Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, writing for the New Liturgical Movement, has an excellent article on children and the Traditional Latin Mass. However, I notice that there are several fine points in it that could apply or be helpful also for those young families that attend Mass in the vernacular (the Novus Ordo Mass). I especially enjoyed this point:
Kids need to practice sitting still at home before they can do it well in Church. We parents often make the mistake of trying to correct bad Mass behavior at Mass, where it is ineffective and awkward. A month or so of a family rosary can teach most kids how to sit still, because at home one can be insistent about the expected behavior in a way one can’t readily do at Mass. It is a chance to practice sitting still and, for older children, kneeling, so that their little bodies become familiar with a certain discipline of formal prayer, which feeds right into the Mass. Those with large families know that you can see the difference between children who have been given such opportunities and those who have not.
I’ve written various times on family prayer (here, here, and here, for example). I hadn’t made this particular connection before, however. But to me, it makes sense. Teach kids to pray at home and, thereby, to sit still, and Mass will be easier. There’s more great points before and after the above excerpt – check out all of Dr. Kwasnieski’s article.