4 Moms Get Their Large Families to Church on Time


moms of many manage

Welcome to this weeks edition of 4 Moms, 35 Kids: How Moms of Many Manage This week we’re sharing  how we get our large families ready and out the door for church on time.

You may want to read what the other 4 Moms have to say about this topic; KimC at Life in a Shoe, Connie at Smockity Frocks and the Headmistress at The Common Room ’cause sometimes we’re late.

I feel a bit like a hypocrite because we don’t have to leave for church until 10am. Combine that with the fact that we’re generally up by 6 or 7 AND the fact that we are indeed sometimes late, um yeah, I’m not so sure you want to be taking advice from me either.

We have company in our home for lunch nearly every Sunday. So much of our plan for getting out the door includes preparing for guests.

Prepare Saturday evening

Each Saturday at around 5 or 6 we stop our projects and prepare for the Lord’s day.

  • Regular chores are done so the house is tidy and clean
  • The table is set for company
  • We set up extra tables and chairs if needed
  • Food is prepared for lunch on Sunday
  • All children are bathed
  • We lay out clothes for the next day
  • Family worship
  • Prompt bedtime

Set the alarm for Sunday morning

Give yourself more time than you think you need, set your alarm and get up. Now don’t fool yourself by thinking, “I got up early, so I have plenty of time to_________ before I start getting ready.” That doesn’t work in our house, trust me we’ve tried it. Get ready first.

Simplify breakfast

Our breakfast every Sunday is a bagel with a glass of juice. Not only is this a special treat for the children, it makes preparation and clean up a snap and allows the kitchen crew to have a more restful beginning of the Lord’s Day.

Have the children eat and brush their teeth in their pajamas

The reasons for this are obvious, right?

Use the buddy system

Have older children help the younger children get dressed or make sure that someone checks  those little ones before you leave.

Unchecked little boy (notice the un-brushed hair, mis-buttoned, quasi-tucked shirt and tie inside the shirt collar)

Checked little boy

Not that we’ve ever had a kid make it to church without shoes in the winter on or anything like that, but double checking those littles may save you some embarrassment.


Leave time to fix hair, make beds and clean up messes

The 6 year old has her heart set on french braids, someone spilled juice on the floor and I forgot to scrub the potatoes for lunch. It seems that we will always have those last minute things, so we plan extra time to finish lunch preparations, braid hair or wipe up that spill.

Plan some more extra time

After everyone is ready Mark likes for our family to be able to sit down and prepare for worship before we leave. Most of the time this happens for most of our family, but having extra time does provide a kind of ‘on time’ insurance for those last minute ’emergencies’ that tend to pop up,

like when your fully dressed 1 and 3 year old discover a bag of sugar and make a sweet, sticky mess of themselves.

You’d think with all the ‘extra’ time suggestions that our family would get to church with lots of extra time, but we don’t. How about you?

Visit the other moms of many to read how they get their brood out the door:

Smockity Frocks
Life in a Shoe
The Common Room

This post is part 1 in the 4 Moms series on church and large families:

Part 2: Keeping Little Ones in Worship

Part 3: Choosing and Fitting into a Church


Recent 4 Moms posts:

For more Moms of Many posts visit the 4 Moms page.

Share on Facebook0Pin on Pinterest15Email this to someoneTweet about this on Twitter

14 Responses to 4 Moms Get Their Large Families to Church on Time
  1. Tiana Krenz
    March 24, 2011 | 8:41 am

    Great post! I’ve learned a lot of these things in a “trial and error” fashion. I wish I had read this about 6 years ago!

    God Bless!


  2. Taryn
    March 24, 2011 | 8:56 am

    We went to churches that had services that began at 11am. I don’t know how people get there earlier than that. We had 6 children. When the three oldest boys were young I had them wear matching button-down shirts(no ties). The girls wore dresses-even in winter. Saturday was the day to prepare for the Lord’s Day(1 Cor 16:1,2; Acts 20:7; Rev.1:10 KJV).


  3. Jamie
    March 24, 2011 | 9:19 am

    Ha, ha, ha, Kim!!! :). To be honest, I have personally found an earlier church time to be EASIER. There’s not as much “time” for other things to happen. We have a family integrated Sunday School that we go to at 9, which really means leaving the house 8:30 (okay 8:45, but we plan for 8:30 to make sure everyone goes to the bathroom first!!! And, you know, that last minute face check for Shannah and Titus). When we skip Sunday School and just go to church, it’s somehow easier to be late because it “feels” like we have more time than we do! Ahhh…the nature of the beast. I enjoyed this post! And, I AM still going to get a video of Titus to you 🙂


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    You may be right, earlier = less time to get into trouble. We used to have to leave by 8:45, we just got up earlier.

    Still waiting for the video of Titus. 🙂 Nick looks great, he has 90% or more, range of motion. Working on getting him to use it more.


  4. Jama
    March 24, 2011 | 9:42 am

    Your kids can make it on a bagel? I realize you only have worship, but I’m not sure mine could make it. What did you do when you had a 30+ minute commute plus SS and worship? I’ve always felt like we need protein to get us to lunch so I often prepare casseroles/quiche the day before. You eluded to this in your “prepare the day before”, but I’ve learned (the hard way) to gather not only clothes the night before but Bibles, hairbows, sippy cup, paci, stock the diaper bag, etc. My biggest issue is trying to get myself and 8 kids ready with access to only one sink. That will be changing next week, and I can’t wait!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    We started the bagels for Sunday breakfast when we lived in Bristol. The kids eat a lot at Sunday lunch.

