Do you struggle to get your kids excited about reading the Bible?
Imagine this: You’ve gathered the kids together before bed to read a Bible story. But one kid is jumping on the sofa and still hasn’t brushed her teeth or put PJ’s on. One kid is running around chasing the dog. One kid has her nose in a book and one kid is screaming because his sister is on “his” side of the couch.
Sound familiar? I get it. Trying to get my kids excited about reading the Bible and engage them in a meaningful time in God’s Word together sometimes makes me feel like the ringmaster at a three-ring circus. In this episode, we’re going to talk about some practical ways you can help your kids engage in your family devotion time.
Welcome to episode #3 of The Family Bible Connection Podcast with Laurie Christine! If you prefer to listen, rather than read this blog post, you can listen here:
Do you want your kids to KNOW the Bible and GROW in their love for God & others? Do you want to prepare your kids to GO into the world as passionate followers of Jesus? Then The Family Bible Connection is for you!
Hi! I’m your host, Laurie Christine. Through devotional resources, family routines, and Bible study, I will teach you how to create a Christ-centered culture in your home.
IN THIS EPISODE…
In episode 001, we talked about WHY it’s important to spend time in God’s Word together as a family.
In episode 002, we talked about WHAT it looks like to have family devotional time in your home, and we also talked about what to do if you feel like you’ve failed in this area.
This episode is the first in a two-part series on HOW to engage your kids in family devotional times. Using my background as a public-school elementary teacher, more than twelve years of experience as an elementary Bible teacher at my church, and ten years (so far) of Christian motherhood, I have created a collection of eight practical ways parents can help get their kids excited about reading the Bible and engage their family in devotions and Bible study.
HOW TO GET YOUR KIDS EXCITED ABOUT READING THE BIBLE
1. BE PASSIONATE
Teach your kids from the overflow of a full heart. If you’re not excited about reading and studying God’s Word, then they won’t be either. Show your kids that you are excited to read the Bible and learn about God with them.
Teach your kids from the overflow of a full heart.
This may seem basic, but reading with expression will make a huge difference in how well your children engage with the story. Nobody likes listening to a dry, monotone voice. Try using different voices for different characters!
2. TAKE A PICTURE WALK
If your devotional book or Bible story has illustrations, a “picture walk” will help your kids prepare their minds to engage with the story.
Help your kids prepare their minds to engage with the story.
First, read the title and look at a few pictures. Ask your kids, “What do you think this story is about? Do you have a prediction about what might happen?”
3. CONNECT WITH PRIOR KNOWLEDGE
If your kids have grown up going to Sunday School, they may feel like they’ve “already heard” this Bible story and may not be interested in hearing it again. (Of course, you and I know that there are endless truths in the Bible to learn or apply to our lives).
Help your kids identify what they already know.
Ask your kids, “What do we already know about this character or topic?”
In a journal, ask your kids to draw or write everything they know about this particular story. Then at the end, compare their journal entry with what you learned. “Did you learn something new? Did you remember all the parts of the story?”
Another way to help kids comprehend what is happening in the Bible story is to put the story in context of the entire Bible. The Bible is not merely a collection of unrelated stories. Rather, all the stories fit into one over-arching adventure of God’s plan to save his people and restore glory to his creation.
Try discussing with your kids: “Where does this story fit into the big story of the Bible? Is it in the Old Testament? New testament? Where do the events of the story fit into the timeline of biblical history?”
For example, if you’re reading about Ruth… put the story into context…
- Ruth lived during the time of the Judges, when there was no king in Israel everyone did what was right in their own eyes
- If you remember, God set his people free from captivity in Egypt and brought them back to the promised land of Canaan. God helped the people drive out the other nations and the people settled in the land.
- But now, the people have forgotten about God and they don’t care about what’s right
(If it overwhelms you to think about discussing the timeline of biblical history with your kids, stay tuned! I will be talking about “The One Story” of the Bible in future episodes and providing resources for you to use with your kids.)
4. MODEL YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS OUT LOUD
Allow your kids to see into your head and hear what you are thinking! As you read, pause throughout the story to make comments:
- Wow, that’s so interesting! Did you know that before?
- That’s crazy, I can’t believe he said that.
- This reminds me of another story I read…
- This reminds me of something that happened to me…
- This makes me think about…
- I wonder if…
- I think that…
- I predict that…
After you’ve modeled this process, allow your kids to share their thoughts as well:
- Is there anything you’re wondering about?
- Does this story remind you of anything?
- Does anyone have a prediction about what might happen?
EXAMPLE OF MODELING THOUGH PROCESS: PSALM 23
The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
Wow, that’s so incredible that God is like a shepherd to us and he provides everything we need. You know, uncle Charlie owns some sheep… maybe we could talk to him sometime about what it looks like to take care of sheep.
He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.
That sounds lovely, doesn’t it? I’d like to lay down and take a nap in a green meadow right now!
He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.
I wonder what it means that God wants to bring honor to his name? What do you guys think?
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
I wonder if he’s talking about a real valley… or if maybe he’s talking about something else…
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.
Wow, that’s pretty crazy… I don’t think I would want to sit down and have a feast right in front of my enemies who are trying to hurt me
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
Oh, you guys, won’t that be amazing when we finally get to meet Jesus face to face and live with him forever?
Here’s my challenge for you this week: Choose one of these 4 practical tips we talked about today:
- Be passionate
- Take a picture walk
- Connect with prior knowledge
- Model your thought process
Don’t feel overwhelmed… you don’t have to try all these things all at once! Just pick one story to read with your kids this week and try to implement ONE of these tips to help engage your kids and get them excited about God’s Word.
CLOSING BIBLE VERSE
“We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders.”
Heavenly Father, I want to be obedient to your command to teach my children about your glorious deeds, your power, and your mighty wonders. I want my kids to know you and love you with their whole hearts. Please give me wisdom as I teach my kids about you. I pray that you would give ME a passion for your Word, so that my excitement would overflow into the hearts and lives of my kids. Thank you that my children are in YOUR hands and you will continue to work in their lives for your glory.
I’d like to tell you about a free book that I have available for you to download. It’s called “How to Engage Your Kids in Family Devotions.” If you need some fresh inspiration to get your kids excited about reading the Bible, this is a practical resource to help you get started. Everything we’ve been talking about in this episode can be found in this book! You can download your free ebook HERE.
Thank you so much for joining me for Episode #3 of The Family Bible Connection with Laurie Christine, where together we will create a Christ-centered culture in our homes in order to connect our kids with Jesus.
If you enjoyed this episode, I would love for you to subscribe to the show, leave a review in itunes, and then share this episode with a friend!
If you would like additional FREE resources to help you create a Christ-centered culture in your home, CLICK HERE.