Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Family Devotionals with Young Children

We have a family devotional, or scripture study, every night (ok, ok, most nights with very few exceptions. Nobody's perfect!)  We started doing this consistently about 4 years ago. It has become a wonderful part of our routine. After only a few weeks, there was a noticeable difference in the spirit of our home and even our marriage. Here are some ideas to help you get started or "freshen up" your family devotional.

Have your devotional at the same time every day. Not necessarily always at 6:00 pm sharp, but at the same time in your routine. Devotional has become part of our bedtime routine. Right after bath and pajamas...sometimes during the brushing of teeth (Hey, sometimes the patience just runs out.)

Don't make it too long, especially with little ones. A few verses is perfect! When we are reading through the scriptures, we aim for a column a night, but sometimes it's only a verse. Only you can gauge what you kids are able to handle that night.

Add a song! Kids love to sing and frankly, songs teach them more than scripture verses. Choose one song and sing it every night for the whole month. You can even have a monthly theme if you want, and have all your family home evenings go with the monthly song. We try to do this and I think it helps, at least with the planning if not the comprehension.

Finish with family prayer. Always. Always. Always. Hearing your kids pray is one of the best things in life.

So what should you read? We've done a few different things with differing success.

Just read straight through. This is our go to plan. We're nearing the end of our second round of the Book of Mormon. But Heaven's knows my kids don't understand a word of it. I figure it's the consistency and thought that counts.

Children's Bible stories. Get a book of bible (or Book of Mormon) stories, that tells them very quickly. Then read the verses that go along with the story. For a long story take a week to cover all the verses, but read the story every day.

Give each child a piece of paper and crayons and have them draw what you are reading about. We haven't done this yet, but it is something I would like to try when my kids are older. A great way to engage everyone.

Have your kids "read" with you. Everyone takes turns reading a verse. Even the littles, with some help of course.

LDS Bible Videos. This is my new favorite scripture study with the kids. We started it in preparation for Christmas and will probably do it again for Easter. There are about 60 videos so far, and they keep adding more. We read the verses listed under the video (or as many as the kids can handle) and then watch. This has been our best scripture study by far. My kids listen, ask questions. The videos are beautiful, and well done. I can't recommend this route enough!
Sermon on the Mount: Treasures in Heaven

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