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Thread: "Children are not taught to sit still"

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    Default "Children are not taught to sit still"

    Today DH and I were talking with MIL about a new church we are trying out. It is a smallish church, and does not have a separate "children's church". Families sit together with their children through service. My MIL at first asked why we werent attending a church with service specifically for kids, then after explaining, she said " Well that's good. Its a big problem with children these days that they are not taught to sit still and focus."

    I was thinking on that this evening. A week ago we were talking with the pastor and he was saying he had thought in the past about taking out a couple pews... giving the kids an area with a little more room to move around through the service. He said "children aren't really built to sit still and be quiet for that long." He has made other comments to me when I was concerned about my kids disrupting, like how he doesnt care if opening snacks makes noise, or babies cry, etc. Its just part of having little ones there. So he has been great.

    Anyway... I will be teaching my kids to learn to sit quietly through church, but don't expect them to be perfect at it for quite a while. But as to my MIL's comment, it struck me that children in our society ARE, in fact, expected to sit quietly a lot. Don't they have to do that through most the day at school? And isnt recess getting cut in many schools? And some lunch breaks expected to be "silent"?

    I was just wondering what you mommas think? Do you agree that children are not generally taught how to sit quietly and focus? Or do you think they are expected to do it often, even when they are not old enough to really be able to? Or do you think its something inbetween?

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    We attend a family integrated church, and have for the last 2 babies. before that we did go to a church with a Sunday School, but no children's church. I do not expect my small children to sit perfectly quietly for the entire worship and service. i take them out and listen in the nursing room, foyer, etc. Now usually one of my teens takes DD (2.5) to the foyer when the snacks, coloring, other activites lose her interest.

    I agree with you, i thought most kids learn to be quiet and sit during school. even when i worked in day care and taught preschool i had my kids (3s and 4s) busy and quiet and focused for at least part of the day.

    i have had people say to me when they hear about how our church is set up "my kids could never sit that long" and I always ask "what about school?" Even most homeschooled kids have to sit an do school for some part of the day!

    I think its actually a mentality about church and learning about God. We think that is supposed to be fun, and child centric because they arent smart enough to listen during a service. In our church the speakers are sensitive to there beingyoung listeners in the audience, and they do what they can to keep them involved. We always have power point sildes, "sermon art" for the kids to follow along to the sermon, and a "word of the day" where one word is repeated, kids count and can get a prize if they come up to the pastor after to say how many times he said it, or show the pictures they drew, notes they took, etc. So there is some active involvement.

  3. #3
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    I actually do think it's a bit of a problem but with older kids and expectations of always being entertained. I would not expect a child under 5 to be able to sit and focus. They should still know how to sit quietly (well maybe a 4 and 5yo) but should not be expected to do it for a very long time. 3 and under is just asking for trouble! It really depends a lot on the child's personality I think....

    With older kids (over age 5) I feel like if they don't have a child-related entertainment or electronic device they don't know what to do with themselves. I frequently see kids glued to iphones/ipads, etc. at places where they should be just blending in like adult-centered gatherings or restaurants. We just went to a communion party where 2 kids were glued to ipads while lots of other kids were dancing and having fun. I found that to be very sad. And that WAS a child-centered event!

    When I was younger we didn't have as many kid places as we have now and we were just expected to behave when bored - in church, restaurants, adult gatherings. We learned to deal with being bored and found other ways to be entertained. I think kids today have a lot catered to them and they can't handle being bored for more than 2 seconds. Sadly most adults are that way now too and it has everything to do with electronic devices.

    So to answer your question lol... I don't think they are expected to sit still and focus any more than we were as kids and I don't think it had a negative effect on us. At least in our district school is pretty well balanced and fun in kinder and 1st grade. DD1 is in 2nd and I can see it's starting to get "less fun" but she still has fun and she is more mature and can handle the longer periods of focus at her age. I think in terms of school the expectation of quiet increases well with their abilities to do so.
    Thing 1 (8), Thing 2 (5), Thing 3 (2)

