A few months ago, I made the decision to remove *nearly* all of my little boy's non-religious themed toys from my church bag. I chose to do this because it seemed to me that all those match box cars and airplanes were causing him to be more wound up and more rambunctious. It was hard for him to no longer have his little toys at first, but he adjusted quickly and Sacrament Meeting has been going much smoother since. It was one of the best things I've ever done!
It is important to me that my son recognizes the difference between reverence and just quietly sitting. I want him to know that church is a place where we think about Jesus.
However, helping a toddler be reverent during Sacrament Meeting can be quite the task. If I'm not adequately prepared, it is impossible to keep my 2 year old quiet and sitting still, let alone reverent!
So I've compiled a short list of ways to keep toddlers learning the gospel and thinking of Jesus and other gospel-oriented things!
1. Puzzles! I made my busy little boy some very simple puzzles using pictures that I picked up at my local Deseret Book. All I had to do was laminate them and cut them into puzzle shapes.
2. Books! The LDS Church really has provided so many resources for us frazzled mommas! There are so many books to choose from to help our children learn about the gospel. You can find a lot of them at Deseret Book. The Gospel Art Book is my son's favorite!
My little boy's LDS Quiet Book was made with much love and care. It's very gratifying to see it entertain him so thoroughly during church!
3. Coloring is another great quiet activity. There are many places online to find religiously themed coloring pages, but my favorite resource is the Nursery Manual.
Buuut I haven't wanted to battle with the crayons during Sacrament Meeting lately. (My sweet, sweet toddler has taken to coloring on everything EXCEPT paper lately! And when crayons cause conflict, my son doesn't get to feel reverent!) So we've been bring along his Etch-a-Sketch and encouraging him to draw gospel themed pictures onto that. He loves to draw the Tree of Life and temples :D
4.LDS Lacing Cards. I haven't made these yet because I'm considering making them as stocking stuffers for my little man. I know he'd LOVE them!
Less is more when it comes to keeping my son reverently occupied at church. I tend to rotate which books and activities I pack in my church bag. I also like to limit just how many things I bring for him so that he isn't too distracted from the actual meeting. I've found that my son really does pick up on what goes on and is being taught during Sacrament Meeting if I let him!