Regardless of your belief system, Sundays are an important day of the week. Everyone can benefit from some relaxation from the norm to prepare for a new week! We can spend the day doing whatever sounds good to us: playing, going to church, shopping, exercising, napping… OR we can be really intentional about what we want the day to be for. For me: I’ve defined my goals for the day as:
- Don’t stress about accomplishing… just REST.
- Throughout the day, use my actions to show my Creator what I value on His holy day.
That’s it! Simple, right? I’d encourage you to define your priorities for your Sabbath day and write them down.
The whole idea behind an effective Sabbath is that you rest from your normal daily activities to make time for the higher attributes you want to develop.
I think Sundays are very personal, so each momma will have her own way to accomplish an effective Sabbath. Last year, I wrote about How to Create a Delightful Sunday as a Mother: I talked about the problems we face, and the solutions that have worked well for us. There are some great tips and ideas in there! Today I want to add several ideas and ways to make our Sunday better as a mom to young kids. Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links.
1. Living Scriptures App:
Living Scriptures has been making animated scripture stories for decades, now with their app, you can easily stream thousands of titles- some “churchy” and many are just good, uplifting entertainment. My kids especially like:
- Owlegories: (preschool-aged) It is so cute and worthwhile!
- Liberty’s Kids: they make American History fun for my five and seven year old especially.
- Theo: entertaining way to learn about topics like forgiveness, faith and loving obedience.
- FHE on DVD! (my personal fave. Such a life-saver!) My husband has to work a ton this time of year, and so this has been perfect! Zero prep, but we have a great Family Home Evening experience!
- Animated New Testament etc. To be honest, we’ve only scratched the surface!
Living Scriptures come in especially handy when I’m feeling like we need a little peace and quiet– I took a nap on the couch last Sunday while my hubby was at a meeting- kids were all safe and enriched and I got the rest I needed! If you haven’t seen this totally silly parody ad for them, you need to- it’s kind of hilarious!
2. Visual Checklist for your Sabbath day:
Minimize stress when trying to get out the door. Tiffaynee (our Mommy Convos designer) uses this (pictured below) to have everything ready, before the time crunch. Less stress= a happier family! Download it here.
3. List of FAVORITE Church Bag Ideas:
Finding quiet, reverent toys can make a big difference in how much you and your kids enjoy your church meetings! The key is to keep these toys in the church bag. Come Sunday, the kids are happy to see them! I compiled a list from some real moms who shared their favorite things their kids enjoy. Hope it gives you some inspiration for what YOUR kids might like:
- Sand or water timers: We have this bright oil/water timer and it has saved roughly twenty-seven and a half meltdowns at church.
- Search and find books (they have faith-based versions available too!)
- Felt books and playsets (Dollar spot at Target)
- Water Wow (Melissa and Doug)
- Magnetic Create-a-scene playsets: absolutely love. And if you sit in the back on the metal chairs they like sticking them to those too. Plus, they are soft so they’re not loud!
- A blanket for the snuggler in the fam!
- Tegu travel set
- Boogie Boards are quiet and a novel way to draw 🙂 Sometimes I’ll draw up a maze for my kids to figure out.
- Magnetiles (this is the set we have!)
- Lacing cards
- Bristle blocks, unifix cubes
- Brainflakes: my kids love them- good STEM toy!
- Finger puppets
- Pentamino puzzle: brain teaser puzzle that’s enclosed and great for older kids.
Items you can make yourself:
- Print any gospel pictures, cut them into strips and it can be a puzzle for them 🙂
- Popsicles with Velcro on it to stick to the pew to build houses.
- Seek and find toy (hidden objects enclosed in sand or Epson salts )
- Empty Parmesan cheese canister and a bag of pom-poms.
- Our family photo books. The kids can pour over them forever!
- Stencils and plain paper. Also: a clipboard for each child so they don’t fight!
- An old wallet and expired gift cards for toddlers to pull in and out of the slots.
- Busy bags (tons of ideas here)
One mom shared with my women’s group her experience of the many exhausting Sundays when she had little kids. For years she was either serving in Nursery, roaming the halls with a toddler or wrangling young, energetic kids. By the end of the day, she felt it to her core- Sundays were everything but “restful”. She realized that she had the power to change that. She decided to wake up early that one day a week and get some spiritual refueling in before kids woke up. Intentionally fueling herself first, made all the difference in her day and her whole week!
If you can tag-team with your husband, do it! Make a plan to let each spouse take a turn getting some uninterrupted time. I like to use the white noise app on my phone to drown out any crying for an hour.
“Quiet Time”: let the kids pick an activity and a quiet space and make it clear that they need to stay in their spot till the time is over. You can pair the kids up with a partner if that helps!
5. Let Some Things Go:
In order to fill your day with higher quality activities, something’s gotta give! Here are a few things you can give up:
- Social media (app detox- Andriod- helps me stick to my goal of no social media on Sundays!)
- Work or school-related stress
- Dishes: paper plates for the win!
- Shopping… (Amazon… I’m looking at you!)
Again, the Sabbath day is totally personal, so every momma may find a different experience in any of these activities, so no judgment to anyone that wants to fill their day with cooking or whatever it may be! If you’re Christian, this is a great reminder: The Sabbath is a sign between you and God, not you and anyone else!
6. Fill your Sabbath Day with Good!
Here are some out-of-the-box ideas to help your family get the most out of your Sabbath:
- Each Sunday, feature a different family member in a “Why I Love You” spotlight. Display their artwork in a special spot and talk about their strengths, let them choose a treat 🙂
- Prepare family meetings/ FHE plans: Here is one we love!
Think of the needs of people you know:
- Welcome someone new to your neighborhood
- Bring dinner to someone who can’t cook for themself
- Give a ride to someone who can’t drive
- Help the elderly read or write letters to loved ones.
- Visit anyone that the Spirit draws you to!
There is SOO much good, uplifting entertainment out there… Our favorites (besides what’s on living scriptures):
- BYUtv’s Relative Race… Disclaimer: my dad is the host! Watch one episode though and your whole family will likely be sucked in!!! It’s fun exciting for kids and parents of all ages, it makes even Daddy cry at the most tender moments, it’s funny, and has me on the edge of my seat in the competition! Watch through the BYUtv app, on BYUtv.org, or on the BYUtv channel through your cable or satellite. Start on Season 2!
- Turning point or Studio C is pretty great too– also on BYUtv app- we watch those throughout the week.
- Mormon.org videos- short and sweet and packed full of emotional goodness 🙂
- There are tons of youtube kids bible videos etc.
- Organize family photos (check out this article for all the details here.)
- Turn family history info into something: a storybook, artwork, etc… or compile more family history by using familysearch.com!
- Be sure to get outside for at least a few minutes every Sunday to soak in some fresh air! Alone, with the whole fam or for some special one-on-one time: all good things 🙂
- Do interviews with your kids. Let them lead- ask them what they want to talk about! What would they like to help with? And what would they like to see happen in our family?
- Plan family outings, service projects, vacations etc.
- Couples’ Council (Here’s a great outline: 2 Weekly Techniques to a Better Marriage!)
- Latterday kids have an awesome karaoke channel on youtube for kids church songs- my neighbor said her kids loved getting some energy out in a good, positive way!
For a few more methods for a better Sunday as a mom, read:
What are YOUR favorite tricks for a better Sunday?