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    Cody goes to church with James but, its a huge place and they have daycare but, I don't go. To answer in general I think kids should be able to talk at lunch because they are taught to be quiet a huge chunk of the day except I noticed as I got older we were allowed to talk more in junior high and high school for participation in discussions. I think for the under school age crowd (4-5) I wouldn't expect them to sit quietly at church but, I think for the Kindergarten aged kids
    I would think they should be able to handle 1 hour of sitting at church or other activities and to keep quiet. Now, I am 25 but, I have old ways of thinking in some situations and new ways of thinking in other situations. I was taught at a young age and maybe my parents were just strict I lived with my mom when my parents split at age 7 but, I saw my dad every Wednesday and every weekend then as I got older he went to every other weekend. Anyways if we were at the library with my mom were we expected to be quiet, my Dad is a sale's rep for back then Kraft now its Nestle foods they bought out craft. We would have to go with him at times when he didn't have a babysitter on the weekends to his stores. He would tell us "Now, you are to talk very quietly while in this store you may look at this section and stay here". We would listen for the most part and it only took dad about ten minutes or less to stock pizzas and move on. If we listened we were rewarded with a goodie bag from Schnucks grocery store. It was like $1 each. About once a month once every two months we'd get a toy for listening as an incentive. He did really try to make it easier on us but, we were still expected to be quiet and good. I expect at times when for example when I have tons lovely phone calls with insurance companies for example (not that often), or a relative like my grandma that doesn't like to talk on the phone with I want 5 minutes to talk without interruption and yes I do expect that because I go off of what would my dad to expect me to do at that age? He had the parenting style that I notice IMO seemed fair, he would reward us for good behavior and tell us when we were not being good. Now, if the kids won't listen for small amounts of time like 5 minutes I tell them its not nice to disobey and then I move on - if its someone important like outside of family calls like insurance, doctor's appointments, etc it doesn't happen often where they need to be quiet though. I was watching a comedian on Netflix he was sort of crude but, his program he did was in 1999 and he mentioned "Kids today aren't ever able to just daydream" and now its even worst than in 1999.
    Last edited by mom2CodySophia0811; 05-10-2014 at 08:48 PM.
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    We've been looking for a church for months now and the hardest thing for us is having the kids integrated into the service, even if it's only for an hour. Mason has sensory issues and anxiety and is just not capable of being quiet for more than 15-20 minutes at a time, even with pushing 5 yrs old. I know other kids that can but he just can't. So, we get the glares when he his issues start to show and he speaks when he's quiet but it's enough to make us not feel welcome and why would we want that? At the same time, the threats I hear other parents give their children when they get a little squirrely doesn't sound all too Christian like to me either so, either way, I guess I'm not a fan.
    I do think that older children, that are capable should be included at least in part in the adult service but honestly, I learned nothing from that time of the service verses the teachings I received in Sunday School and youth groups.
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    Quote Originally Posted by As Is View Post
    We've been looking for a church for months now and the hardest thing for us is having the kids integrated into the service, even if it's only for an hour. Mason has sensory issues and anxiety and is just not capable of being quiet for more than 15-20 minutes at a time, even with pushing 5 yrs old. I know other kids that can but he just can't. So, we get the glares when he his issues start to show and he speaks when he's quiet but it's enough to make us not feel welcome and why would we want that? At the same time, the threats I hear other parents give their children when they get a little squirrely doesn't sound all too Christian like to me either so, either way, I guess I'm not a fan.
    I do think that older children, that are capable should be included at least in part in the adult service but honestly, I learned nothing from that time of the service verses the teachings I received in Sunday School and youth groups.
    I'm sorry you haven't found a welcoming church yet. Churches that are set up to be family integrated should be more understanding. Also, family integrated churches are not for everyone. Some feel that a church with a children's service is a better fit for them.

    Aside from the specific church example, I was wondering if my MIL was on to something in general, with children not being taught how to sit still and focus.

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    How exactly do you teach a child to sit still and focus?

    I can redirect my children to sit (over and over and over again) and I can keep them entertained in their seats if I try really hard at dinner, with stories that everyone is involved in, and I can give them positive feedback for staying in their seats, but even after 5 years of teaching them, they have a really hard time sitting still and focusing if they are not that interested. Even if they are interested, they still are moving around or getting out of their seats. These are kids who did really well on the marshmallow test too (they were involved in a study to replicate it), so they do have some ability to delay gratification and demonstrate impulse control, but even when they know what is expected of them, they don't seem to be able to do it.

    I avoid activities where I will have to be with children who are expected to be quiet or contained for periods of time, even when those are activities they would enjoy.

    And yes, I know plenty of kids who can sit still far better than my kids can, but I also know that mine can go for an 8 mile hike and still be bouncing around like crazy the rest of the day.


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    Quote Originally Posted by 3andMe;1058884358[B
    ]How exactly do you teach a child to sit still and focus?[/B]
    It doesn't always work for us but, I offer positive reinforcements for when they can sit still. Call it a "bribe" if you will but, since Church for Cody is only a once a week thing James might do a small treat from McDonald's like a cone. We aren't any many situations that call for a quietness level for more than 30-60 minutes. The other place I can think of is (other than Church or school) is the library yes, they have a children's area for them to play but, I know that librarian doesn't want to hear the kids get loud, yelling, and screaming. We tell them, walk don't run, talk but, not loudly, if you don't we'll go home. I know its not for everyone but, it works for us most of the time that if they have a warning "Well we leave if you don't stop screaming/ yelling". Sophia is still learning because she is two however, we still model behavior as best as we can and Cody is good helping to use a quiet voice. One other place is also the hospital or nursing home we've had family members in particular that are always in one or another it seems. I know its unpleasant so we don't take the kids up there often but, if either my aunt or grandpa is in for an extended time like more than 2 weeks or so I will visit for 30 minutes to an hour with the kids because they enjoy them. I remind Cody to be a good role model for Sophia and not to run around and talk loudly. Usually both kids are good about sitting down and chilling for a bit. I guess my own idea is I was a very quiet child in general. I didn't have to be told to be quiet very often in school in fact it was the opposite the teachers wanted me to talk more and now I don't shut up. James was reserved overall he did play some sports in school but, he is also a quiet type in most situations. I guess two quiet people make for quiet kids. I hope that helps to explain. I think its personality traits some folks have to move all the time and it doesn't matter if they are a kid or not. Some folks can be content reading a book for an hour, some people don't care either way. KWIM? We just try hard to influence time that there is quiet time and there is play time.
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  9. #9

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    I think a lot of folks tend to have what I like to call "back-in-my-day-itis" lol. The whole idea that things were harder and better. Based on my experience, kids these days done get enough freedom to be active. I'm like 3andMe in that I avoid situations where my kids are expected to sit quietly for long periods.

