I know a thing or two about loud kids—I have three of them! My toddlers don’t sit still, aren’t quiet, and sometimes force me to bite my tongue. If you see a young family at mass— if they have loud kids—here are some things you can say to encourage them and be a positive voice in their day.
1. “Look at those little saints!”
Honestly, the family will probably just be relieved that you didn’t say “You have your hands full.” At the same time, this remark is a great way to welcome the family and let them know that they belong. You’ll have to make sure you say this sincerely, as it could be taken the wrong way depending on tone.
2. “What a great witness your family is to this parish!”
This is a great thing to say to a parent as it reminds them of the good they are doing with their vocation. Young families attending mass is a sign your parish is growing and fostering healthy vocations. This statement lets them know you believe it.
3. “You’re doing a great job” or “your kids are so well-behaved”
Pro-tip: You can also say this one even if you don’t think they’re doing that great of a job. As a mother of a young family, I can tell you that any young family who puts in the effort to attend mass as a family is truly fighting to live their faith. That is doing a great job. If they’re holding their screaming kids, chasing their toddler, making mid-mass potty trips and whisper-answering a bunch of their preschooler’s questions, then they are doing a great job! So, don’t be afraid to say this even if you noticed a few extra wiggles. More likely than not, the child will have been very well-behaved for their specific development. Acknowledging good behavior is a great way to encourage both the parents and their children.
4. “I’ll scoot down in the pew so you can be closer to the aisle”
Let me tell you right now: this offer is absolutely music to a young family’s ears. This not only is helpful and encouraging but it also acknowledges the needs young families have. It’s good if you don’t roll your eyes every time a member of a young family sneaks by you to leave the pew. It is even better if you scoot over so they don’t have to sneak by you in the first place. If you’re able to move to the middle, do it!
5. “Thank you for teaching your child about the mass”
Some people get upset at the idea for thanking someone for what they should be doing. I say it never hurts to acknowledge when someone does something good, whether it is in the job duty as a Catholic parent or not. By thanking them for the good they are doing, you are letting them know that their efforts are both noticed and appreciated.
Can you think of another positive thing to say to encourage a young family at mass? Has someone said something to you that made you feel so encouraged as a young family? Share with us in the comment section below!