5 Simple Ways to Get Kids Involved in Family Devotions
Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face.” ― Ronald Reagan
You might say that spending time with your kids is one of the most important things you could do for your family. So is family devotions.
In fact, that time in God’s Word is vital for your family’s spiritual growth.
Playing, talking, going on day trips and road trips, making stops at the ice cream store. None of these things can take the special place of learning and growing spiritually with your kids by your side.
The Bible says:
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. — Proverbs 22:6
So whether your kids are in preschool or high school, help them focus on God’s Word this summer by reading it! Here’s how to get everyone involved and learning:
1. Set a time.
If everyone’s going to take part, you have to find a time that works for everyone.
Do the adults or teens work late sometimes? Maybe you could try a morning devotion at breakfast or in bed.
Maybe you already tuck the kids into bed every night — then that’s the perfect time to insert a devotional! Maybe creating a calendar time that changes on certain days will work better.
The point is to nail down a spot in your schedule when most people can be there most of the time. God will bless your consistency by growing your family together in Him.
2. Get everyone talking.
You may have small or big kids, but everyone can play a part in family devotions. Be sure to leave plenty of time for discussion as you go along.
Include everyone by:
- Asking open-ended questions (for older kids)
Let them give their thoughts on a verse or Bible story. What do they think it means? It’s a great time to see if they understand what the family is reading.
- Repeat key words or phrases
Repetition works at any age, but it’s a great tool for small kids! Pick a few simple words or a key phrase that will help them remember.
Then, have the family repeat it several times throughout the lesson.
You can even turn it into a game! Pick a word or Bible character’s name from your devotion.
Every time someone says that word, the family can repeat the key phrase! You’ll also keep those listening ears turned on a little longer this way.
- Let your kids ask questions.
Pick a time in the devotion to let your kids be curious. You may want to prompt them with a topic or verse to get things going.
You can even let older children look up answers using our Ready Reference Guide!
- Call names.
Sometimes, kids may need some help in sharing their thoughts. Calling on a specific person to answer a question can remind them to stay in the conversation.
3. Break it up.
Kids may have a hard time paying attention during a longer lesson. To keep their attention, break up the time by reciting a verse, memorizing the Ten Commandments, or singing songs!
For small kids, songs that reinforce the lesson might help them remember it later. Also, keep in mind that small children may need you to keep family devotions short.
Every child is different; so you can adjust that timing as you see fit.
4. Let your kids be helpers.
Family devotions is a family event! So why not give your kids their very own part or job?
Toddlers can hold the Bible while sitting on someone’s lap. They can offer prayer requests or even say a short prayer.
Older kids could read Bible verses or lead in memorizing Scripture. If you write down questions, an older child might also ask these to the family (with your guidance.)
Pat Williams, author of Coaching Kids to be Leaders: The Keys to Unlocking Their Potential, stresses how important it is to build leadership skills in your kids.
In his book, he reminds parents to give kids opportunities to practice leadership. Parents can also build confidence in them by praising those leader-like qualities.
For example, if a child starts a discussion during devotions or offers to pray at the end, these are fruits that he is learning to lead. (1)
You can adapt your kids’ devotional time jobs to how you go through family devotions, but the rewards of leadership and attention are endless.
5. Review what you learned.
Reviewing is another way to add in repetition. You can ask simple questions, repeat your memory verse or key phrase, or even get creative!
Have kids point out important verses from the lesson or answer review questions on a piece of paper.
Small children might enjoy an activity page or coloring a picture of the Bible story you went through. Object lessons, short videos, or ending with a song are other great options too!
It’s summer — the perfect time to start family devotions! Whether your kids are very small or in their upper teens, they will get great benefits from reading God’s Word as a family.
The Gospel of John
Need a place to start? We recommend the Gospel of John! This book gives kids a great overview of events in the New Testament while teaching them the clear message of the Gospel.
In between lessons, you can even give each child his very own copy! Each person can choose their favorite cover—there’s so many. Many kids love the "Amazing Grace" resource too that is filled with fun Gospel-focused games and puzzles.
Then, you can share the extra Gospels with neighbors, friends, and other people you meet every day. Pocket Gospels come in packages of 10 each; so you’ll have plenty to start sharing together as a family!
For older kids, you could go through the 21-Day Challenge together or as a personal devotion. Parents and children will receive an email each day that would easily complement family devotions through the Gospel of John.
Whitney Hopler, “Help Kids Become Leaders”, Crosswalk, 8 November 2004