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    Quote Originally Posted by macksmom View Post
    With older kids (over age 5) I feel like if they don't have a child-related entertainment or electronic device they don't know what to do with themselves. I frequently see kids glued to iphones/ipads, etc. at places where they should be just blending in like adult-centered gatherings or restaurants. We just went to a communion party where 2 kids were glued to ipads while lots of other kids were dancing and having fun. I found that to be very sad. And that WAS a child-centered event!

    When I was younger we didn't have as many kid places as we have now and we were just expected to behave when bored - in church, restaurants, adult gatherings. We learned to deal with being bored and found other ways to be entertained. I think kids today have a lot catered to them and they can't handle being bored for more than 2 seconds. Sadly most adults are that way now too and it has everything to do with electronic devices.
    I have seen this too and find it disturbing--it's largely a parenting issue, in my opinion. The parents either want to be involved in the surrounding activity and thus not involved in watching their kids or maybe they've fallen down the electronics rabbit hole and don't have the resolve (or interest) in climbing out.

    I disagree though that it's a nostalgia thing (I like that "back-in-the-day-itis" lol). Being able to deal with boredom in a situation whether you're supposed to be involved in what's going on or not is a very important skill---and doing it without an electronic babysitter is probably even more important. In general we're being becoming less present in our lives and that's a big problem--not only do you miss out on a lot of things but it can be dangerous.

    I'm not all anti-electronics either, I just think they have appropriate uses and in general we rely on them too much, especially for constant, instant gratification entertainment.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KC's wifey View Post
    Today DH and I were talking with MIL about a new church we are trying out. It is a smallish church, and does not have a separate "children's church". Families sit together with their children through service. My MIL at first asked why we werent attending a church with service specifically for kids, then after explaining, she said " Well that's good. Its a big problem with children these days that they are not taught to sit still and focus."

    I was thinking on that this evening. A week ago we were talking with the pastor and he was saying he had thought in the past about taking out a couple pews... giving the kids an area with a little more room to move around through the service. He said "children aren't really built to sit still and be quiet for that long." He has made other comments to me when I was concerned about my kids disrupting, like how he doesnt care if opening snacks makes noise, or babies cry, etc. Its just part of having little ones there. So he has been great.

    Anyway... I will be teaching my kids to learn to sit quietly through church, but don't expect them to be perfect at it for quite a while. But as to my MIL's comment, it struck me that children in our society ARE, in fact, expected to sit quietly a lot. Don't they have to do that through most the day at school? And isnt recess getting cut in many schools? And some lunch breaks expected to be "silent"?

    I was just wondering what you mommas think? Do you agree that children are not generally taught how to sit quietly and focus? Or do you think they are expected to do it often, even when they are not old enough to really be able to? Or do you think its something inbetween?
    I honestly have no idea if they are "taught" or not, lol, since there's a big difference in "taught" and "learned"...there are things I've diligently tried teaching my kids, but learning is a process and most things take years of reminders and reinforcement . People who are on the outside looking in probably think I've neglected to teach my kids a number of things, but they don't see behind the scenes. I think teaching/training children and expecting immediate results in many cases is going to be an exercise in frustration!

    I do think adults in general have unrealistic expectations of young children, particularly between the ages of 5 and 10 in settings that are not specifically geared towards children. In school, the content, atmosphere, and even the furniture is student centered so I'm not sure that's a good comparison to something like church, a wedding, or a funeral, etc...In those situations I do not expect my children to "focus", lol, focus on what ...the adults might as well be speaking greek! They simply don't have the experience or maturity to comprehend adult-oriented activities like that . We will generally occupy our kids by bringing a "busy bag" with age-appropriate, quiet activities like lace cards, magnadoodles, coloring books/crayons, picture books, etc...If they get restless I take them some where they won't be disruptive. I have even let my 10-12yr olds bring books to read or pen/paper to doodle on...some content is still just a bit much for them and they get fidgety.

    I also think it's very individual. I've had kiddos who could sit through an entire church service without making a peep and seemed to want to follow along even at a very young age (3yrs old) with very little instruction or encouragement from me to do so, and I have kids on the other end of the spectrum who really struggle well into their teens (adhd).

    One other note..."sitting quietly and focusing" are not two-peas-in-a-pod...if I'm sitting, it's unlikely I'm focusing on anything other than wishing I could get up and move no matter how hard I'm trying to focus on what is being said. It literally makes me feel physically ill to sit still and it always has.


    Quote Originally Posted by 3andMe View Post
    How exactly do you teach a child to sit still and focus?

