I grew up in the rural black church. We had Sunday school but not “children’s ministry.” I grew up with there being kids in church.
Even before I had kids I was attentive to child noises.
Anyway, a lot of my formative adult church exps were w/o kids.
I thought that it was a normal thing for kids not to be in church. I thought it was normal for families to be surveilled and policed during church.
Anyway, I felt really on edge and everything every time we went to church.
My kids were experiencing something new too. They had only sat in church at my in-laws.
Anyway, I realized that I was carrying the anxiety from being in that context into my new context.
I think that having a nursery for babies and a kids ministry during service is a valuable service for parents and kids. At the same time, kids should be part of the community and not seen as a problem.
If your church is cool with kids being in the service, especially if you are a liturgical church (doesn’t apply as much to churches that are noisier and less structured), it’s so important that you communicate this to people.
My kids have basically made the adjustment although my oldest misses going to Children’s ministry.