10 tips for bringing kids along on a Visita Iglesia
Planning to take the kids with you when you go on Visita Iglesia? We have 10 tips to make the trip easier and safer this Holy Week.
Holy Week is here and you’re not the only one thinking about taking your family on a Visita Iglesia. Going to seven churches with the kids in tow can be quite a challenge, especially if you’re planning to visit the most popular and iconic churches in the city and nearby provinces.
Expect crowds and a collective sense of urgency that can sometimes take away from the solemnity of this mini-pilgrimage. The weather can get humid and clammy—which eventually leads to the kids getting irritable and fussy. What’s more, they may not understand the significance of this outing, especially if they’re really young.
Here’s a list of tips to help you on your trip:
Make sure to map out which churches you’re visiting based on either proximity to home and to each other or priority/preference. Long and hectic trips can make both children and parents irritable and eventually ruin the pilgrimage for everyone. Here’s a helpful map of churches you can go to in the metro.
Bring enough water and remind the kids to drink often.
Summer heat is at its peak so you should have enough water for everyone to last the trip. Drinking a bit more than the usual 5-8 glasses a day should be your target.
Bring hats, umbrellas and light jackets so you and the kids can be ready for whatever weather condition greets you on your trip.
This can be tricky when you have small children who can’t memorize a phone number or an address. Put your contact details in their pockets or let them bring along their own small bag with an info sheet inside. Some parents even sew the details onto the underside of their kids’ clothes just to be sure.
Snacks can serve to distract your kids from the difficulty of the trip and help them last longer between meals. Consider sandwiches instead of biscuits so you don’t disturb the peace and leave crumbs at the churches you visit.
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Hand them out to your kids for wiping food from their mouths, cooling their sweaty foreheads, and cleaning their hands. You can also use them to wipe unclean surfaces at churches and public toilets.
Keep in mind that one adult must always be responsible for one child. If your spouse doesn’t want to come with you, and no other adult is coming along, then it is advisable to only bring one child along with you. Handling another child or two more puts everyone at risk of getting separated.
If your child has a mobile phone, make sure they have it on them securely. If worse comes to worst and you get separated, contact your child or track them using GPS. Learn how to use Apple’s Find your Friends or a similar app so you can track your child at all times.
If you have old mobile phones exclusively for texting and calling, these are the best devices to bring on a Visita Iglesia. It lets you keep in contact and doesn’t make you or the kids targets for thievery. Don’t wear expensive jewelry or bring your laptops and tablets. Have one person bring a smartphone for weather and traffic advisories.
In crowded churches, children may run off to play with other kids in airier spaces. Always have your eyes or hands on your child and teach him to stay with you at all times.
Keep in mind that the Visita Iglesia is about reconnecting with God and being with Christ at the Stations of the Cross. Use this as an opportunity to teach kids about spirituality during Holy Week. Have a safe trip, everyone!
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