If you haven’t noticed, we LOVE Jesus and faith is extremely important to our family. With four kids, we knew that teaching the Bible early was a must. Here are 5 tips for helping your kids start to experience God’s word.
Establish a Routine
We are firm believers that routine minimizes stress and helps to foster good habits. As an added bonus, routine helps kids feel safe and secure along with supporting their understanding of expectations and how to meet them.
Start by deciding on a time that is most likely to be quiet, calm, and meaningful to read and talk about the Bible with your kids. Our youngest, Evie, loves her evening routine of bath, books, Bible, and bedtime. Once the routine starts she knows exactly what to expect next which makes bedtime a lot easier for everyone involved.
Find the Right Bible
Pick a Bible that’s appropriate for the age of your kid(s), as well as the version that is best for your personal journey. We’ve been reading The Beginner’s Bible (you can find the same one on Amazon here or on ChristianBook.com here) with Evie ever since we adopted her, and it is definitely well loved! The illustrations are colorful and the language is age appropriate. We love it and it has a permanent place on her bedside table until she’s ready for something a bit more complex.
With our boys, we read the Action Bible up until middle school. It was a great book full of expressive illustrations that our boys actively engaged with.
Help Them Understand Why
Have your kids ever asked why you’re reading the Bible? What did you say? If not, what would you say? It’s an important question that is essential to their faith journey, and an understanding of the purpose behind their actions.
Here’s our answer: “We read the Bible to understand God’s heart and His word for us”
Structure Your Reading Plan
We discovered firsthand that a systematic approach to reading the Bible together was important when Evie started talking and verbalizing requests for specific stories. It was wonderful to experience her love for Bible time, but it led to gaps in her familiarity with the Bible overall and that wasn’t in line with our goals.
Unless there is a specific reason for reading a specific story, such as when Evie wants to repeat a favorite story, we read the whole Bible, a couple of stories at a time, starting on page one. When we reach the end, we start over. This approach encourages a deeper connection and experience with with His word and a better understanding of the overall story.
Make it a Conversation
Discussing what you read is beneficial in so many ways. Most importantly, it will deepen your kids’ understanding of the message, but it will also help improve basic conversational skills, concentration, and critical thinking. For the littles, stick with simple questions to help them understand the basics. For older kids, ask more in-depth questions that help them understand how the Bible relates to their own faith journey and life in general.
We are finding that it helps to look at each child’s individual age and needs when doing devotions. When the boys were young we read the Bible together every night. Now that they are older we are individualizing things more, and looking for opportunities for each of our children to make their faith personal. This isn’t always easy in the teenage years, but we are trusting God for the results and trying to be faithful in the seed planting.
If you’re looking for supplemental activities around faith to add to your family’s routine, check out Adventures in Odyssey! It’s an award-winning audio drama series created for ages 8-12 and enjoyed by the whole family. They teach lasting truths and bring biblical principles to life, with just the right balance of fun, faith and imagination.