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Helping Kids Adjust

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Any of you who have children and have gone through a move, I would sincerely appreciate any input you might have on this one...

We just moved to Las Vegas about 3 weeks ago and are still getting settled a little bit. One of my biggest challenges is my 3-yr-old. In San Antonio he absolutely loved going to church and being in his Sunday School class and Mother's Day Out class. Since we moved it is an absolute fight (with massive tears and screaming) to get him to go. He doesn't want to make new friends here because Las Vegas isn't San Antonio and he has decided he's not going to like it. It's heartbreaking and frustrating at the same time.

On the one hand I know that he needs to go and interact with other kids to make friends and learn to love our new church. On the other hand I can't help but wonder if I'm setting him up to resent or even hate church (and therefore God?) by forcing him to go every time instead of letting him come to my class or "big church" with me. I'm just kind of at a loss right now on how to handle him.

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Well, three year olds don't generally know what is best for them, so, outside of maybe knowing when they need to go potty, I don't let them make their own choices yet.

That being said, if he can behave himself in big church, then bring him there. Personally, I think we short-shrift kids when they are banished from the family into a class where they learn how to color and make popsicle stick crosses, rather than being immersed in the word of God; they are capable of understanding much more than we give them credit for. I will tell you how I came to that conclusion.

Some years back I was asked to preach at, of all places, a motocross event, in the pit area. One of the things I saw there, and was amazed at, was the little kids, 5, 6 years old, riding fully-motorized, miniature motorcycles, at high speeds, on the exact same track as the adult riders, same track and course, same jumps same obstacles, and doing exceptionally.  I realized then and there, if a 5-year-old can learn to operate a motorcycle on a motocross track responsibly, why can't they learn more about the Lord than singing Jesus Loves Me and watching a puppet show and covering their hands in glue?

So, if he is happy in church with you, and he behaves himself, he is far more likely to learn more there, than in a class where he is unhappy and distracted by that unhappiness.

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we didn't have a nursery or children's church to put our son in at 4 years old.  I took coloring books and quiet toys and he would get down in the floor and play, but he was listening and taking in everything.  One morning the pastor was preaching about something and asked a rhetorical question, but my son yelled out the understood answer (correctly)  He couldn't have been more than 5 years old.  He was in the floor playing with some cars at the time.  I think it helps kids pay attention to what is being taught if they have something to do with their hands.  he has had a big change in his life and I think it will help if you minimize new experiences for him right now.  let him adjust and once he's comfortable in his new surroundings start exposing him to new situations one at a time, letting him adjust to each one.  I think right now he's just overwhelmed.

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I guess nobody ever played daddy's hat with their kids?

My oldest many years ago (she is 33 now) had a similar issue in a new move to a new town and church. She was about that age but perhaps a little older. Anyway, she would get so nervous she would throw up once I tossed her in the nursery.

An elderly couple recommending wearing her as a hat. IOW: tell the preacher what the deal was and let her into the adult service in the front row (not the back) and let her sit on your shoulders.

The embarrassment overcame the nervousness and within ten minutes wanted to go into the nursery. No more vomit, problem solved.

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