In the previous post, we discussed when to start teaching the Bible to your children. The short version of the answer is "today", however, you can read the full blog post here for a more detailed explanation.
Today, we will examine how we can teach the Bible to our children and how to have a devotional time with them. The next two blog posts will discuss material for our devotional time.
How do you lead a devotional time with your children?
The how is not difficult in execution, after all, you simply sit down with your children and start. The hardest part is committing to the doing of it and then being consistent.
I try to sit down with my children each evening before bedtime. You can do this in the morning, after school, after dinner, or any time that works best for you. We found it easier to do this before the kids went to bed so that is when we meet.
When they were younger, we would read a chapter from a story Bible. I would show them the pages with the pictures as we read so they could follow the story. You can have them sit beside you, or with some practice, you can show them the pages while you look over the top of book and read upside down (as crazy as it sounds, I learned how to do it).
After reading, I would ask them a question or two about the story or field any questions they had from the story. Then we would have a short prayer and then we were finished.
If you want to know how to pray with your children, I provided two suggestions in a previous blog post, which you can find here.
When we reached the end of the story Bible, we would simply start at the beginning of the book the next night. Often, we would go through the same story Bible from cover-to-cover three or four times before trying a different story Bible.
We would aim to do this each night and our time together would last 15 minutes or so depending on the questions. Now, we missed some nights because family might be visiting or because of travel or other activities running late. If we aim for each night, I have found it reasonable to actually have devotionals four to five nights a week and frequently more often.
A quick word of encouragement, especially if you have boys. It is okay if they bounce around a bit while you read. For a long time I thought my children needed to sit perfectly still in order to understand the material, but I was wrong. I started asking my son questions periodically as he moved around and he usually answered them correctly, so I learned that he was grasping the material. When in doubt, just check to see if they are following along.
As our children became older, we might spend 20 to 30 minutes a night, depending on the questions, the material we read, or who we prayed for. We do not try to reach a minimum amount of time, instead we try to spend some focused time and see where the conversations lead.
In the next two posts, we will discuss content for each group that I have found helpful for my kids as well as for me. The post for younger children can be found here.
P.S. You can find additional ways to equip and disciple your children in my book, Leading Well at Home: How Husbands and Fathers Can Biblically Lead Their Families. Buy it in our store at https://www.entrustingthefaith.com/store.