5 Easy ABCs For Helping Your Kids To Love The Bible
How do you help your kids read the Bible?
As a parent I am keen for my kids to have the same experience I had at 16 - to fall in love with Jesus and fall in love with the Bible. But I believe they don't have to wait until they're a teenager to do so.
It takes time to cultivate a love for, and a habit of knowing the Bible, without it being a duty or burden, but we can do 5 things to help make it fun and bring it to life.
The ABC's of raising kids who love the Bible.
A) Act It Out - Whether full stories or just arm actions for verses. Grab the cushions off the couch and make a tower for your kid to balance on top of (push through those anxiety triggers!) and let her become Goliath, as you throw a rolled up pair of socks at her to make her fall down...on another pile of cushions. Try building a wall of pillows, blankets, and toys between you and them, higher and higher until you can’t see each other, and talk about what things do we/people pile up in our lives like walls between us and God? Explain that no matter what, Romans 8:31 says, nothing can separate us from God’s love. Make a fort/den and say, "The name of the Lord is a strong tower and the righteous (or God's friends) run to it and are safe!" Race them to it and see who can get in first. Kids love to use their imaginations, and play is a huge part of their development. So when kids act out the Bible or participate in retelling it, it brings the words to life as they put themselves in God's Story. They see God's heart in a whole new light, and wonderful things can happen.
B) Bring It - I don’t mean carry it around, although why not? Go for it. Perhaps print off little verse cards to whip out at any moment. Rather, I meant Bring It Up, bring the Bible into conversation. Talk about what God says, what Jesus said, or the stories we've read that remind us about this situation. I try to talk about it from a place of love and excitement. I want to bring it up into life, not just as a tool for discipline, so they don't resent it as the thing that corrects them. I want to remind them that Jesus said let the children come to me, love your neighbour and your enemy, love is greater. I want to remind them to see the lonely and the broken and lift their heads, like Jesus did, call them out of hiding in trees. I want to bring the Bible into our every day conversations and pray that the Holy Spirit will bring it to life in their hearts.
How do you bring it up with your kids?
C) Craft It - Get those hands making and messy! Craft, art, colouring sheets whatever you do, make it a visual reminder, a visual explanation. We love to start out our day with colouring sheets, colouring books or bible verses. We also love to paint, cut and stick. I often set up an invitation to create something. I might read a verse or a story in the Bible, and then encourage them to paint it into a picture. Or we might make a nest out of playdoh, clay or sticks and talk about Matthew 5, God caring for the birds but how much more will He care for us. While we do it we thank God for our home, pray for those who don’t have one, or talk about what God’s home in Heaven might be like. If you're not sure what to make, just give them the materials and let them create something on their own. How do you get creative with the Bible?
D) Differ It - Mix it up! We know that feeling parents have of reading the same book over and over until you fall into a story-coma all too well! But it doesn't have to be the case with the Bible. There are so many options! I love to collect books and Bibles are no different. I want them to hear the stories from different authors, see different illustrations, the more culturally diverse the better! I want them to experience poetry and facts about ancient times. We love to listen to the Jesus Storybook Bible on audio with David Suchet reading it so beautifully, before they go to sleep. HERE are some of our favourites and THIS is one we particularly love right now. It's a worthy investment.
E) Example It - I try and share, in kid friendly language, what I’m reading, what I’m learning and what God is saying to me when I listen to Him. No 5 year old wants to try and unpack a language they don’t speak in every day or the meaning of sanctification it's part of my job to make it simple and digestible. I want to model vulnerability and that I am still learning, not perfect, not all wise. Sometimes I share what I've read and ask them, What do you think God wants Mummy to remember today? When I share what I’ve been reading, I sometimes try and sum it up in one sentence - this challenges me to really get hold of the principal of what God is speaking to me about, and makes it accessible for a kids attention span. I want my kids to see me enjoy the Bible, even if admittedly I don’t always read it every day or get up early to do it. I am conscious that a lot of what I will reproduce in them will come out of who I am and my habits, not just my beliefs.
I hope these ideas encourage you if you're already doing them YAY, or it sparks fresh inspiration, be encouraged God has a good plan for your cubs. Share your ideas below, what do you do with yours?