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Kids in Shul

If, When, and How

Published: June 19, 2010


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Visitor Comments: 25

(25) Anonymous, September 30, 2010 7:30 PM

Children should go to shul

The rabbi is right regarding the 3 key variables of you, child and shul. However, I am a firm believer that ALL children from age 2 and up should at least be exposed to some of the davening/service for 2 reasons. 1) It will show them one of the most important components of "acting Jewish" is and 2) If both parents want to go to shul to daven, it is sometimes complicated to have children stay with a babysitter (that you trust) or other parents. If the mother has to stay home with the kids, this could lead to resentment or wondering why (in the case of BTs rather than FFBs) they are becoming frum if all this means is sitting at home with the kids with no TV on. I really do not like synagogues where people (typically the elderly, at least in my synagogue) get all bent out of shape because a child screams or cries. A child is a symbol of continuity of our people and life. Loosen up! If we are too strict in the synagogue, our children may be turned off, G.od forbid.

(24) meshugena, July 29, 2010 9:13 AM

Meshugena for family

I have one son that can't sit and one son that is younger and can sit for several hours so each child is very different. I try to bring my children to services that are geared up for children via music or child friendly holidays. When I need to attend services that are not so child friendly, I love daycare/babysitting at shul. I want them to see that we are there to pray and be Jewish. I want them in services as much as possible as I do also believe that they need to slowly get use to the environment, people and language. I try to bring them in during the beginning when we arrive and have them sit with me for approx 15-30mins. They can see iff their friends are in services and get a healthy dose of some service. Then I take them to babysitting to play. They are 6 and 5.

(23) Anonymous, June 29, 2010 1:23 PM

Bring kids to Shul

I bring up my children as I was brought up. Going to Shul is a privilege. My children are only allowed to come to Shul when they have the ability to sit quietly without uttering a single word from the beginning until the end of Davening. I have Boruch Hashem been successful so far. My oldest child is now 25 years old and they go down in age from there. They all view Davening as an amazing priviledge and have almost never spoken a single word in all their years of coming to Shul.

(22) Joyce, June 27, 2010 4:47 AM

Bring kids to shul, AND be responsible parents

As a parent of young children (at that time--now many years ago, from a month old and more, or with multiple aged children 1m-7years and onward; they're now 19-26), I felt it very important to bring my child/ren to shul, as I am a shulgoer and davener myself and wanted to transmit that. BUT I showed by example what shul was about: 1) davening, 2) sitting quietly myself and NOT talking/disturbing/socializing with friends until after shul, 3) removing children to the hall briefly if they needed the break or were disturbing in any way, 4) parent and child sitting/being TOGETHER in shul. There are, unfortunately, many ways in which each of these is not respected. The only time during the year, by and large, and only when young, that any playroom was availed was for RH & YK. For a number of years, attendance happened in a hashkama minyan--the kids were up early anyways, then progressed to a later one. My children grew up knowing that this was what shul was about, and it became second nature to them. Unfortunately, the largest shul in the community tended to have different minyanim which did not support parent and child davening together beyond a certain age, sometimes causing families to actually be split and daven in different shuls! How tragic! Every child has the chance to daven, or at least to be, in shul from a very young age, and this can and should be managed by responsible parents who explain before and outside of shul about what goes on and expected behavior, as well as following up with davening once the children learn even the very beginnings or basics, and modelling by parent/s. Non-messy, healthy snacks of fruit can be brought, I breastfed babies, and brought small, non-disturbing toys, when appropriate. Socializing can be held off for after shul, and many connections and friendships can be made and strengthened. It doesn't have to be a "trade-off" with 'who watches the kids at home', and sometimes, especially with single parents, can't be.

(21) Anonymous, June 24, 2010 2:08 PM

A good alternative for kids in shul

Shul doesn't HAVE to be a 3-hour experience for kids (or adults)! Depending on where you live, see if there is a Hashkama Minyan on shabbos morning. These typically run quicker (I know some will argue that this is NOT a good thing, but that's for a different discussion) and do not feature a (long) sermon, and other "additions" to the service. If you can get up early, and get your child to do so, then this may be an easier way to get them to sit through a whole service. (And yes, I am a regular hashkama attendee and there are a number of youngsters at the minyan.)

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