    I can redirect my children to sit (over and over and over again) and I can keep them entertained in their seats if I try really hard at dinner, with stories that everyone is involved in, and I can give them positive feedback for staying in their seats, but even after 5 years of teaching them, they have a really hard time sitting still and focusing if they are not that interested. Even if they are interested, they still are moving around or getting out of their seats. These are kids who did really well on the marshmallow test too (they were involved in a study to replicate it), so they do have some ability to delay gratification and demonstrate impulse control, but even when they know what is expected of them, they don't seem to be able to do it.

    I avoid activities where I will have to be with children who are expected to be quiet or contained for periods of time, even when those are activities they would enjoy.

    And yes, I know plenty of kids who can sit still far better than my kids can, but I also know that mine can go for an 8 mile hike and still be bouncing around like crazy the rest of the day.
    I had the same thoughts .

    Seriously, my kids have the rest of their lives to sit still...right now there's nothing important enough to me, even for a few hours a week, that is worth the frustration of trying to force my kids into behavior that I truly see no benefit in at this point. I don't see how staring off into space for 1-3hrs is "occupying" themselves or even a good use of time!
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  12. #12

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    Our electronics don't leave the house. But if we go to a restaurant or an adult centered gathering, I bring madlibs, decks of cards, books for my kids to occupy themselves with. And if they are bouncing off the walls, we take a walk or something. 30 years ago, my mom did the same for me when we went to church. I think it's just a matter of age appropriate expectations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Geneari View Post
    I have seen this too and find it disturbing--it's largely a parenting issue, in my opinion. The parents either want to be involved in the surrounding activity and thus not involved in watching their kids or maybe they've fallen down the electronics rabbit hole and don't have the resolve (or interest) in climbing out.

    I disagree though that it's a nostalgia thing (I like that "back-in-the-day-itis" lol). Being able to deal with boredom in a situation whether you're supposed to be involved in what's going on or not is a very important skill---and doing it without an electronic babysitter is probably even more important. In general we're being becoming less present in our lives and that's a big problem--not only do you miss out on a lot of things but it can be dangerous.

    I'm not all anti-electronics either, I just think they have appropriate uses and in general we rely on them too much, especially for constant, instant gratification entertainment.
    Yes this is what I was getting at. I am not sure if the 'back in the day' reference was in response to what I wrote but I definitely didn't mean it that way. I meant it more in terms of the idea that we just had to find a way to deal with being bored and somehow we did and that kids seem to lack that ability now because of electronic devices. I think the only way to "teach" a child to "sit quietly and focus", or what I really think that means is "learn to deal with being bored" is through practice, which would be very short periods of time where they are expected to be quiet graduating to longer periods.

    I also was not suggesting you take a kid and plop them in the middle of a an adult event and expect they will just sit there quietly. I bring lots of things to keep them busy but lots of times they don't use them and find a way to make it work. I think it's a mixture of parenting style, personality of the child, and practice/exposure.
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    Quote Originally Posted by macksmom View Post
    Yes this is what I was getting at. I am not sure if the 'back in the day' reference was in response to what I wrote but I definitely didn't mean it that way. I meant it more in terms of the idea that we just had to find a way to deal with being bored and somehow we did and that kids seem to lack that ability now because of electronic devices. I think the only way to "teach" a child to "sit quietly and focus", or what I really think that means is "learn to deal with being bored" is through practice, which would be very short periods of time where they are expected to be quiet graduating to longer periods.

    I also was not suggesting you take a kid and plop them in the middle of a an adult event and expect they will just sit there quietly. I bring lots of things to keep them busy but lots of times they don't use them and find a way to make it work. I think it's a mixture of parenting style, personality of the child, and practice/exposure.
    Quote Originally Posted by Geneari View Post
    I have seen this too and find it disturbing--it's largely a parenting issue, in my opinion. The parents either want to be involved in the surrounding activity and thus not involved in watching their kids or maybe they've fallen down the electronics rabbit hole and don't have the resolve (or interest) in climbing out.

    I disagree though that it's a nostalgia thing (I like that "back-in-the-day-itis" lol). Being able to deal with boredom in a situation whether you're supposed to be involved in what's going on or not is a very important skill---and doing it without an electronic babysitter is probably even more important. In general we're being becoming less present in our lives and that's a big problem--not only do you miss out on a lot of things but it can be dangerous.

    I'm not all anti-electronics either, I just think they have appropriate uses and in general we rely on them too much, especially for constant, instant gratification entertainment.
    I agree with both of these very well said. One thing that bothered me at Easter so to speak was though over all my teen step-nieces were polite after lunch they were turned anti-social quickly went into the guest bedroom and listened to the I-Pods/ Other Electronic crap when my kids though could play were enjoying playing with my brother, James, and I outside and they were inside too. Its a wonder why I don't know them very well. They missed the fun!
    *** Lindsay ***



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    I was referring to mil's comment about kids these days not being taught to sit still and focus. I get prickly about comments like that because it's one of the broadest generalizations I can imagine and ones perspective on kids these days depends on so many variables.
    One time I was in a very crowded hotel lobby trying to feed my kids a continental breakfast before going to the airport. I brought Sawyer a pancake and he started screaming he wanted a muffin so I called over to Dbf to grab him a muffin. A woman at the next table said to me, "Back in my day we ate what was put in front of us or we didn't eat. Kids these days have no rules."
    I just shook my head and laughed because, no. That wasn't back in your "day". That was back in your moms kitchen. That was YOUR experience and doesn't speak one iota towards the downfall of humanity because kids have no respect, according to you. Lol. Sorry. That is what I wanted to say! She should have thanked me for putting an end to his screaming because he certainly wouldn't have just shut up and eaten his pancake.

