Here are the results from 10 persons who took the Babysitting survey. The service was offered as a convenience for parishioners who have young children and wished to attend mass together. When the service was first offered it was aimed at children who have a hard time sitting still or being quiet for 45 minutes during mass. It was not designed as a catechetical or liturgical tool.
Several respondents mentioned a Liturgy of the Word for children, something which became very popular during the 70’s and 80’s. The idea was to take the children somewhere else for a children’s version of the gospel and a homily aimed at their level and return them for the Liturgy of the Eucharist to the general congregation. When these are liturgies and are well done, they are generally engaging and sometimes catechetical. They surely allow the children a change of pace by leaving and returning. The disadvantages are that the dismissal and return of the children during mass can be distracting, it doesn’t foster development of church manners in the children and it separates families during mass. Technically, and importantly, if a homily is given it must be given by a deacon or priest. The model we have been using emphasizes the family’s unity during mass as of prime importance, accepting a little bit of noise and commotion in the congregation along with it.
We’ll resume babysitting during the 10:30 AM mass and see how it works in our new worship space without a separate classroom.