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Have you ever wanted to establish a nightly routine of family devotional time but threw your hands up in the air in frustration by day three? Here are 4 common obstacles to family Bible time and how to overcome them.
Does this sound familiar?
You buy a 365-day children’s Bible at the end of the year.
You wait eagerly for the New Year to begin.
You tell the kids there will be a new nightly routine that will include a nightly bible bedtime story starting in the new year.
You pray about it, you’re super excited. You’re not sure about the kids, but they’re kids, they’ll get on board once you’ve made it a habit.
Then January 1st comes. The first day of your bedtime Bible story goes perfect. The kids are attentive, and everyone seems to love this new routine.
The second night takes a bit more meandering. But the kids finally settle down, and day two is a success.
By day three, the boys are jumping on the bed while you read. Your daughter is talking to her dolls the whole time.
But you think the Word is still getting into their hearts. It’s kids, after all, you have to be flexible.
By day five, you’ve either given up or forgotten about it.
Spending ten minutes a day talking to your kids about Jesus shouldn’t bring on this much yelling and crying.
Eight months later, you find the Children’s devotional Bible under your son’s bed and throw in the donation box without another thought.
You assume your family isn’t one of those families that can have a family devotional time.
We’ve all been there. Even those of us that have successful family devotional time with our kids.
The difference is learning how to work around four common obstacles to family devotion time we all face, whether we have young kids or teenagers.
How to Overcome Your 4 Biggest Obstacles to Family Devotional Time
Striving for perfection
Whatever devotion you have in mind to complete with your kids, plan on it taking three times as long.
Or don’t have a goal or plan to complete it at all.
This past year I set out to read one chapter from Luke each day in December so I could read the whole book of Luke to my kids by Christmas Day.
They’re teenagers now so you’d think that’d be doable.
We made it for four days. But I was super happy with those four days.
We had good conversations about misconceptions the kids had heard over the years that we wouldn’t have had if I’d decided not to do it at all.
Your children won’t sit still
Your kids don’t need to sit still to learn about Jesus. Many children learn best if they can do something with their hands while they are listening.
Set aside unique coloring books, art supplies, or legos that you only get out during the bible or devotion time.
Encourage your children to make something representative of what the story you’re reading is about.
You can’t keep your kids attention
You see the pictures posted of the perfect family lying in bed reading the Bible together or eating by candlelight while the parent reads a verse from the Bible each night, and the kids are listening raptly.
Don’t fall for it. Those pictures are staged. You have no idea how much crying and yelling happened just minutes before.
Maybe those picture-perfect scenarios worked when no electricity and nothing was vying for our kids’ attention, but now there’s too much stuff being thrown their way.
We have to make Bible Devotion time fun if we expect our kids to want to do it.
The best way to excite young kids to learn about the Bible is to incorporate singing and dancing.
When my children learned 26 ABC bible verses, which all had an accompanying song, they enjoyed the songs that came with hand movements or dancing the most.
Years later, they can still recall the dance moves to the verse to the letter J.
While I was exhausted from a full day’s work, the kids were full of energy while we sang bible verses each night. I let them run around the room, singing bible verses and dancing to the tune. They enjoyed being filmed and watching it later.
You want to capture the moment
Forget trying to get Instagram worthy pictures of your family devotion time. Nothing will drive you further away from Jesus.
No one else needs to know you’re spending time with your kids in the Word. Or you are attempting to.
Your memories will continue without a picture.
Put your phone in another room and encourage big kids to do the same.
When my kids were in grade school, we learned 26 bible verses over a year. It wasn’t perfect, but we grew to enjoy it as a nightly routine.
We learned one verse for each letter of the alphabet. We learned along with a song to speed our learning and make it more fun.
Some nights the kids were wild. I videotaped them being goofy while they sang or said their bible verses. At the time, I was a little annoyed, but now they are the funniest videos we have.
Some weeks we didn’t enjoy the memory verse, or we had a hard week, and it stretched into a couple of weeks.
Looking back, that year of cuddling each evening singing God’s Word together, laughing, competing, and learning are some of our fondest memories.
You too can teach your kids 26 Bible Verses using songs, short stories, and an activity book. The whole series can be found here.