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    I don't think its a "Back in the day" thing either... I actually do think kids need to be taught how to sit still in boring situations. I do try to avoid them, but at the same time, I have 3 (almost 4) kids. Life is going to be boring at some point. They need to quietly sit through a siblings Doctor appt. or a quick banking transaction that I need to do... I can't just leave them with a sitter or plug them into a screen for everything. I do have age appropriate expectations too though. My big girls both have little purses in the car with colored pencils and a notepad that they are welcome to bring anywhere they like... and my almost two year old has a match box car in his pocket at all times. If he can drive it quietly, its totally allowed.

    We go to a church that has a kids program but my kids usually come with us, and there are small squeaks and noises here and there, and thats fine, grown ups make small noises occasionally too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bridget View Post
    I was referring to mil's comment about kids these days not being taught to sit still and focus. I get prickly about comments like that because it's one of the broadest generalizations I can imagine and ones perspective on kids these days depends on so many variables.
    One time I was in a very crowded hotel lobby trying to feed my kids a continental breakfast before going to the airport. I brought Sawyer a pancake and he started screaming he wanted a muffin so I called over to Dbf to grab him a muffin. A woman at the next table said to me, "Back in my day we ate what was put in front of us or we didn't eat. Kids these days have no rules."
    I just shook my head and laughed because, no. That wasn't back in your "day". That was back in your moms kitchen. That was YOUR experience and doesn't speak one iota towards the downfall of humanity because kids have no respect, according to you. Lol. Sorry. That is what I wanted to say! She should have thanked me for putting an end to his screaming because he certainly wouldn't have just shut up and eaten his pancake.
    I see this as a bit different because he was at a hotel and they offer many food choices I would have not liked the screaming but, at same time if he was like 2 or something I could see that. I guess I've learned to be more flexible with the food thing but, I think sitting still in general is different.
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  18. #18

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    Kids learn to sit still and be quiet by practicing it. I personally hate any kind of situation where *I* have to sit and listen for any length of time, like a conference. But i do think its an important skill to develop, because most of us will have times in our lives where we need to use it.

    I would not expect a 5yr old to sit still and listen to a sermon or whatever for very long. My 5th child is almost 10 and she doesnt just sit and listen during church. she colors, knits, other quiet crafts etc. But she is quiet for the most part. Even i will crochet or something like that if i have to sit for a long time.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by mom2CodySophia0811 View Post
    I see this as a bit different because he was at a hotel and they offer many food choices I would have not liked the screaming but, at same time if he was like 2 or something I could see that. I guess I've learned to be more flexible with the food thing but, I think sitting still in general is different.
    I was just giving an example of making general statements about any group of people.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bridget View Post
    I was referring to mil's comment about kids these days not being taught to sit still and focus. I get prickly about comments like that because it's one of the broadest generalizations I can imagine and ones perspective on kids these days depends on so many variables.
    One time I was in a very crowded hotel lobby trying to feed my kids a continental breakfast before going to the airport. I brought Sawyer a pancake and he started screaming he wanted a muffin so I called over to Dbf to grab him a muffin. A woman at the next table said to me, "Back in my day we ate what was put in front of us or we didn't eat. Kids these days have no rules."
    I just shook my head and laughed because, no. That wasn't back in your "day". That was back in your moms kitchen. That was YOUR experience and doesn't speak one iota towards the downfall of humanity because kids have no respect, according to you. Lol. Sorry. That is what I wanted to say! She should have thanked me for putting an end to his screaming because he certainly wouldn't have just shut up and eaten his pancake.
    And the woman also doesn't know your rules in your house. Had you been in the privacy of your home, then perhaps you would have pushed the issue for Sawyer to eat the pancake - but in a crowded, public place, you were trying to stop the screaming and not bother the people around you. I certainly do this myself where I will appease my screaming toddler (within reason) for the better of the entire surroundings. And a woman who makes a comment like that - had you let the screaming continue and forced the issue, she probably would've had some remark about how you didn't discipline your screaming child :eye roll:

    I think there is a time and place for kids to be "learning" to sit still and be quiet. As an adult, I have trouble doing this if it is in a place where I am bored or not interested. I grew up going to church where everything was very rote and way over my head as a child, so it was very boring for me. Even the homilies were read from a book, so there was no personal story or anecdote or any way for me to relate to the sermon. I think it is a lot for a young child to sit perfectly still and quiet for a full hour, trying to pay attention to something that they don't really understand. The same goes for certain shopping experiences, or restaurants. DH has always taken our little ones to explore a restaurant right after we order. They will walk around and see pictures on the walls, where the bathrooms are, and watch the chefs cook if that is an option. And I most certainly have pulled out my phone for DD in some particularly bad situations where she has been too tired/cranky/fidgety but we weren't able to leave for whatever reason.

