Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Amish Child Training

Could you explain more of the process of how the Amish train their children to behave during such long church services? Did some moms take the children out for a time? Any other helpful tips? Also, along those lines, how do Amish women get everything done when they have very little ones?

I don't think any two families train their children exactly alike. And most babies went through a period of time when they really hated church, usually around the time they were learning to crawl and getting around on their own and the mothers had to spend time outside with them.

Thankfully that period of time usually didn't last very long. In our community when a baby was born and people came to visit the gifts they gave weren't ones you would find at a typical baby shower. But instead toys and special things the mother could use later to occupy her child during those long services.

A favorite that would probably have most baby "experts" gasping in horror was a cheerfully painted salt shaker with a dozen or so toothpicks. The mother would remove the toothpicks and then help her baby place them back inside through one of the holes on top until the baby had mastered the concept and tried to do it on it's own. There were other similar toys that kept them occupied quietly for quite a length of time and I never saw or heard of any babies that were hurt in any way playing with that type of thing under the watchful eye of their mother. Snacks were an important part as well.

In our family babies always sat on our lap at every meal for the entire meal from the day they were born until they could eat with a spoon on their own which I think helped them be used to being held quietly for longer periods of time.

About being able to get all your work done with a lot of little ones.  I'm not sure that is even possible. Even though the children were really involved in almost everything I did there were days when the dishes were simply piled into the sink and had to wait until evening to be taken care of. The windows had little hand prints on them and toys were scattered across the floor while I tried to keep them clean and fed and get the most important things done.  Since those days have passed already I can honestly say that those unfinished things and the clutter involved with little children was nothing compared to the fun we had at times laying on the floor coloring or putting little puzzles together while the dishes waited patiently in the sink.

The windows stay a lot cleaner now, the dishes get cleared away after every meal, toys hardly ever litter the floor, but every once in a while it is still fun to push schedules aside and simply take a day to do things we all enjoy.


  1. Hey, whatever works, right? And as long as the parents were watching closely then I'm sure the toys were perfectly safe for them! :)

  2. I have four lovely nieces who have large families, not Amish though. One is now having her 10th child, and they are the best behaved children I have ever seen. They are all home schooled, and even play instruments and sing in their churches as well as other churches. Right from the start, they are taught to help with little chores and work their way up. They don't live near each other, but the children of each are so well behaved. I could tell you stories of how they impressed me. I don't know how they do it, but the mothers are all very patient and organized.

  3. Toriz, Yes they were safe when used in church. I'm sure no one went home and left their child unattended with the same type of toys though.

  4. katlupe, thanks for your comment. It must be a real pleasure to you to spend time with your nieces and their children!

    Some of the families that have inspired me the most with well mannered, well behaved children had no ties to the Amish or any plain back ground.

  5. That is a great post!

    I am not Amish, but use most of the things you have talk about in this post.

    At church we don't have child care or nurseries or anything of the sorts, we all sit together. I have use many quiet toys like wooden little cars etc... and snack is always a must. There is time that I miss most of the service because I am out of hearing reach trying to calm a upset little one, but this is not all the time.

    About getting things done with (3 little goose 4 and under and another one on the way) I have to let them be big girls and help Mama, things are not prefect, but things gets somewhat done, but we love each other and are making memories, that is what is important isn't it :-)

  6. Thanks for sharing! It gave me some good ideas.

  7. Appears that the big difference is that the children are held for long periods of time while events are going on around them. That and having something to keep their hands busy without distracting others. One idea was a doll with buttons, snaps, hooks, zipper, shoestrings. Busy learning.

  8. Pushing toothpicks into a salt shaker is brilliant, although I can see why it would make "baby experts" gasp in horror. And I think you're absolutely right, the dishes can wait in the sink when there's more important work (and play!) going on!

    You have a lovely blog!

  9. Long ago, our church used to have three hour services on Good Friday. I let my eldest daughter (she was three years old) play in my purse while I paid attention to the service. I noticed a rapid movement out of the corner of my eye, and discovered she'd located my mascara (the old fashioned kind in the red slide box) and was brushing her teeth. Sensing that I was looking at her, she smiled at me! I had to get up and leave.

  10. I was always involved with playing music during our long church services (not Amish) when our children were little, so my husband had charge of them. If they acted up he would take them out to the car, where they could sit until they were ready to come back in. They learned REALLY quickly that it was more fun to stay in church! (And we never made much use of the "nursery" either.)

  11. nice post...thank you for sharing...happy holidays...blessings soraya.


Thank you so much for taking time to comment. I love hearing your thoughts.