Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Children’s Book Review and Giveaway: "Rufus and Ryan Go to Church!" Plus, Tips for Introducing Your Child to Worship Services (US/CAN)

Susan Heim on Parenting is pleased to participate in the book tour for Rufus and Ryan Go to Church! by Kathleen Long Bostrom. Enjoy the tips below for introducing your child to church and then discover how you can win a copy of this delightful board book for children ages 2-5.

About Rufus and Ryan Go to Church!
In Rufus and Ryan Go to Church!, four-year-old Ryan explains to his stuffed monkey, Rufus, what is happening as they attend church on Sunday morning. He lets Rufus know when it’s time to sing and to pray and to be quiet. Author Kathleen Bostrom brings a delightfully light touch to the text as she provides an introduction to an experience that most children are exposed to long before they understand why. And children everywhere will relate to the idea of explaining their surroundings to their favorite companions as they go about their daily activities.

About the Author
Kathleen Long Bostrom is a published children’s author in both the Christian and trade markets. She has a Master’s in Christian Education and a Doctorate of Ministry in Preaching, and she has worked in children’s ministry for many years. Kathy and her husband, Greg, have three grown children and live in Illinois.

About the Illustrator
Rebecca Thornburgh began illustrating children’s books full-time in 1996 and today has almost 100 books to her name. Rebecca’s vibrant watercolors have been showcased in previous Ideals titles, including the new edition of The Story of Christmas. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and two daughters.

Susan’s thoughts: Children are often afraid of the unknown, and this book shows kids that church is a fun place where everyone is friendly. They get to do interesting things like sing, listen to a story, and pray. Kids can even bring their pals, like Rufus the stuffed monkey! Rufus and Ryan Go to Church! is an excellent way to ease children’s fears about going to church.


1. Attend a child-friendly church.
A church that invites children to attend worship, that has a children’s time during worship or a service in which children are included, will not mind the noise and commotion that comes with having young children in worship.

2. Bring your child to church on a day other than Sunday morning.
Call the church office and make an appointment with a pastor, Christian education director, or church school teacher. Go on a tour of the church facility, and locate the Sunday school rooms and bathrooms as well as the sanctuary. Let your child explore the sanctuary, see how it feels to sit in the pew, and leaf through the Bibles and hymnbooks. Look behind the pulpit, Communion table, and baptismal font, and explain the use of these.

3. Take home a worship bulletin and go through the service at home.
Show your child that there are times to sit, to stand (and in some places, to kneel), to sing, to pray, and to listen. If the Lord’s Prayer is used, write down the words and let your child practice at home. Prepare offering envelopes and let your child put money in the envelope, and explain why the offering is important.

4. Play “Let’s go to church” at home.
Practicing the worship service at home will help your child feel more comfortable with what happens in worship.

5. Read the Bible and pray at home.
Purchase an age-appropriate Bible for your child and read the stories. Let your child handle the Bible and encourage questions. You can explain that the Bible is where we learn God’s story, and how we are part of that story. If you let prayer be a part of your everyday life, not just something you do at church, your child will understand its importance.

6. Sit near an aisle or in a place where you can make an exit if needed.
If your child needs to go to the bathroom, or is feeling overly stimulated or having a disruptive day, don’t be embarrassed. Walk your child out of the sanctuary until she can work off a little energy, and then come back in. This is much easier if you don’t have to crawl across a row of other people in the pew!

7. Be prepared with a worship notebook or bag.
Many churches provide materials for children to use during worship, but if not, bring your own supplies. Colored pencils can be used to mark the parts of worship in the bulletin as you go through them one by one. Get to church a few minutes in advance and use a bookmark to mark the hymns that will be sung that day. Have some coloring pages from a Bible coloring book for your child to color, or some blank pages for doodling. This is not disrespectful, and can help your child listen more attentively. Have the words of the Lord’s Prayer printed on a page for the child to follow, if he or she is of reading age. Let your child draw a picture of the anthem or hymns being sung, or the sermon, and give this to the choir director or pastor afterwards.

8. Teach basic church etiquette.
Speak to people before and after worship, and teach your child how to shake hands and greet others. If your child is shy, don’t force it, but practice at home and let your child see you greeting others. Let the child put the hymnbook and Bible away after use, and be sure to take your bulletin with you, rather than leaving it in the pew. Meeting other people and taking care of the church facility helps a child feel that “This is my church!”

