Sharing your faith with your kids can be a joy and a privilege, but it can also feel a little overwhelming. One place to start is family devotional time—a daily practice of reading the Bible and praying together. Kids learn differently, and their needs matter too! Here are a few ideas to get started with your own family devotional time, and meet their unique needs.
This is adapted from Words of Hope’s free family Advent series: Waiting with Joy.
Why should you do devotions with your kids?
Before we share tips and advice about doing devotions with your kids, let’s first answer a more basic question: why should you do daily devotions with your kids?
First, and most importantly, devotional time with your kids helps them learn and grow in their faith. In your daily devotional time, your kids will learn about God, and begin to build their own relationships with Him. They will learn lessons from the Bible, and apply those lessons to their lives. Just as a daily devotional time benefits you, it benefits your kids too.
Second, prioritizing daily devotions shows them that it matters. If Bible reading and prayer are part of your daily life, your kids will learn that it’s an important part of their faith life too. They will learn how to read the Bible and how to pray. As they grow older, they’ll know how to have a devotional time of their own.
Getting started with family devotions
Here are a few things that we suggest when you are starting a daily devotional time with your kids:
- Find a time when it is easier for your kids to engage with Bible reading and prayer. After a meal (breakfast/lunch/dinner) are traditional times, but bedtime or snack time are also good. Every family’s pattern is different, and what works for one family may not work for you.
- Be consistent. When you find a good time, try to be consistent (even if you only have time to pray together).
- Be flexible as your family’s needs change. Some days your kids will have more time and attention; on other days, just praying together may be all you can do! As your kids get older, mealtimes and bedtimes will change too. Don’t let go of your devotional time as your needs change, but find new ways to incorporate devotional time into new schedules.
- Read as much or as little of the day’s reading as your kids can handle. Start with the Bible verse. Ask questions. If you can, read a little more.
- It may be helpful for your kids to have something to do while you read and talk together. For example, your children could color, draw, or play with a quiet toy.
- Ask questions. Start with questions to check whether your kids understand what you have read together, and then ask questions to help your kids apply the Bible passage to their lives. For example, you might ask, “What would you do in a situation like this?” or “What did you learn about God from this passage?” or “Is there something you want to do differently, based on what we read?”
- Include your kids. Take turns reading the Bible. Invite them to ask questions. Ask them to pray. Participating can help them focus, and gives them the chance to contribute. It also gives you insight into their hearts.
- If you miss a day, it’s okay! Everyone misses a day (or several) from time to time. Don’t get discouraged if you are having a hard time fitting in devotional time with your kids. Consider what things are making devotional time difficult right now, and then ask God to help you get started again. Bring a positive, loving attitude towards sharing your faith with your kids. We hope that the days when you can do devotions together will bless your family.