    Are you moving or remodeling? What did I miss??


    Jama Reply:

    Remodeling so we can move. We are getting new countertops next week and adding a second sink to the master bathroom. We hope to get our house listed in the next few weeks.


  5. Crissi
    March 24, 2011 | 10:47 am

    It’s nice to see other moms of large families plan stuff out on Saturday. Everyone at church believes we’re nuts b/c we have a Saturday night schedule that is close to religious in itself! We’ve missed family weddings b/c they were scheduled for a late Saturday evening and we schedule to prepare for the Lord’s Day. The only thing we really change is breakfast. We leave at 8:45 and aren’t home until b/t 12:30-1, so our kids eat muffins, pancakes, or granola bars(prepared the day before). I agree with Jama too! EVERYTHING we need for the morning in preparation for worship is gathered on Saturday evening. This includes bags for the little ones, diaper bags, Bibles, paci’s as well as all the clothes, right down to underwear, socks and shoes (cause we all know those shoes like to hide on Sunday mornings if not found on Saturday!) ;o)


  6. Andrea
    March 24, 2011 | 10:52 am

    I so love this 4 Moms topic. From a mom who can never get anywhere on time alone, let alone with 9 clean kids in dress clothes, I can appreciate all your wonderful advice! Thanks for sharing your secrets!


  7. Tristan
    March 24, 2011 | 11:06 am

    I posted about this very topic last week. You can read it here if you want: http://ourbusyhomeschool.blogspot.com/2011/03/get-me-to-church-on-time.html

    It tells about how a little song is our secret weapon for getting ready and to church on time. 🙂 Different things work for different families, so this is just one idea that may help someone.



  8. Vickie
    March 24, 2011 | 12:43 pm

    We use to be late pretty regularly with 3 kids 🙂 Now with 7, we are rarely late and even make it in plenty of time for Sunday school at 9:15. We live 7 miles from town and in the winter, have to leave a bit earlier to get down our mile long driveway that is nothing but muddy slime right now. We do have all the kids take baths/showers the night before. Choose their clothing…..dresses for girls, suit or shirt and tie for boys. Most of the girls are old enough to do their own hair now, that saves time but I still do an inspection. Everyone has to be ready to walk out the door before they get breakfast. This includes coats out on the couch, purses with their coats, fresh kleenexes inside, Bibles…ready to go. That way if we are running late, we can leave in the middle of breakfast. It is always pop-tarts for breakfast. When we had toddlers, I would get them up to eat in their pj’s, (our youngest is 5 now) and while everyone else is eating, I could get them dressed. Pop-tarts aren’t the healthiest but it isn’t messy either and it is a treat for the kids. We also have assigned seats in the van so no fighting with whom is sitting where.

    Great topic!


  9. Amy
    March 24, 2011 | 3:13 pm

    The part about sitting down and preparing for worship has me convicted. As a child my family would rush out the door and usually mama wasn’t happy so no one was happy. When we’d get to the church parking lot, we were told to “put our church faces on.”

    That isn’t the way I want to raise my kids. Though I have only two children right now (but have to be at church by 8:30 because I teach the preschool Sunday school) I think we will adopt your Saturday evening preparation schedule as well as set aside time to prepare our hearts for worship as a family. Right now on Sunday mornings, my feathers get so ruffled I probably need an hour to unwind and focus on Jesus! I’m holding on to hope that the Saturday prep will minimize that time needed. Thank you for sharing about this. I really needed to hear it. Now I’m headed over to the other 3 blogs. 🙂


  10. Claire
    March 25, 2011 | 9:05 am

    We have to be out the door at 8:30 on Sunday morning. We are usually late. The thing is, even if I leave the house on time, I have to drop all the kids off in different Sunday school classes and sign them in, and that takes time. The teachers aren’t there but so early and no one else has as many kids as us. Plus everytime I walk towards a different classroom I get into a conversation with someone else, lol. It’s usually an older person who wants to see the baby, so I feel like I need to be polite and take time to talk to them. And isn’t part of church about making connections with our brothers and sisters anyway? Bottom line…by the time I finish all this I slink into my adult class ten minutes late.


  11. Arielle
    March 25, 2011 | 10:36 pm

    This was a great post to read! I am a mom to, wait for it—–25 children! Over the years, we have had our fair share of kids going to school with sticky fingers, some with messed up hair, and even one of our daughters got there before finally telling me “Mommy, I don’t have undies on”. There has been some crazy moments, but I can laugh at it now. Luckily, we’re all early birds, because with so many children, getting ready for church takes some time, and we’ve developed a system- we also use the buddy’s.

    We’re out the door by 9:00, for church starts at 10:30 an it takes 20 minutes to get there, then some time to get the little ones in Sunday school/nursery care there. Good Luck to everyone! If I can do it, so can you! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Trackback URL http://raisingolives.com/2011/03/moms-get-their-large-families-church/trackback/