9. Get to know the pastor.
Pastors of child-friendly churches love to get to know the children of the church. Introduce your child to the pastor after worship, and participate in other church activities so that the pastor becomes a friend and not a scary adult.

10. Don’t give up!
It may take awhile for your child to become comfortable in worship, and to learn how to sit quietly. The best way for this to happen is to attend worship on a regular basis. There may be days when it doesn’t go well, but don’t let this stop you from coming the following week. Practice makes perfect!


One lucky winner in the United States or Canada will win a copy of the board book, Rufus and Ryan Go to Church! by Kathleen Long Bostrom. Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway ends at 11:59 PM ET on Tuesday, October 15, 2013.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.


  1. start taking them early so they are used to it.

  2. I like the Read the Bible and pray at home tip because it's important to learn about God at home as well as at church. Thanks.

  3. Take them early and they will get used to sitting quietly. however, it does take time

  4. If a child starts to get upset take him/her to the back of the church so they don't interrupt the service that much.

  5. I entered your giveaway.
    It would be great to win a copy of
    Rufus and Ryan Go to Church by Kathleen Long Bostrom.
    In response to your requirement to Leave a comment on this blog post sharing a tip for taking a child to church.
    I think you should take them at an early age
    and they will get used to sitting quietly.
    Also try to attend a child-friendly church and
    Read the Bible and pray at home are great tips.
    Thank you for having this giveaway!!!!!!

  6. Anonymous10:27 AM

    Take them at an early age so they learn they have to be quiet when in certain places

  7. I think it is important to teach your children to sit and be quiet for lengths of time. We go to church regularly and this has been important for us. Our church also has a separate kids area where they are given a lesson while we are being taught a lesson as well.

  8. I sit in the back near an exit.

  9. Start early and they will learn to behave accordingly.

  10. Say prayers at home before meals, bedtime etc. Explain in age appropriate ways what to expect at church and answer any questions.
    via Rhonda W G.

  11. Jennifer Rogers7:21 PM

    Start them young, so they be come accustomed to the atmosphere!

  12. I take them when they are babies and throughout their childhood so that they learn right away about going to church and how to conduct themselves.

  13. start them young- definitely. sitting in the pews, praying quietly, singing and listening.... they need to know the "etiquette" of church, but also the joy and fun!

  14. samantha w12:58 PM

    I have taken my kids to church yet, but we learn about God at home

  15. teach them young to sit quiet and correct manners in church, I always take bible story books

  16. Instead of shipping them off to the nursery when they are younger, our parents to the children keep them in the service. We are not so bothered by them and the children learn to worship and listen and do pick things up.

  17. she loves going to church I'm very lucky. thankyou, ken pohl19@comcast.net

  18. My children are so used to attending Church now that they look forward to going at least to share the hour with other kids in playing and song.

  19. Anonymous1:36 AM

    Make it a happy time for them.

  20. Each of our kids have their own Bible (something unique, catered to their taste) and they bring it to follow along each week. We also bring a folder of church related activities for them to do if the service goes long. abrennan09@hotmail.com

  21. we started taking our kids to church when they were just babies. Teach them to listen or bring them a book

  22. Teach basic church etiquette.

  23. Don't give up is a good one. I usually have crayons and paper in my bag .

  24. There are foster kids in our church that are old enough to attend church but have not had background training yet. They really need this book

  25. Read the Bible and Pray at home is my favorite of the tips.


  26. Bring a quiet 'activity' bag with you.

  27. I love the idea of taking a whorship bag with activities the child can do during worship time like Bible coloring pages and activity sheets.

  28. Anonymous5:06 PM

    We will sing songs!


  29. I took my daughters at an early age to church every Sunday and after they became adults, they continue to go to church on Sunday with their families.

  30. my children do really good when it comes to going to church....because they get to go to their own "children's church" during ours....thanks!

  31. Take them at a young age. Our church also has religious themed color books and crayons for the kids to do during church.

  32. Our church provides child care for little ones.

  33. I like the tip Be prepared with a worship notebook or bag

  34. we have children's church so that makes it easy but if we didn't i would bring crayons and a coloring book for the little kids

  35. We say our prayers, we talk about Jesus, we go yo church and Sunday school.

  36. Make it a routine and look forward to it.


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