If you’re a follower of the Church-Hacker on By Common Consent, you may have seen this idea already. But in case you don’t want to read through all the comments on that post, here’s my experience with the idea of implementing a “cry class,” as we called it in my ward.
When we took our first newborn baby to church, we wondered what all the other parents were complaining about. Taking a kid to church is easy! They just sleep right through the whole thing. Then around six months (for us anyway), Monkey started becoming too aware to sleep in the unusual atmosphere of church. The battle to keep him controlled and quiet during meetings was only amplified when he learned how to crawl, and then walk (right into the corner of the Gospel Doctrine teacher’s table). We (or more accurately, my wonderful husband) then spent the next few months tiredly roaming the halls during the last two hours of church, chasing a grouchy or bored toddler, praying that Heavenly Father might hasten the time when he could finally enter nursery at 18 months old and provide some sanity to our Sabbath. (Or at least allow us to nap during Sunday School without interruption.)
This is where the cry class comes in. We discovered this idea when we moved from Utah to Seattle. Monkey was nearly one and so much of a noisy distraction during Sunday School that we usually got nothing out of it. In our new ward in Washington, we were informed that a “cry class” met in the Relief Society room while regular Sunday School met in the gym. When we attended our first cry class, it was like a revelation: all the couples with young babies in a room together, sharing toys and snacks, while one parent taught and led discussion. The doors were closed so that the children couldn’t escape. All of the parents were in a rotation of teaching the lessons from the Gospel Doctrine manual.
The best thing was that everyone in the room understood babies. No one stared at you if your kids bumped into the table and cried. No one minded if a child crawled under your chair or wanted to pull something out of your bag. The kids were so much easier to control when they were allowed freedom of movement within a confined area and had new toys and people to play with. And we actually felt the spirit again on Sunday. That’s a win in my book.
The cry class in our ward has since lasped since we went through about a year with no new babies in the ward, but now that Sailor is at the right age for it, I’m about ready to start it up again. I challenge any of you with toddlers to try implementing this idea in your ward. If you’ve got a few other couples in your ward with young babies, all you need is a classroom and a willingness to put up with a few interruptions. If you want to be official, you could clear it with the Sunday School president or bishop, but I can’t really imagine anyone objecting to putting those wandering parents in a more uplifting environment.
Do you have a cry class in your ward? What do you do about babies during the third hour of church? Leave a comment with your thoughts about the cry class concept.