So you’ve decided to attempt scripture study with your littlest ones?
GOOD. FOR. YOU! This is no easy task. If you’re reading this, I’m sure you already know that.
I don’t know about you, but I have definitely gone through the ups and downs of “I’m going to teach my kids everything about the scriptures!” to “this is way too hard, I’ll wait until they are older”
But it doesn’t need to be that way!
You can find the balance of scripture study that works for your family in whatever season of life you are in.
When my oldest child was almost three years old and we had a brand new baby I wanted to be better about introducing and studying the scriptures with them. I tried different approaches but nothing felt quite right.
So we started doing a routine. We started with prayer, five verses of scripture, and then a primary song. This ended up being too much for her to pay attention to. Plus my daughter went through a weird phase of really really not liking primary songs or hymns haha. BUT I would encourage adding a song in if it works for your family.
Then I decided this needed to somehow be more meaningful.
And our morning devotional was born.
We started just reading one verse at a time. We have done themed verses for a week, the same verse for a week, random verses, and verses by topic for whatever amount of time we want.
But the key has been this: make it short and make it meaningful!
So here is how I do it.
Short: Only one verse at a time (sometimes only part of one verse).
Meaningful: Context, Scripture, Explanation, (testimony if you feel prompted)
It has worked out so well for us, and I want to share it with everyone else.
I also thought it would be great to take a little weight off of your shoulders, so I have put together themed guides to help take the stress out of studying the scriptures with your young kids. (You can find one of these guides that goes along with our Lehi’s Journey Board Book for free, by signing up for our newsletter.)
Now I just want to share a few tips for using these guides that I have learned over the past couple years:
1. Zero expectations
If there is one thing that will help you have a non-stressful scripture study time with young kids it is to go in with no expectations of what it will or what it should look like. Don’t assume your kids will share you enthusiasm of the gospel. But also don’t try this out expecting them to hate it. Just know that trying to expose your child to God’s word is a good thing, no matter their response.
2. Recognize your children’s individual characteristics
Everyone is different. Maybe children especially. Recognize if your child needs more or less words out of your mouth. Use questions if they learn better when they get to speak. Don’t push them if they don’t want to talk.
3. Make it short
At this young beginning stage, most kids can’t handle long periods of scripture study. If your kids enjoy it, well then go for it! But in my experience I can only keep the attention of a three year old for a few minutes. And a lot can be learned from just one verse. (Which is why we choose to use one verse devotionals!)
Set the context with information that will help make sense of the verse, read the verse, and pull a quick but important principle or explanation out of it after. This should only take 1-2 minutes, unless the children have questions. Often the adult wants to over-explain or repeat themselves just to make sure to get the point across, but many of these times the children will just zone it out if you take too long. If something feels really important to you, repeat the same verse for a few days rather than over and over in the same day.
4. Time it right
You know your own children. Pick a time when you know they can hold still for a couple minutes. From day to day, those times may change. Just be flexible and pick the most beneficial time for you AND for them.
5. Be consistent
Be consistent in that you are reading every day. But still have that flexibility we talked about earlier in how you read. If your child isn’t feeling the “context, scripture, explanation” format, try something else. “Scripture, explain” or just the scripture. However you choose to implement your study, make an effort every day.
6. Bear testimony
While reading and explaining to your children you may feel prompted to bear your testimony. DO IT! The Spirit will help you teach what your children need. Be aware of these promptings.
I hope this is helpful to you and your family and would love to hear back about your experiences with it. Please leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
You’re doing great! Good luck!
Make sure you sign up for our newsletter to get the Free 7 Day Devotionals download. Don’t worry, we NEVER send spam! The scriptures used in the free download are themed to the Lehi’s Journey Board Book, so if you have already been reading it with your children, that should help keep their attention since they will be familiar with the story. And…. if you haven’t been reading Lehi’s Journey, this is my shameless plug to buy it! As a special for the release of these Free Devotionals, we created a coupon code to get 20% off the board book! Use the code “devotional” at checkout(Good through the end of November 2018). With that said, it is NOT necessary to have Lehi’s Journey to use these Devotionals.