For little kids, church can be an intimidating place. No matter your denomination, the loud music, crowds of strangers, and the minister’s booming voice can make for a challenging Sunday morning.

The key to making your child comfortable is finding services that cater to young children, like a service with a children’s moment or a special lesson for kids. Even though your child might spend part of the church service in the nursery or children’s church, they will likely spend some time in the sanctuary.

To make the transition easier, and help your young children behave in church, try these tips:

1. Humanize the minister.

Our son has been known to shout out during the beginning of church, “I don’t like Pastor Sam!” Needless to say that drew a lot of eyeballs and unwanted laughs our way. It’s important to make the minister seem like a regular person. Lift your kids up so they can see him face-to-face and let them shake hands or share a high-five. If possible, invite the pastor over for dinner so they can spend some time with your children and create a relationship with them.

2. Make it lively.

Find an up-tempo service so the music will be more upbeat and spirited. These services often give parishioners the chance to be more free with greeting each other and are more relaxed.

3. Buy a Children’s Bible.

There are some well-written and beautifully illustrated Bibles for children that you can use to begin teaching your kids lessons they will hear on Sundays. If you can teach them a story that will be discussed at the upcoming service, your child might feel more tuned in and apt to pay attention.

4. Befriend a fellow church family.

Look for similar young families that also put their children in the nursery or Bible school and see if there’s a friendship that can develop. If your kids know that they’ll see their friends at church on Sunday they might not give you such a hard time about going.

5. Join a Summer Bible School.

One of the easiest ways to get kids interested and acclimated to church and the parishioners is to enroll them in a vacation Bible School over summer break. It can be an extremely fun experience with lots of singing, dancing, and activities. There are probably lots of other activities, like a children’s choir, that might be worth checking out.

6. Begin at home.

Talk about going to church during the week at home so by the time Sunday morning hits your kids are prepared.

7. Get them involved.

One of my favorite things to do as a kid was to drop our family’s donation into the collection plate. I looked forward to it each week and my kids love it, too. If you can get them involved in small ways and big — like volunteering — they’ll feel more invested in the process and they’ll be more inclined to enjoy the experience.

8. Let them help you give.

Every church performs fundraisers for causes. Pick one out that would be appropriate for children to assist with and get them involved. Let them help pick out clothes or toys for needy families or buy items for kids who need school supplies. Once your child sees the fruits of their efforts and how it affects others, they’ll begin cultivating a greater appreciation for the value of attending church.