Apr 10, 2011

Scripture Study with Small Children

As you may know, we have two smallish children in our home. You may also know we are religious people, and as such, we feel a need to study the scriptures as a family regularly. We also want to instill within our children the same belief systems we have. We want them to grow up to be good people and share the same beliefs we feel guide and shape our lives.
OK, that being said, have you ever tried to read the bible to a four-year-old? It's not exactly attention-grabbing for that age group. Also, even if you manage to get them to sit still and quiet long enough to read a chapter aloud, it's not like they are going to get anything out if, right?
So we kind of gave up for a while, until a more child friendly approach occurred to me.

Here's what we do: At the beginning of the week, The Hubs and I will pick one or two scriptures that meet one or more of the following criteria.

  • addresses a particular issue our family is facing that week, like faith or obedience
  • teach a basic tenet of our faith, like tithing or charity
  • is at most two verses long (this will change as our kids get older)
  • can be discussed and explained to toddlers/preschoolers
The next trick was to find a consistent time in the day to do our scripture study. Right before bed was DEFINITELY not it. We hit apon breakfast. The children are eager to talk with us first thing in the morning, they are willing to stay in one place, since there's food in front of them, and they are fresh and chipper from a full night's sleep.

After we have our morning prayer and dish out the meal, I say something along the lines of "OK, now it's SCRIPTURE time!" I will recite the verse, ask the children if they know the meaning of certain words, explain the lesson behind the scripture, ask for questions, and then we teach the scripture to the children. Throughout the day, such as in the car, or before naps, I will recite the scripture again and the children will then get a chance to take turns reciting it. When we feel they are getting bored with a particular verse or have mastered it, we move on to the next verse, usually doing two a week. Occasionally we will review scriptures we've already learned.

This has been the most meaningful our scripture study as a family has ever been. I'm sure as our children grow and change our methods will change, but for now, this is what's working for us. :)

Happy Sabbath.

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