How I prepare for church with a large family

At the beginning of the year my husband told me that one of our family goals was to get to church before it starts. Yeah we were pretty much that family that showed up in the middle of praise and worship and sometimes later. He is not late for his job and the children are not late for school he reasoned.  The Lord wanted us to have a renewed perspective on going to worship as it is more important than a job or school.  Point well taken Pastor Tyrone. I will say it is a lot of work but with more deliberate planning on my part it can be done. Hear me when I say that I write this post not as an expert or as someone who has mastered all of this.  I am in the thick of things here folks but I have found that consistently implementing the following steps has helped us to be punctual.

1. Washing and combing the girls hair can be very time consuming.  With that in mind I now try to wash and comb the two older girls hair on Saturday.  This way I just have to focus on Faith’s hair on Sunday morning. No more playing beauty shop on Sunday mornings.

2. Select and iron clothing for children and adults midweek.  This is a huge time saver.  When I say select clothing I mean everything, including accessories (tights, socks, belts, etc.).  Make sure the tights you thought would work don’t have holes in them, not fun to find this out on Sunday morning.   Even with a designated spot to put them, shoes can quickly go missing from our shoe closet downstairs.  Tyrone has made it a point to get the younger two boys church shoes and put it in their rooms as opposed to the regular shoe closet. This way we don’t run the risk of searching for missing shoes as we are heading out the door.

3.  Fill your vehicle with gas during the week, don’t wait until Sunday morning.

4.  We also try to make sure everyone completes their homework either on Friday or Saturday.  This way we don’t have to stress about signing papers or completing homework before or after church. I realize that this may change as the kids get older and their homework becomes more difficult.  However at this point in the game we are trying to teach them to prioritize and prayerfully these lessons will stick.

5.  Restock the diaper bag with pampers, change of clothes and wipes the night before. In the morning, I have a designated child pack snacks for the younger ones and fill the sippy cup.  He is also instructed to take the bag immediately to the van once the task is completed, ensuring that we do not leave the diaper bag behind.

6.  Get to bed at a reasonable hour.  We try not to entertain the mindset of  ” oh it’s the weekend so we can stay up as late as we want.”  We don’t allow the children to stay up late on school nights so the same holds true for the night before we go to worship.   Our service starts a little later but we try to have breakfast together on Sunday mornings and we also have to travel a distance for church.  We are not mommy and daddy kill joy so the kids may stay up one or two extra hours later but we encourage them to get a good night sleep.

7.   I aim to get up at least a hour before the entire family on Sunday morning.   This means I have to be wise about what time I go to bed on Saturday night.   During this hour I cook dinner.  Don’t be too impressed, I try to make my Sunday dinner as simple as possible and make the oven do most of the cooking.  I do not try new recipes on Sundays.  I stick to what I know and what I do well.  Sunday is the day for whole roasted chicken, ribs, roast, etc.  I like to slow cook my meats so I put it in  first thing in the morning and by the time we are ready to leave for church 4 hours later, I can take dinner out the oven and put it in the fridge.  I also aim to prepare sides that require minimum work like oven roasted sweet potatoes or steamed vegetables.  It takes me approximately 30 minutes most mornings to prepare a nutritious Sunday dinner.  We sometimes choose to eat out on Sundays as a special treat but this is an exception not the rule.

8.  We have a departure time in mind.  This sounds simple but it really is needed.  If you have the mindset that we will leave when we can, it doesn’t give you a goal to work toward.  Announcing to the older children what time we want to leave  helps to keep them on track and keep us all on the same page.

With six children 11 and under things  won’t always go as planned but the above steps have helped to minimize a lot of frustrations on Sunday mornings.

What are some things your family does to prepare for Sunday Worship?

 

12 thoughts on “How I prepare for church with a large family”

  1. camele stewart says:

    Omg, U good u r indeed a super mom god bless u.

    1. Anika Jones says:

      Thanks for the kind words but believe me when i say i am not super mom, just realize its super necessary for established routines

  2. Donielle says:

    You need to make this one of your Titus 2 lessons and post it on YouTube to help out others…even those with families not as large as yours.

    1. Anika Jones says:

      Thank you for that suggestion!

  3. K johns says:

    Great advice!

    1. Anika Jones says:

      Thanks!

  4. debbie says:

    We did some of those things as well. As a mom of 7 it was necessary….but even as a mom of 1, I had to adjust things. One hour for baby and one hour for me. As time went on, if there was a baby to feed and change and dress, I kept that 2hr lead time in place. My husband took over breakfast on Sundays, and getting the other kids moving and making sure they were ready. Also, I had a separate bag just for Sundays…..well…….actually, just to keep in the van. Always. It had extra diapers and wipes and paci and whatever. I usually didn’t need it, but if we got in a bind by forgetting the big bag or running out of something, it was an emergency backup.

    I had a dad comment to me once on how efficient I was at getting all my kids to church on time and he dissed his wife by saying he wished she could be like me…..ahem. I smiled and smoothly told him that I only get myself and the baby ready for church. That my husband…(underline husband) cooked breakfast and got the rest of the kids together.

    Pretty much everything you wrote in your post is necessary….and once you get the routine going, the kids will pick it up. We also had an older kid help a younger kid……finding whatever needed finding…..and helping to get dressed, etc…..because, sometimes you need the help and it makes them responsible. Also, I utilized the crockpot (s) plural on Sundays…….love crockpots…..

    Enjoy your Sundays……

    1. Anika Jones says:

      Thank you for your comment. It is always nice to hear from those who have traveled the same road I am on. I totally agree with the all hands on deck approach, it benefits the entire family!

  5. lashanda says:

    Great post!! Thanks for sharing

    1. Anika Jones says:

      You are welcome!

  6. Terralyn says:

    Hi Anika, this post is so helpful! It is refreshing to hear that others also have been convicted of their church timeliness! LOL. I love the treating the night before like a school day of sorts. That is one thing we really hadn’t employed because the kids should grow up understanding that we go to church to serve first and also learn how to serve better through learning how to employ God’s word. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Anika Jones says:

      Glad this blessed you Terralyn. We dont do it perfectly every Sunday, but implenting the suggested strategies has helped!

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