It seems to be a universal fact that Sunday mornings are a time when a normal household suddenly turns into something resembling a hurricane off the coast of Florida. Chaos reigns.

Squalling and bawling is the traditional background music on Sunday mornings. Nobody likes their clothes, they can't find their shoes, their belt is not where they know they put it, there is not a pair of matching socks in the house and hairdos won’t go right. Baby waits until you have totally dressed him, then creates an odorous mess from head to toe, necessitating a complete re-dressing, including bath.

Breakfast?  What's breakfast?  Who has time to eat on Sunday morning?  Whose nerves could STAND to eat in the midst of all this chaos? Is there any hope? Is there a solution?  Is there a way to tame this monster?

We have never found a way to completely tame the beast, but over the years, we have come up with several ideas that have gone a long way to make our Sunday mornings run smoother.  Maybe some of these tips will work for you.

#1 - Get up EARLY!

We think this is the most important tip of all.  We used to think it was better to let the children sleep as long as possible, then, at the last minute, rouse them out of bed, shove on their clothes and hustle them to the car.  BAD IDEA! This only led to horrific yells and tears. We finally tried getting them up EARLY. As we leave our house around 9:00, we started getting them up around 7:30, as opposed to 8:45.  For the really grouchy, hard-to-awake ones, we would get them out of their bed, and put them on the couch. They'd lie there moaning and groaning, but, after 10 minutes or so, they'd begin to show signs of life.  Once they had time to really wake up, they were ready to start the dressing process.

#2 - Prepare Saturday Night!

The night, or day before, have everyone choose what they plan to wear and lay them out, complete with all accessories. This eliminates the last minute "Somebody stole my belt!" wailings.  If clothes need ironing, iron them Saturday night. If you have to take a diaper bag, pack it Saturday. Have Sunday school paraphernalia laid out and ready to take out the door. You will be amazed at how these simple preparations will de-stress your Sunday morning!

#3 - Hairdos

Try to keep hairdos simple on Sunday mornings. You may like to put sponge rollers in little girls' hair the night before, if you plan to curl it. If you can get the little boys to agree to haircuts that only take a quick swipe, that's a big plus!  If you have teenagers, the word here is EARLY. It's probably going to take them forever to get their hairdos to suit them, so they need to get an early start!

#4 – Babies

Babies don't run on anybody's schedule. They really don't care if you're already 15 minutes late for church.  If they're hungry, they're hungry.  And they're going to insist that you feed them NOW, or everybody's going to pay with bursting eardrums!  And if they want to make a mess, well - look out world, they're gonna make a mess! So what's the answer to this?  Again, it's EARLY. We need to change our mindset that Sunday morning is the day we get to sleep in a little. Try that on Saturdays. Sunday is GET UP EARLY day! Give yourself plenty of time.

Do you realize that you could actually have time to sit down and drink a leisurely cup of coffee some Sunday mornings?  On the rare occasion, when no one decides to produce an unexpected crisis for you to deal with, you could actually be ready, with time to spare! That’s an unknown concept to most of us!

#5 – Limit Saturday Night Activities!

We have found that it is necessary for us to limit our Saturday night activities. It's not fair to put a child to bed after midnight, and expect them to be in a good mood at 7:30 Sunday morning.  We make it a point to be home early most Saturday nights. If we're home early, we have time for everyone to bathe, get their Sunday morning things ready, and get to bed early.  If you can't be home early on Saturday nights, then prepare earlier in the day, or even earlier in the week. If you're going somewhere where the children won't get too dirty, bathe them. They only have to wash when you get home.  If you think it would help, let them take an afternoon nap Saturday, so that they will be more rested Sunday morning.

We have found that Saturday night makes a great family night. We usually try something new on the grill (during the winter, we try new soups), and just enjoy Dad being home and spending time together as a family. We've found this to be much more enjoyable than sitting in a restaurant lobby for an hour, waiting to be seated. On the Saturdays we do choose to eat out, we try to go early... less waiting time!  Occasionally we will be invited to a friend's house on Saturday evening. That's always fun, so we just plan ahead, as mentioned above.  But, for the most part...

#6 - How much time?

If you've made your preparations the night before, an hour-and-a-half should be plenty of time for everyone to wake up, dress, eat, rehearse their memory verse... and get in a fairly good mood.   If that doesn’t work, go for two hours.

Wouldn't it be nice to actually arrive at church on Sunday mornings, in the right frame of mind to worship the Lord? It can be done. All it takes is some forethought and planning.

Early to bed, 

Early to rise,
Makes a Sunday morning 

Filled with more smiles!

Ft. Worth, Texas, USA
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