Our parish is full of kids. Seriously we have something like 40 kids under the age of 10. Our parish is not that big so that many kids is A LOT of tiny bodies in a small space. Many of our families have 4+ kids. Of course we have 5. Little kids are hard to keep quiet in church. It's just the nature of being little...and wiggly....and noisy...and fussy...and hungry. I'm all of those things too but I have lived longer and know how to focus....well, most of the time anyway. The kids are still learning.
I want my kids to grow up to love and worship God. It can be hard to find the balance of making sure my kids are keeping quiet and well behaved and learning about God...and then stepping over too far into the realm of being too strict and stern and making my kids not like church. It is a balance that I wibble wobble back and forth on. It's hard! We do not have a nursery or children's church. In the Orthodox faith children are part of the worship service. I truly like this because at some point/age you will be bringing your child to the service. Our kids have done it since birth and it's all they know. I love to stand with my kids and worship with them. They have hard times but for the most part they engage and sit still and participate in the services.
I'm wandering away from what my original point was going to be. What I wanted to say was that being a parent is hard. Taking small kids to church is hard. Combine the two and well, it's hard...er.
I can tell you there have been times when people have criticized me, my parenting, or my kids' behavior. Hmmmmm. That never sits well with me. Not really helpful. Of course there have been times I agreed with what the person was saying but I didn't need to hear that from them.
On the other hand there have been many more times that people have complimented me, my parenting, or my kids' behavior. So nice, so helpful and so much appreciated.
When you see a parent doing a good job...tell them. When you see kids behaving well, tell them and their parents. It's such a nice thing to do. It only takes a moment and it can make such a difference. It's nice to be acknowledged. And...it focuses on the positive.
Side note: This is not a ploy for compliments on my parenting. :) Just a little reminder (for myself too) to take time to compliment and encourage others.