How to Start Kids Off in the Right Direction - The Crosswalk Devotional - August 4
How to Start Kids Off in the Right Direction
By Lynette Kittle
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it”--Proverbs 22:6
Sadly many families’ busy schedules with school, work, and even church activities usually don’t offer much time to set aside to worship, study the Bible, and pray together. Like many families, when our daughters attended public schools, they left early in the morning and came home to spend hours on homework. There was little downtime for much of anything else.
However, after our fourth daughter was born, we began to home school our two oldest, who were 12 and 10 years old at the time. With this change came the ability to set our own schedule, offering us the perfect opportunity to add more to what we had been teaching them at home about God. Although they attended Sunday school, church, vacation bible schools, and more, there was still more we could add to their spiritual training.
How We Began
Beginning at first seated around our large, wooden dining table handed down to us from their great-grandmother, we started off with 20 minutes of reading a devotional once a week, especially for children. Offering a short story, Bible verse, and several relevant questions followed by a short prayer time, it was a good jumping-off point in getting started. In addition, we decided to add a prayer journal, where we wrote specific prayer requests down, recording answers as they were received. We wanted our kids to make note of how God hears and answers their prayers.
After getting into the rhythm of once a week, seeing how God was moving in our lives, and answering our prayers, we soon increased our time together from once a week to daily, Monday through Friday, for an hour a day.
We also relocated where we met, leaving the more structured kitchen table setting to a more casual one providing more space where we could play guitar and other instruments during worship. We also added a weekly communion time together. More and more, it became the highlight of our day, along with getting us off to a great start each morning.
How to Start
Begin With Worship. Start simple by singing acapella or using CDs to sing a-long to worship songs. We began with my guitar playing, eventually offering bongos, a keyboard, rhythm sticks, bells, a triangle, a tambourine, and castanets available for the girls if they wanted to join in playing the music.
Allow children to tap their feet, clap their hands, wave their arms, twirl ribbons, and dance along during worship time. Give children freedom to be children. As John 4:24 reminds u, “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
Be Flexible. We had a larger age gap between our two oldest and two youngest, so we were happy if our pre-school and infant-aged daughters sat in the same room playing quietly, knowing even if it didn’t seem like it, they were taking in all that was happening around them.
Stay Calm. Don’t let disruptions with the kids distract you. Likewise, ignore doorbells and phone calls as much as possible.
Commit Each Day. Commit to keeping your daily time together, and planning other activities around it.
Encourage Kids Participation. Offer your children the freedom to participate and interject without feeling they are interrupting. Encourage, welcome, and appreciate their participation.
Invite them to be an active part, encouraging them to share scripture verses they’re studying, how God is leading and speaking to them, their heartfelt concerns and prayer request, along with any struggles or heaviness on their hearts.
Remember how, “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these’”(Matthew 19:14).
Promote Prayer. Encourage your kids to pray about everything and anything. Ephesians 6:18 encourages, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
Spending time together reading Scripture, worshipping, and praying, is vital in teaching children God’s truth and showing them which way to go in life. These times can be deeply enriching and encouraging to them and you in cultivating spiritual growth and a relationship with God.
Our family discovered God ministering through each of us to one another in ways that helped to build a trust and closeness between us, along with seeing Him answer our prayers in our lives and in the lives of those we lifted up in prayer.
Intersecting Faith and Life:
Starting a time of family devotion can seem daunting to parents, but it doesn’t have to be because we can rely on God’s leading and help in our endeavors.
5 Ways to Lead Your Kids to Jesus
Photo credit: Priscilla du Preez/Unsplash
Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters. She enjoys writing about faith, marriage, parenting, relationships, and life. Her writing has been published by Focus on the Family, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman, kirkcameron.com, Ungrind.org, StartMarriageRight.com, and more. She has a M.A. in Communication from Regent University and serves as associate producer for Soul Check TV.