages.
- I hadn't paid any attention to the fact that she was constantly out of her seat during meal time. I now require her to sit in her seat during the entire meal time - every meal!
- For some reason I never continued a Blanket Time with Macy. I think it did much to help my older 3 learn to sit still and quietly. I just started Blanket Time with Macy in an effort to "catch up"!
- Previously, my morning devotional time with the kids took place in the family room. Too comfortable! Too easy to be wiggly or to lie all over the place. I now do our time at the kitchen table.
Those are 3 suggestions for training your young ones to learn the discipline of sitting still and quietly.
Do any of you have suggestions to share or ideas that worked for you?
Remember - it takes time! And children are children!!