One of the challenges with parenting is overcoming the whining and complaining of our children. Children complain over chores. Students whine over homework. Fussing and arguing with one another. Sometimes at the end of the day, we are worn out. It can be challenging to get your kids to church when they don’t want to go. Overcome complaining and get your kids to church in the evening or on Sunday morning with these seven tips.
Overcome Complaining Tip #1 Overcome Inertia
Inertia is the idea that an object in motion will continue in motion and an object at rest will stay at rest. Have you ever noticed that those who are busy seem to get more done? When we get up and get going, we build momentum and tend to stay in motion. If we sit down for too long, it is so much harder to get back into action. Being in motion makes it easier to overcome complaining and get your kids to church.
Stop all television viewing and phone usage 20-30 minutes before you need to leave the house. Screen time is addictive. The natural response of an addict when you take away their drug is to get angry and frustrated. The inertia to keep watching is strong. Separate it from being associated with leaving for church with the next part of this tip.
If you know that you need to get out of the house, get your kids moving beforehand. Don’t ask them to go from sitting to leaving. The inertia will be intense! Have them get up and do some quick chores or tasks, then getting them to leave the house will be easier because they are already in motion.
Overcome Complaining Tip #2 Don’t Give In
Give in just once, and they will remember for years. Can I get an amen? Mom, remember you always let me get a treat in the check out aisle. But in reality, you bought one treat for them nine months earlier. You might feel weak at that moment but don’t open the door to the idea that you don’t go.
My family went to church every Sunday: rain or shine, on vacation, or during a blizzard. It never occurred to me to even ask in high school if I could stay home. It just wasn’t allowed. Consistency is key to overcoming complaining and get your kids to church.
If you need to have a reset in your house; do it. Tell your family that you are making a renewed commitment to attend church and that you are not missing unless it is for an extreme reason. Explain your “why” but don’t leave it up for argument. Establishing a new habit can be hard, but still with it and it will become an expected part of your week. You can overcome complaining and get your kids to church – if you don’t give in.
Overcome Complaining Tip #3 Build Friendships
Encourage friendships at church. We all like going places where we know that we are meeting up with friends. If you volunteer to help with your children’s activities at church, it will give you an opportunity to see what friendships want to nurture. Hosting gatherings at your house is a great way to foster community and build relationships. Inviting other families over to share a meal will help to build multi-generational relationships that make church events more welcoming.
Frankly, our world is a pretty lonely world. Strong, lasting Christian friendships are one of the best gifts we can give ourselves and our children. Those friendships need time to build. We have to invest outside of church time to help create friendships that go deeper.
Jesus and his crew of friends did life together, not just Saturday worship. We are created for community as the Body of Christ Friendships make us eager to get together. It is these relationships that can help us overcome complaining and get your kids to church.
Overcome Complaining Tip #4 Don’t Allow Complaining
Complaining is a habit. We have to break our families from this habit. Come up with clear expectations and punishments. Make going to church a non-negotiable and make complaining about it a non-starter.
Come up with a creative discipline for each instance of complaining so that your children quickly learn that it isn’t worth it to complain. Why do they go to school every day? Because they know it isn’t an option. There is no point of complaining and trying to get out of it.
Complaining consequences could include getting to sit in your class, rather than go to their class. They could earn cleaning privileges. Or, my personal favorite – loss of phone access.
Overcome Complaining Tip #5 Make it Special
If you are setting a new habit, it is fun to work towards a reward. Sometimes we need positive enforcement, not just negative enforcement. Decide for the first six months, every time you go to church every time for a straight four weeks your family will celebrate. It could be a simple as an ice cream treat on the way home afterward.
Overcome Complaining Tip #6 Pace Yourself
Midweek evening church activities can be hard. We are all tired by the end of the day. Students have spent a long time learning and working in class. Parents have spent the day working. Younger kids have played hard and are ready for bed. Yet, we are expected to go to church and be on our best behavior right up to bedtime. It is quite hard some nights.
Look carefully at your schedule for that day and see what can be changed or cut to make it easier to get to church. If you stay at home with your younger children, choose to stay home and get some restful time in the afternoon. Perhaps nap time needs to be a little longer, or later so our children are more rested for the evening.
Maybe practice times for activities need to be moved to other days so that older students have a chance for some downtime as well. Create an environment with less complaining and get your kids to church.
Overcome Complaining Tip #7 Don’t Go Home
This is a more expensive tip, but some nights it might be worth it. If you have trouble getting back out to church, don’t go home first. When I get home after being gone all day, it is hard to go back out. When evening hits, I want to stay at home. Your extroverted family members might be ready to go, but your introverted family members are ready for some peace and quiet.
Take some time to reconnect over dinner. (Maybe you pick it up and take it to church early or pack a picnic lunch.) Mom and Dad don’t have to cook or clean up. Since you are already in motion, it is easier to stay in motion and get to church.
Overcome complaining and get your kids to church – It will be worth it!
Setting a new habit or standard for our families can be hard. We have to train ourselves and our children at the same time. Pray and commit your plans to the Lord. Our faith grows stronger when we gather with other believers for study and fellowship. It is hard to live a faithful life in this crazy world. We need fellow Christians to encourage us and hold us accountable. Raising disciples means doing life with fellow believers just as Jesus did with his disciples. May these tips help you to overcome complaining and get your kids to church!