Help! My kids aren’t participating during Mass!

Do you struggle to get your kids to participate in the Mass? Maybe they’re nervous about singing or praying, or maybe they don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing. Either way, Lauren Turner—professional singer, music teacher, and author at Aleteia—is here to help!

The key to helping your kids participate in the Holy Mass is to lead by example. “We were always there – we were always leading choirs, we were always leading other people so our children are used to doing that. Now, they still have had times where they’re children and they forget or they look around. They’re children—they can’t be engrossed every minute. But … when they walk into church, they want to make that sound and sing along versus kind of hiding back in the back so nobody hears them,” explains Turner.

Don’t be afraid to speak up and participate yourself. “You have to do it yourself, which means you have to learn it. I think the main reason why people … try to be really quiet and they don’t want to sing out loud, they don’t want to speak out loud for the responses, too, is a lot of times because they think they’re going to be wrong. Sometimes at different churches things are a little bit different and they’re afraid that they’ll be wrong. But it doesn’t matter,” says Turner. She recommends taking some time outside of Mass to research what your responsibility is for participating in the Mass. Listen to Catholic radio, read a book, take a class or talk to someone about the Mass to learn it better.

Many of us don’t make a conscious decision to not participate in Mass. “A lot of times we also just think, well everybody else is [participating], or the choir’s doing it, or the lector’s doing it, or the cantor’s doing it. And so we don’t necessarily make a conscious decision to just not do it, we just don’t do it.” We need to make a conscious decision to sing, pray, and participate in Mass and make that a habit. It’s the same thing as other good habits we teach our kids – healthy eating or kindness – if we give a good example or if we give a bad example, our kids or grandkids will notice.

Listen to the podcast here, or read Lauren Turner’s article at Aleteia.org.