It’s 9:45 AM; the day’s getting away from you. You have time to focus on onlyone of these before scrambling out the door with your four young kiddos: snack, shoes, or Bible-reading. Which do you pick?
I know, I wouldn’t choose the Bible either. It’s not that I don’t love the Word of God; I do. It’s not that I don’t know beyond all knowing that it’s life for me and my children, more important than virtually anything else that could fill our days.It’s just that, amidst the never-ending, here-and-now demands of life with little people, it can so easily slip quietly out of our days. It shouldn’t be that way, but sometimes (let’s be honest) it is.
Life events happen – the arrival of a new baby, kicking off a new schedule for older children, a family vacation. A solid Bible-reading groove can so easily give way, for one reason or another, to a dry season where the Book is shelved for weeks before I even realize it.
There’s more than one way to bring the Bible back into the center, and it doesn’t have to be a hard or time-intensive process. Realizing this has hugely helped me get back on track when I find we’ve fallen out of the groove.
Here are five ideas to simply and quickly get back into daily Bible engagement with little kids:
1. Take 5 minutes at breakfast or dinner to read aloud from a children’s Bible or do a page together out of a children’s devotional. During or right after meals works well for us, because we’re all already gathered in one place and actively occupied with an activity that cuts down on squabble. We’re currently alternating between the Big Picture Story Bible (which works very well for our 2 through 6 crowd) and My ABC Bible verses: Hiding God’s Word in Little Hearts. More fantastic resource suggestions for the young crowd are listed in Christin’s Devotions for Ages Five and Under.
2. Listen to an audio version of a children’s Bible in the car. The Jesus Storybook Bible comes with a CD with fantastic audio presentation of the text. I keep it in the car, and we sometimes listen to one or two tracks while driving and then discuss the passage afterwards.
3. Learn one song from a Seeds Family Worship album per month. The Seeds albums are great because the songs lyrics are unadulterated Bible verses – nothing else. Once you know the words to a song, you know a new Bible verse. And the tunes are catchy and not annoying.
4. Use Bible verse coloring pages for coloring-time. My kids love to color, and occupying the younger ones while the older does school work is mandatory. Printing coloring pages that feature Bible verses is practical and can be a jumping off point for discussion about the Scriptures. Colored pictures can be hung on the wall or fridge for ongoing reference, till a new page gets colored.
5. Incorporate a few theme-related verses into your daily household activities and chores like “clothe yourself with Christ” (Rom 13:14) when dressing for the day, or “create in me a clean heart” (Ps 51:10) when tidying up a room. We haven’t done this yet, but it’s a cool idea and one that, with a just a little forethought and intentionality, could be a cool trigger and mental practice for mother and child alike.
It’s crucial for us moms to be in God’s word ourselves, drinking from the well of Life so that we can abide in Him as we walk through days that can be wearying with our little ones. But it’s also crucial that we’re bringing our children back to the well, acquainting them with how to draw the water and accustoming them to its taste.
May all of us, mothers and kids alike – drink often and deeply.
Susan Arico is mother to four children, ages 6 and under. She writes for Christianity Today on women’s issues and consults on a very part-time basis to Christian nonprofit organizations. She is passionate about the importance of shaping children’s souls in a Christ-ward direction and blogs at Christian Mothering.