    My kids are both very young still, but I don't think the things I am doing are going to keep them from learning to sit still and quietly. I think that we may approach it differently now, but I think as long as the parent is working to teach his/her children basic manners and life skills, then this will come naturally at an appropriate age.


    Anne (37) DH (37) Olivia (4) Harrison (1)

  21. #21

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    I have no idea if kids are or not taught to sit still and not sure how it worked in the past. All I know is that my DH was forced by punishment to sit still in church and it took him years to go back to church LOL He also won't go to a Catholic church as this is how he was raised. LOL

    My kids are not ready to sit still and I am not expecting them to sit during sermon so DH and I entertain them by giving them things to color, puzzles etc. and we go to a very kid friendly church. Some days they are great, some are not so much - yesterday was not a very great day

    However, if we go to restaurants and doctors and other places, I do not give them electronics and work with them to learn to sit. I have noticed that a lot parents heavily rely on electronics and I personally do not like that for my kids although I break the rule when they are sick, if we are at a very long sick appointment and such.

    I am not sure what your MIL had in mind. My MIL always has an agenda talking to me so I literally tune out most of what she tells me and we get along great hahaha
    KEVIN (6) & MATTHEW (4)

  22. #22
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    I really wasn't trying to soapbox about electronic devices LOL, but I do want to add one more thing. Maybe it's a fine distinction but I just don't see quiet activities like those mentioned here (coloring, knitting/crochet, etc) the same as electronic devices. Unless you're the kind of person that just gets so absorbed in what they're doing that you tune everything else out--its totally possible to color/knit and listen at the same time--and I think that's a perfectly fine way to encourage sitting still and dealing with boredom. But the stuff you do with a smartphone or tablet requires more attention so you can't be passively involved in the surroundings, even if you don't wear headphone and do whatever you're doing with the sound off. It's so engaging and that's why people have a hard time putting it away.
    Natalie [31] DH [40] 9/01, 1/06 NaturallyNatalie's Hair Accessories!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Geneari View Post
    I really wasn't trying to soapbox about electronic devices LOL, but I do want to add one more thing. Maybe it's a fine distinction but I just don't see quiet activities like those mentioned here (coloring, knitting/crochet, etc) the same as electronic devices. Unless you're the kind of person that just gets so absorbed in what they're doing that you tune everything else out--its totally possible to color/knit and listen at the same time--and I think that's a perfectly fine way to encourage sitting still and dealing with boredom. But the stuff you do with a smartphone or tablet requires more attention so you can't be passively involved in the surroundings, even if you don't wear headphone and do whatever you're doing with the sound off. It's so engaging and that's why people have a hard time putting it away.
    Yes, I agree especially with the bold
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  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Geneari View Post
    I really wasn't trying to soapbox about electronic devices LOL, but I do want to add one more thing. Maybe it's a fine distinction but I just don't see quiet activities like those mentioned here (coloring, knitting/crochet, etc) the same as electronic devices. Unless you're the kind of person that just gets so absorbed in what they're doing that you tune everything else out--its totally possible to color/knit and listen at the same time--and I think that's a perfectly fine way to encourage sitting still and dealing with boredom. But the stuff you do with a smartphone or tablet requires more attention so you can't be passively involved in the surroundings, even if you don't wear headphone and do whatever you're doing with the sound off. It's so engaging and that's why people have a hard time putting it away.
    I agree too.

  25. #25
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    I am enjoying this discussion. Thanks for all the insight, ladies.

    I agree that electronics are not the same as other activities, for the reasons mentioned. I think kids can pick up more in situations than we give them credit for. For example, in church, I bring activities for my kids and snacks, because I do not think they are old enough to just sit and listen to an adult oriented service. However, while they are coloring or playing with stickers, or whatever, they can still hear whats happening, and they are listening to the same thing I am. Later, Lily will ask me questions about something she heard, and I can answer on her level.

    I was wondering about children in school. It seems a very long time for young children to sit in a chair at a desk, although it is a good point that since it is child oriented it is not quite the same.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by runningmomofmany View Post
    Kids learn to sit still and be quiet by practicing it. I personally hate any kind of situation where *I* have to sit and listen for any length of time, like a conference. But i do think its an important skill to develop, because most of us will have times in our lives where we need to use it.

    I would not expect a 5yr old to sit still and listen to a sermon or whatever for very long. My 5th child is almost 10 and she doesnt just sit and listen during church. she colors, knits, other quiet crafts etc. But she is quiet for the most part. Even i will crochet or something like that if i have to sit for a long time.
    I don't think it's a skill so much as an awareness of social expectations that develop over time . I think it's something we grow into rather than something we "learn"...most of us pick up on social cues looooong before adulthood whether we're specifically "taught" or not. I do think it *can* be taught/learned...I have a friend who trained her 18month olds to sit and be quiet (do nothing...just sit quietly) for an hour or longer, but it's not the right thing for my family.

