This is the third post of a three part series. Please find the other entries here:
Over the years I’ve gotten better at doing as much as I can the night before worship. For us, worship begins on Saturday night.
The night before everyone is bathed, in bed on time with clothes and church shoes set out in their rooms.
I also set out breakfast which is something easy for now: cereal or the occasional box of Entenmann’s Donuts. Sometimes I also do frozen Eggo waffles because I just can’t deal with the spilled milk and donut crumbs. (Yes I do cry over spilt milk.)
I have bags packed Saturday night and sometimes even lunch prepped for after church if I am feeling really ambitious.
It helps for me to be well rested as well so while my kids are little I try to make it to bed by 10pm.
For now there are a few things I pack in their worship bag. They each get a small snack sized ziplock bag with a snack and a sippy cup. The only other thing in their bag is maybe a children’s bible and the iPad.
The babies have their normal diaper bag packed along with a special treat to keep them happy while I say hello to friends after church.
During breakfast in the morning, on a good day, I Play the songs that we will be singing that morning. Our worship director is great about sending a link to the YouTube videos for the Sunday morning songs. This helps my non readers sing along because they have heard the songs before hand.
In the mornings I always try to leave a ten minute “pooping window” before we need to leave. Someone always seems to poop especially when I am running a little behind.
When I get to church…
It helps to take them to the bathroom right before the service. After that they are not allowed to use the bathroom during the church. If you let them go one Sunday, they will try it every Sunday. We potty before the service.
It helps to be early and be settled. If I’m rushed my kids feel it. Sometimes I have exited Sunday school a little early just so I could be sure we had enough time to potty and be settled in the service.
Then I pray. I breathe in grace and exhale to moments when I feel like crawling under the pew.
Like when a sippy cup rolled all the way up to the front during a baptism or when one of my sons yells, is this over yet?
Finally, my husband is working with our oldest boys on elements of worship like The Lord’s Prayer and the Doxology. At this age their memories are like little sponges and it is so simple to teach them to memorize things like this. Even my two year old can roughly sing the Doxology.
Final Encouragements For Your Journey
This is a journey. What is working now might not be working a few months from now. But know on this journey are working towards teaching our children that worship is about God and worship requires active listening. With final destination in mind It is easier to see less of what others are thinking of of wiggly kids or the goldfish that may fall on the floor and more of that grace we need when we need it.
Most importantly, remember to accept others where they are on the journey. If a baby is crying, show compassion. If a mom is in the pew alone because dad is out of town, grab a little hand and help them with their tally marks.
We are all parents trying to raise worshippers.