Let’s Get Ready for Easter
With Easter coming up, I thought I might share a few tips on how I made it through Sundays with children. Regardless of how often you make it to church, Sunday worship with kids can be a challenge. Sometimes it can make you wonder why you bother going to church at all. Check out why regular worship is important here.
The day is completely different from any other day of the week and likely the night before was different as well. I remember Sundays when we arrived at church a bit frazzled just from getting ready for church.
Keep Reading even if you have no children, some of these steps all of us can take to improve our worship time.
Start Preparing E
arly in the Week
- Check with the church office to see if anything is going to be different this week.
- Will there be Children’s Church or Nursery Attendants available for your child?
- Do the children remain in the service for a portion of the service?
- What are the service times? Some churches change the time on special days.
Saturday Preparations for Worship with Kids
- Plan a simple breakfast that is easy to serve and clean up. For us, muffins and milk or orange juice usually did the trick.
- If you have babies or toddlers, clean out and re-stock the diaper bag.
- Decide what everyone is wearing. Our daughter, by 4 years of age, was pretty obstinate about what she would wear. But we found that if we planned this with her the night before, there wasn’t a fight on Sunday morning.
- Is everything clean and pressed; down to the shoes. Avoid having to find socks and shoes (or shoelaces) and hairbows at the last minute. When everything is laid out and ready to put on, it takes much less time and aggravation to get everyone dressed and in the car.
- Lay out everything you need to take with you (Bibles, lesson books, etc) Have them ready to grab as you walk out the door.
- Get your bath and hair washed. For as many as possible, do this Saturday evening. Especially with large families and/or few bathrooms.
- Keep Saturday evening sacred. In the Jewish faith, the Sabbath begins at sundown, the day before. I see a lot of good in this because it keeps us from staying out late and being too tired for worship in the morning. So we tried to stick to the rule that everyone gets home by dark. It’s not always possible, but this definitely helps the whole mindset of preparing for worship the next morning.
Sunday Morning Schedule
- Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early. This keeps you on time even if something goes awry. Children do much better if they are not being rushed. This also
giveyou a few minutes to visit with friends or just get your mind focused on worship.
- Arise early and enjoy a cup of coffee before you start getting the kids going. Typically, worship starts later than the start of school or work days. Why not rise at the same time to make the morning more enjoyable?
- Turn on some upbeat worship music. In one home we lived in, we had an intercom. I piped the music through the house. This was everyone’s wake up call or at least notification that I would be coming around to get them out of bed.
- Breakfast for the children. If you cook something, such as bacon, this could be another way to get them rolling out of bed. I know it works for teenagers. 🙂
- Get dressed. I never figured out which was better.. dress the kids first or myself. I’ve had that fail either way. LOL! Maybe get dressed and put on an apron! 🙂
- Assign others to help with the littles. You’ve laid out the clothes so this shouldn’t be difficult.
- Give a 10-minute “Time to get in the car” call. Start looking over everyone to be sure they are fully dressed, teeth brushed, hair combed, etc.
- Again, leave 15-20 minutes earlier than needed.
Church Arrival & Worship with Children
- Use the restroom. Non-negotiable rule. This keeps them from having to get up during the service to use the restroom. This is a no-no in our family. If you must take them out because they are disruptive, do so and get them calmed down. Then return to the service. If you don’t they will learn that you will take them out if they get disruptive. Children CAN learn to be quiet and respectful in church.
- If you are a regular, watch for newcomers and greet them.
- Find a seat. I suggest in the front half of the sanctuary. There are fewer distractions. Sit as a family. Another non-negotiable.
- Prepare your heart for worship. Pray silently. Read some scriptures. The bulletin may have the pastors’ text. Go ahead and read it over to begin thinking about it. If the bulletin has the scheduled songs, meditate on the words of these songs.
- Instruct your children during worship. They should learn to sing/sit/stand/pray along with the congregation. No toys or coloring during this part of the service.
- Smaller children can have non-distractive toys or a book/coloring book. Save that container of Cheerios for the last few moments of the service when they are getting restless and the pastor is making his final point or call for decision.
- Encourage your school-age children to take notes. You could even set up rewards for doing so. As a children’s minister, I created a small booklet for the children to take notes on days we stayed in the service. Such as this one. I gave them a small prize after church if they showed me their work.
After Worship Activities
- Don’t rush out. Greet those around you, especially newcomers. Go straight to the ones you don’t know. They will leave quickly, especially if no one speaks to them. Your friends will be around and you know how to contact them anyway. If you need to speak with them, give them a quick, “Don’t leave before I talk with you.” greeting and then head to the visitors. If you are a visitor. Wait around a bit. Give people a chance to find you. Or just go ahead and speak to someone near you.
- Clean up around you. Pick up bulletins, papers and anything you brought with you. Most churches have volunteers that do the cleaning. No one gets paid to do this, so help out and clean up your own mess.
Hope Your Sunday Worship is Joyful
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Writer/Speaker sharing about how to make it through anything. I married a pastor with two boys who just lost their mom, I homeschooled my own children, led children’s ministries and women’s ministries in the church, and founded and led a homeschool support group. Had to give up much of this due to chronic pain. Like the Insurance, I know a lot because I’ve seen a lot.