Does anyone else feel like there are way too many things competing for kids’ attention these days?
We have a lot of extended family in town, so the kids always make a killing on their birthdays. On my son’s 7th birthday last month he got Legos, Minecraft and a new bike. But he also got a Bible. It’s easy to guess these days which gifts drew the biggest “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd. And sure enough, the toys got immediate use.
But my husband and have been thrilled in recent weeks to see that, after lights out, our son likes to keep his flashlight on and read. The Bible. The actual full-text Bible, not a storybook or app or anything else.
Is the Word of God something kids can get excited about?
From our experience, yes.
Every child is unique, and their interests are going to vary throughout different ages and stages. I hope and pray that my son’s desire that is sparked now will be a flame that burns for the rest of his life.
But in order for a flame to burn at all there has to be a spark to begin with. And for kids growing up in an increasingly secular culture, it helps when that spark starts young.
Do you want your kids to be interested in the Bible when they start to read? These 3 habits can cultivate that desire starting from infancy (2 Timothy 3:15).
1. Set a Great Example
It’s pretty logical, really. If you want your kids to love the Bible, you should love it yourself.
I know, I know. Soooo many of us struggle to have regular quiet times. There are about a million reasons why, and some of them are legit. But if it helps motivate you…consider who’s watching.
My husband has a memory of getting up every morning and seeing his mom reading her Bible and writing in her prayer journal. Every. Day. And because of that, he has a pretty good idea of what daily faith looks like. Sometimes we don’t even realize what kind of impact we’re having on our kids with what we’re doing…or not doing.
Often my kids don’t know what I’m doing because I can be studying the Bible on my phone or computer. So when they ask, I make sure they know what I’m reading (and that I don’t want to be interrupted!).
Oh, how I love your law!
I meditate on it all day long.
—Psalm 119:97 (NIV)
2. Make a Daily Routine with Your Family
If you want your kids to read their Bibles daily when they’re adults, start them with that habit when they’re young. Just like dental hygiene requires regular brushing and flossing, “spiritual hygiene” requires regular Bible study and prayer.
There isn’t one right way to do this. Some families will talk about scriptures over a meal together; many homeschool families incorporate it into their school day. Our most regular practice that includes their dad is Bible story and prayer before bedtime. Sometimes my husband will make a somewhat elaborate lesson using the kids’ stuffed animals; more often we will read from The Bible Story series (which is what he also read as a kid!).
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
—Deuteronomy 6:4–9 (NIV)
3. Root Your Discipline in Scripture
Sometimes we just work way too hard trying to get our kids to behave, when all we really need to do is open the Bible. Why should kids obey? Ephesians 6:1. Why should kids have good attitudes about chores? John 15:15. Keep it simple. I find that doing lessons on the fly can be very effective.
Bonus: Some Exciting Interactive Tools
It blows my mind when I consider the learning tools that kids have access to these days. The Bible is exciting and these resources prove it! I think these are especially important when so many secular shows and books are vying for our kids’ attention. Here are our current favorites:
What’s in the Bible: my kids beg to watch this every day. These half-hour videos are hilarious and informative—in fact, I have learned quite a lot about the Bible, how it was written, and how to understand the major themes. The whole 13-disc set is a little pricey, so I recommend you either buy a little at a time or access it through JellyTelly, a Christian children’s video streaming website. We just started subscribing, and at $5 a month it is so worth it. There are tons of great resources on there!
A Firm Foundation Memory Verse System: Do you ever try to teach your kids scripture and then they turn around and forget it immediately (or am I the only one, haha!)? I’m super excited about using this workbook with my 5- and 7-year olds. I know from all of our other schoolwork that they have to APPLY it and REPEAT it in order to RETAIN it. This is a fantastic tool that includes copywork, flashcards, puzzles and activities—way better than what I could put together myself.
Colorful storybooks: for young kids especially, it can be helpful to have storybooks that bring the scriptures to life. I already mentioned The Bible Story; we also like My Bible Friends, as it’s a little easier to understand. The Jesus Storybook Bible is another fantastic resource that helps kids understand how everything in the Bible points to Jesus.
A great kids Bible that they can call their own: as I said, my son got his very own Bible for his 7th birthday. It’s special because it’s just for him (signed from his great-grandparents). We chose The Adventure Bible because it helps explain biblical concepts with colorful charts and illustrations.
What about you? How do you spark a love of the Bible in your home?
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