    Quote Originally Posted by Geneari View Post
    I really wasn't trying to soapbox about electronic devices LOL, but I do want to add one more thing. Maybe it's a fine distinction but I just don't see quiet activities like those mentioned here (coloring, knitting/crochet, etc) the same as electronic devices. Unless you're the kind of person that just gets so absorbed in what they're doing that you tune everything else out--its totally possible to color/knit and listen at the same time--and I think that's a perfectly fine way to encourage sitting still and dealing with boredom But the stuff you do with a smartphone or tablet requires more attention so you can't be passively involved in the surroundings, even if you don't wear headphone and do whatever you're doing with the sound off. It's so engaging and that's why people have a hard time putting it away.
    LOL, I'm totally in the minority I think, but I do not see a problem with my kids up to age 10 using electronic devices to stay occupied in situations where content is over their heads and they are expected to "be still and quiet . They don't have their own, but they use my tablet and their older sibs' kindles, ipads, or ipods

    Then again the last time I attended church regularly I had 4 kids ages 4yrs and under along with an 8 and 10y/o so maybe my situation is a little different since we're not talking about occupying one or two young kiddos but 6 of them. Also, my kiddos 7 and under have zero computer time at home, very limited tv time (as in not even once per week...maybe once or twice per month), we own no other game systems than a wii which we only have 5 games for and the 7 and unders are only allowed to play when we have their friends from up north over (2-4x/yr), and they spend most of their day playing outside, reading books, doing puzzles, and playing legos/duplos.

    I guess I just get a little defensive because it seems people assume if your kids are being occupied with electronics away from home that it must be their life *at* home too. I really think that can't be assumed.
    Dh (39) Me (37) 8bio 1adopted, 14 angels






  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by KC's wifey View Post
    I am enjoying this discussion. Thanks for all the insight, ladies.

    I agree that electronics are not the same as other activities, for the reasons mentioned. I think kids can pick up more in situations than we give them credit for. For example, in church, I bring activities for my kids and snacks, because I do not think they are old enough to just sit and listen to an adult oriented service. However, while they are coloring or playing with stickers, or whatever, they can still hear whats happening, and they are listening to the same thing I am. Later, Lily will ask me questions about something she heard, and I can answer on her level.

    I was wondering about children in school. It seems a very long time for young children to sit in a chair at a desk, although it is a good point that since it is child oriented it is not quite the same.
    I really think it just depends on the kid .

    I totally disagree that what they're doing makes a difference whether it's a game on an electronic device or coloring in an activity book. I really feel it's just a matter of personality, attention span, interest level, etc...
    Dh (39) Me (37) 8bio 1adopted, 14 angels






  28. #28
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    I have a lot to say on this subject! I started typing out a response on my lunch break and then accidentally lost it so I'll try again but try to keep it short.

    Listening and attending are skills that can be taught and that won't develop if a child doesn't have a chance to practice. However, expecting to "teach" those skills by asking a child to sit for an hour and listen to a sermon directed at adults is very much like "teaching" a child to swim by throwing them in a lake and then walking away. A few children will learn to swim, some will drown, and most will paddle around ineffectively.

    Parents and preschool teachers teach attention and focus starting with gross motor activities that engage the whole body, singing songs with hand movements that everyone does together, reading together and discussing the material, and large group reading activities like circle time in a classroom. The readings are short and engaging, there is lots of opportunity for the child to be an active (and not passive) participant, and it is meaningful to the child. The kindergarten teachers I have worked with use these same techniques. Kids shouldn't ever have spent their entire school day sitting passively. The language is (or should be) on their level. I do find that my students with language disorders do have the same sort of "tune out" response that you see with kids listening to a sermon at church - because they language is over their heads. (I'll spare you all my rant about the right way vs. the wrong way to integrate special education students). I tell parents and preschool teachers I work with that the MOST important thing for a child to be able to do before entering kindergarten is to be an active listener - to be able to participate in activities and respond meaningfully to what is happening around them. Much more important than knowing letters or numbers.

    I also think it is important for children to be bored - at home. They should have their own time to pursue their own interests and find creative ways to interest and occupy themselves. However, I disagree that teaching children to tune out and be bored during a lecture during a young age is an important skill. It just teaches them to tune out and be bored during lectures in high school, and during meetings later in life ... this is not something that will give them much benefit. I actually think the opposite, that until they can listen meaningfully and develop that as a skill it's counterproductive to teach them to sit in one spot and zone out.

    My mother sent me to church with busy bags (35 years ago, which was definitely "back in the day"!) and I remember one Christmas eve the minister had a very vivid sermon where he asked everyone to picture what Mary must have felt like and thought riding to Bethlehem and sleeping in the stable. The language he used was very clear and simple (unlike his typical sermon) and I was so interested I put my stickers down and just listened. Later my mother asked my father if he noticed that I was actually paying attention to the sermon that time. Clearly it made a difference with simpler language and a subject that I could grasp as a small child.

    I do agree with others above who have commented that some kids (and adults) just have a different base level of activity. That's a different skill, and while there are some things you can try (fidgets, etc) you just can't expect everyone to sit unmoving for an hour, and that goes for adults as well as children. So again, I don't see the point of trying to teach that.
    Me (40) DH (47) & furbabies * m/c 7/08 4/12 11/12

  29. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gwenn View Post
    I have a lot to say on this subject! I started typing out a response on my lunch break and then accidentally lost it so I'll try again but try to keep it short.

