8 Sanity Saving Hacks for Getting Kids Dressed for Sunday Morning

This post: The pastor’s family going to church requires some extra effort; check out my hacks for getting to church on time with young kids when you’re a pastor’s wife.

Picture it: you’re in your Sunday best; brushing your teeth + running through the house, frantically looking for your three-year-old’s missing shoe while the seven-year-old is asking for help + the baby is sitting on the floor letting the dog lick oatmeal off his face.

It’s Sunday morning, Sister.

The day when shoes go missing, Bibles disappear, and clothing looks almost as wrinkled as your brow as you rush out the door in hopes of getting to church on time.

I’m married to a pastor + we have five kids. It’s no lie to say we’ve arrived at church missing socks, shoes + even diapers. (So far, never missing kids.)

The fiasco of getting dressed for Sundays might have influenced my former opinion about hating Sundays.

(I really don’t. But lots of weeks have felt tough.)

I’ve heard young pastor’s wives say that they feel like single parents on Sundays.

And I totally get it.

Our husbands leave the house early + stay completely focused on church duties all day long. We wives do our best to get up, get the crew ready + get to church on time.

Or, depending on the week, just get to church.

My kids aren’t little anymore, so the effort required to get our family going to church isn’t quite the hurdle it used to be.

But, girl, do I remember.

It does get easier, so hang in there.

Getting the kids dressed for Sunday is hard work! | photo credit

But in the meanwhile, here are eight grace-filled ideas for:

  • helping your kids get dressed for Sunday morning
  • + getting to church on time (ish)

Ideally, you’ll have some time to get yourself put together too.

Here we go-

#1 Have a plan for those shoes.

Is it just me, or are missing shoes the biggest hurdle in getting dressed for Sunday morning?

I finally wised up + implemented a few tricks. First, I got rid of all but a few pairs of shoes.

Why? Because the more we have, the harder it is to keep track of everything.

My rule of thumb is two pairs of church shoes, per child. (Okay, my teenager girls are another story entirely. But they aren’t the ones losing their shoes.)

If you’re a super minimalist, just one pair of church shoes will do the trick.

If minimizing is hard for you, look at it this way: cutting back gives you more time to get ready + more space for other important stuff (like your shoe collection). It’s a win-win.

To show you this idea doesn’t mean your kids will look utterly frumpy, here are some super cute shoes you can mix and match with just about any kids’ church outfit. (Remember: just choose two.)

for boys:

for girls:

Shoe Storage

Having a place to keep kids’ shoes is a game-changer.

I’ve found a few things that work:

It goes without saying that kids have to be reminded (over + over) to put away their shoes. Our shoe basket by the front door helps contain things, but we still go on Sunday-morning-shoe-hunts occassionally.

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Bottom line: Keeping up with kids’ shoes is a constant work-in-progress. Having a plan (+ a designated space) helps.

#2 Create a mini capsule wardrobe for your kids.

Now, before you think I’ve gone + lost my mind… I’m not suggesting anything complicated or elaborate here.

When I say, “create a mini capsule wardrobe for your kids,” I’m talking about making your life less stressful.

Here’s why your kids need a mini capsule wardrobe.

Getting dressed for Sunday is easier when:

  • your kids don’t have way too many clothes
  • the outfits are easy to mix-and-match seasonally
  • everything in their closet fits

I’m not suggesting that you rotate two outfits per kid. (This isn’t Little House on the Prairie, after all.)

But do be intentional about what goes into your kids’ closet. Here’s how I keep up with mini capsule wardrobes for my kids:

  • I don’t stuff their closets. We have small spaces + we only keep what fits on a hanger or in a drawer. (In other words, I don’t keep every hand-me-down we receive.)
  • Every season, I purge the closets. (Winter clothes go into totes during the summer, and vice versa.) When buying new clothes, I focus on wardrobe staples: slacks, shirts + polos for the boys; dresses, leggings + cardigans for the girls. Lots of stuff that mixes-and-matches.
  • During the seasonal purges, I get rid of stuff my kids have out grown. I either sell or give away the good stuff, and the worn-out items go in the trash or a rag bin.

