If your child has been in a worship nursery and it is time for him or her to join you in the sanctuary, one way to prepare is to visit the sanctuary before you go there for worship. Even if a child has visited the sanctuary occasionally with a church school class or for special programs, a visit now that is clearly connected to the fact that the child will soon be coming here every week is a good first step for parents and children as they begin worshiping together every Sunday. Since sanctuaries generally have people moving around and feel very “alive” just before or after worship, that is a good time for a visit.
On this visit do whichever of the following fits your particular child:
Try sitting in different places and choose a place to sit the first Sunday.
Visit some of the important places in the room - the baptismal font, the Table, the place where the preacher and other worship leaders stand. Tell BRIEFLY what happens there, e.g. “This is where NAME stands when he talks to us about God.”
Check out the musicians’ places and instruments. Meet one of them briefly if possible.
Enjoy the different sound and feel of the big room.
Show your child the worship tools in the seats (hymnals, Bibles, cards, etc.). With an especially interested child, show a printed order of worship and begin explaining how it works.
Tell the child what you will do in worship and practice some of it – listen, sing, pray, stand, kneel, sit…
Sanctuaries are both bigger and arranged very differently than almost any other room a young child occupies. They intimidate some children at first. So, a visit before the first worship experience is a great way to set the stage for worshiping in this special room.