Do you find it hard to teach your children the importance of faith? For many Christians, this is one of the most challenging parts of being a parent. It takes discipline and creativity to find ways to engage your children in faith – but it’s not impossible! Here are some ideas to keep kids involved and enthusiastic about time with God:
• If you’ve never established a regular time of devotions for your family, be assured it’s never too late! It can be hard to start, but take it slow, be flexible, keep at it and don’t be too hard on your kids (or yourself).
• The younger your kids are, the briefer your devotions time will probably need to be. Young minds can only grasp so much about spiritual truths (not to mention the challenges of short attention spans!). Start with five minutes and add more time as your kids mature.
• If possible, stick to a regular devotions time. Kids work well with routines, so try to make your devotions happen at a certain time each day. Good times include: at the dinner table (before or after eating), before bedtime or at breakfast.
• Get your kids involved! They’ll be more likely to pay attention, feel important and comprehend what they’re reading or hearing. Having picture books or a children’s Bible can also make devotions easier to follow for young kids.
• While you may favour a certain translation of the Bible, it can be helpful to incorporate an easier-to-read translation for your kids (such as the NIV, NIRV or The Message, which is a paraphrase).
• Devotions are a great time for kids to discuss, ask questions and explore hard-to-grasp concepts. Encourage your kids to open up about their thoughts and questions. If you don’t know how to answer a question, tell your child that you’ll look for the answer. Follow up by doing your own research or by talking to your pastor.
• If there’s a significant age gap between your children, you may need to hold one-on-one devotions to make sure each child is engaged at their own level. You can still meet once a week as a family to discuss what you’ve each been learning.
• Try to “mix things up” every now and then. Adding variety can prevent boredom and provide kids a fresh perspective on God.
• Many Christian bookstores sell devotionals for kids of all ages. Check out your options, and don’t hesitate to involve your kids in the process. Our online bookstore is a great place to start looking. Click here to find helpful devotionals and more!
• If you’re in a split-custody situation, discuss with your ex how you can establish healthy spiritual habits in both households. If he or she does not share your beliefs, do your best to hold a devotions time when your children are in your care.
• Make sure you’re spending your own quiet time alone with God. Your kids will learn the importance of spiritual discipline if they see it exemplified in your own life.
• Be careful not to force spirituality on your kids, especially as they grow into teens and young adults. The best way to make sure your kids are growing in Christ is to pray for them and ask the Lord to guide their spiritual maturity. Allow kids room to question, doubt and grow at their own pace. You can trust that “he who began a good work in [them] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6, NIV).
© 2008 Focus on the Family (Canada) Association. All rights reserved.
You can find devotionals for kids of all ages in our online bookstore at Shop.focusonthefamily.ca.