Remember: the point is to streamline your life so that getting dressed for Sunday morning (+ getting to church on time) doesn’t turn into a three-hour ordeal every week. This isn’t something to do on Sunday, by the way. Tackle your kids’ closet throughout the week so that Sundays get a little easier (you’ll enjoy the benefits on other days too).

Here are some no-fuss outfit ideas for Sunday morning, based on the idea of a “mini capsule wardrobe.”

for toddler boys:

The shirts + pants are mostly interchangeable. The cute brown shoes go with everything. xoxo

for bigger boys

The shorts + polo and slacks + button-up could easily mix-and-match with either other. The gray slide-on sneakers match it all. Throw in a few more shirts + another neutral pair of slacks or shorts, and you’ve got a mini capsule wardrobe going on (with lots of outfit options).

Oh! Notice something about the socks? They all match! My husband finally convinced me to stop buying “cute” socks for our boys that only have one match; now they’re all solid colors, black or white. Boring? Perhaps. But no one has complained.

for toddler girls:

Here I featured a soft palette of pinks, creams, nude + denim. The nude sandals match both the dress + leggings + the floral sundress. The denim jacket also matches both outfits, as do the leggings.

Adding a few more pieces to this mix would give you several outfits that easily mix and match.

for bigger girls

Here’s a pretty selection for slightly older girls. This palette is lovely for the fall season + features dark reds, blush pinks + creams. The open-front sweater anchors these outfits; it matches both the puff-sleeve midi + the floral smocked dress + would coordinate with many other pieces as well. My girls loved Scrunchies, so I threw some in the mix, along with a slightly grown-up pair of platform sandals in blush pink.

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Adding a few pairs of neutral bottoms + several patterned tops or sweaters would create an easytomanage fall + winter wardrobe for a little girl. (A pair of brown boots would upgrade her wardrobe for cold weather months.)

Thoughts on Letting Kids Get Dressed By Themselves

I’ll be honest, I like my kids to be independent.

Once my kids were old enough to start dressing themselves, I let them. Some of my more independent kids wanted to dress themselves by four or five years old; other kids needed help for several more years.

I also let my kids pick out their own outfits once they were old enough to be trusted to do this, or when they decided they wanted to (whichever came first). This is another perk of having a capsule wardrobe for your kids; it’s simple for them to put together outfits

Bottom line: Creating a mix-and-matchable wardrobe for your kids will save so much time getting dressed for Sunday every week.

#3 Get baths done on Saturday night.

This was a resounding tip from the moms over in my pastor’s wife group on Facebook. (Not a member? CLICK HERE to subscribe + receive an invitation to join.)

When I asked for tips on getting kids dressed for Sunday morning, pastor’s wives starting talking about Saturday night prep.

It’s true: your success in getting out the door on Sunday morning starts with your Saturday night routine.

Saturnight prep has worked for lots of years at our house. On Saturday night we:

  • takes showers or baths
  • everyone washes their hair

Bottom line: The less “stuff” you leave for Sunday morning, the better.

Let’s keep talking about Saturday night.

#4 Lay out clothes + shoes.

Here’s another important part of the Saturday night routine: prep outfits + have them ready for Sunday morning.

Once you’ve gotten those mini capsule wardrobes ready, this step is actually pretty fun. (And like I said, once your kids are old enough they can start doing it themselves.)

Helping kids get dressed for Sunday morning.
Lookin sharp! | photo credit

This step includes:

  • choosing outfits, including belts or hair accessories
  • ironing anything that needs to be ironed
  • laying out socks + shoes

Whatever you do, don’t forget to set out the shoes! This step will eliminate the frantic shoe-hunt on Sunday morning.