    Listening and attending are skills that can be taught and that won't develop if a child doesn't have a chance to practice. However, expecting to "teach" those skills by asking a child to sit for an hour and listen to a sermon directed at adults is very much like "teaching" a child to swim by throwing them in a lake and then walking away. A few children will learn to swim, some will drown, and most will paddle around ineffectively.

    Parents and preschool teachers teach attention and focus starting with gross motor activities that engage the whole body, singing songs with hand movements that everyone does together, reading together and discussing the material, and large group reading activities like circle time in a classroom. The readings are short and engaging, there is lots of opportunity for the child to be an active (and not passive) participant, and it is meaningful to the child. The kindergarten teachers I have worked with use these same techniques. Kids shouldn't ever have spent their entire school day sitting passively. The language is (or should be) on their level. I do find that my students with language disorders do have the same sort of "tune out" response that you see with kids listening to a sermon at church - because they language is over their heads. (I'll spare you all my rant about the right way vs. the wrong way to integrate special education students). I tell parents and preschool teachers I work with that the MOST important thing for a child to be able to do before entering kindergarten is to be an active listener - to be able to participate in activities and respond meaningfully to what is happening around them. Much more important than knowing letters or numbers.

    I also think it is important for children to be bored - at home. They should have their own time to pursue their own interests and find creative ways to interest and occupy themselves. However, I disagree that teaching children to tune out and be bored during a lecture during a young age is an important skill. It just teaches them to tune out and be bored during lectures in high school, and during meetings later in life ... this is not something that will give them much benefit. I actually think the opposite, that until they can listen meaningfully and develop that as a skill it's counterproductive to teach them to sit in one spot and zone out.

    My mother sent me to church with busy bags (35 years ago, which was definitely "back in the day"!) and I remember one Christmas eve the minister had a very vivid sermon where he asked everyone to picture what Mary must have felt like and thought riding to Bethlehem and sleeping in the stable. The language he used was very clear and simple (unlike his typical sermon) and I was so interested I put my stickers down and just listened. Later my mother asked my father if he noticed that I was actually paying attention to the sermon that time. Clearly it made a difference with simpler language and a subject that I could grasp as a small child.

    I do agree with others above who have commented that some kids (and adults) just have a different base level of activity. That's a different skill, and while there are some things you can try (fidgets, etc) you just can't expect everyone to sit unmoving for an hour, and that goes for adults as well as children. So again, I don't see the point of trying to teach that.
    Well said!

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gwenn View Post
    I have a lot to say on this subject! I started typing out a response on my lunch break and then accidentally lost it so I'll try again but try to keep it short.

    Listening and attending are skills that can be taught and that won't develop if a child doesn't have a chance to practice. However, expecting to "teach" those skills by asking a child to sit for an hour and listen to a sermon directed at adults is very much like "teaching" a child to swim by throwing them in a lake and then walking away. A few children will learn to swim, some will drown, and most will paddle around ineffectively.

    Parents and preschool teachers teach attention and focus starting with gross motor activities that engage the whole body, singing songs with hand movements that everyone does together, reading together and discussing the material, and large group reading activities like circle time in a classroom. The readings are short and engaging, there is lots of opportunity for the child to be an active (and not passive) participant, and it is meaningful to the child. The kindergarten teachers I have worked with use these same techniques. Kids shouldn't ever have spent their entire school day sitting passively. The language is (or should be) on their level. I do find that my students with language disorders do have the same sort of "tune out" response that you see with kids listening to a sermon at church - because they language is over their heads. (I'll spare you all my rant about the right way vs. the wrong way to integrate special education students). I tell parents and preschool teachers I work with that the MOST important thing for a child to be able to do before entering kindergarten is to be an active listener - to be able to participate in activities and respond meaningfully to what is happening around them. Much more important than knowing letters or numbers.

    I also think it is important for children to be bored - at home. They should have their own time to pursue their own interests and find creative ways to interest and occupy themselves. However, I disagree that teaching children to tune out and be bored during a lecture during a young age is an important skill. It just teaches them to tune out and be bored during lectures in high school, and during meetings later in life ... this is not something that will give them much benefit. I actually think the opposite, that until they can listen meaningfully and develop that as a skill it's counterproductive to teach them to sit in one spot and zone out.

    My mother sent me to church with busy bags (35 years ago, which was definitely "back in the day"!) and I remember one Christmas eve the minister had a very vivid sermon where he asked everyone to picture what Mary must have felt like and thought riding to Bethlehem and sleeping in the stable. The language he used was very clear and simple (unlike his typical sermon) and I was so interested I put my stickers down and just listened. Later my mother asked my father if he noticed that I was actually paying attention to the sermon that time. Clearly it made a difference with simpler language and a subject that I could grasp as a small child.

    I do agree with others above who have commented that some kids (and adults) just have a different base level of activity. That's a different skill, and while there are some things you can try (fidgets, etc) you just can't expect everyone to sit unmoving for an hour, and that goes for adults as well as children. So again, I don't see the point of trying to teach that.
    Thanks for your input!

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