My teenage girls have done this for years + I’ve taught my boys to do it as well. On Saturday evening, I remind my 13 + 11-year sons to get their church clothes ready (they iron their own shirts + slacks); I help our 8-year old with his clothes or enlist one of his brothers to help.

Bottom line: This simple habit is probably one of the biggest game-changers for our Sunday mornings.

#5 Prep your diaper bag + your kids’ backpacks in advance.

Here’s an important habit if you have

  • babies,
  • toddlers,
  • or preschoolers

Packing the diaper bag is a job in itself. When my kids were little, I learned not to put it off until Sunday morning.

(Isn’t this vegan leather diaper bag gorgeous? It looks pretty sophisticated + it’s less than $50.)

Take about ten minutes on Saturday to make sure your diaper bag is stocked with:

  • diapers
  • wipes
  • a clean sippy cup or bottle (you can fill it before you leave for church on Sunday morning)
  • a clean blanket
  • fresh bibs or cotton cloths
  • snacks, if needed
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I recommend buying yourself a large key ring to keep from losing your keys at the bottom of your bag. (I should have done this years ago!)

My kids always carried a little backpack to church until they were about six years old. This helped them keep up with their own stuff, which meant less stuff in the diaper bag (for me to carry around.)

Ideas for your little one’s backpack:

Bottom line: Keep your diaper bag + kiddo’s backpacks by the door so they’re ready + waiting on Sunday morning.

#6 Get yourself ready for church before your kids wake up.

This one is tough if you’re up with a baby at night; but it’s even harder trying to get ready when your kids are up + your husband has already left for the day.

I still set my alarm for at least an hour before my kids get up on Sunday morning. These days, my kids get themselves ready for church but I still share a bathroom mirror with the teen girls; that extra hour secures my spot. xoxo

To streamline my own morning routine, I set out my Sunday morning outfit + shoes on Saturday night + have my purse ready to go, too.

Bottom line: The lost hour of sleep is worth getting dressed + doing my makeup without any interruptions.

#7 Keep breakfast ridiculously simple.

I don’t cook breakfast on Sunday mornings. In fact, I don’t feed my kids on Sunday mornings.

Don’t worry: they don’t starve. They feed themselves! xoxo

I make sure they have super easy breakfast options available, and the rest sort of takes care of itself.

Easy as Sunday Morning Breakfast Ideas:

  • cereal
  • fruit
  • toast
  • granola bars
  • frozen waffles

When my kids were super little, breakfast required more input on my part. But I still kept it simple and as mess-free as possible.

Bottom line: Save your homemade pancakes + fried bacon for Saturday morning.

#8 Have a set time to leave.

Even if you’re streamlining your efforts + planning ahead, you can still lose track of time + end up running late.

So set a time to leave.

Our family has a twenty-minute drive to church on Sunday morning; my kids know that our “time to leave” is 9:15.

If getting out the door at a specific time is a new habit for you, set an alarm on your phone. Eventually, it becomes a habit + everyone knows what to expect.

These are the tried-and-true habits that keep my family life more-or-less sane on Sunday mornings.

Yes, Sundays are still the busiest day of the week. Yes, sometimes Sunday mornings feel crazy. Yes, I still run a bit late every now and then.

But for the most part, my kids show up wearing clean clothes, two shoes, and possibly even matching socks.

(Not to brag…)

Need some Sunday morning help?

Let me send you a FREE printable checklist!

  • CLICK HERE to subscribe + receive your free checklist. (Check your inbox or spam for an email from me, Kristy @Good Pastor’s Wife blog.)
  • Download your checklist + print it on cardstock or regular paper.
  • Stick in on the fridge or somewhere visible for Saturday night prep + Sunday morning suceess. xoxo

Here’s a peek at your checklist-

Printable checklist for helping get kids dressed for Sunday + get to church on time.

Your Turn

What’s your best tip for getting dressed for Sunday + out the door on time? Drop a comment below.

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