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(huge CC) How do you disciple your children in the habit of daily devotions?


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Major leading by God to get into the habit of daily devotions/personal quiet time/mornings with God. /reading the Bible daily. . . whatever you want to call it.

 

I was a teenager when I was first introduced to the idea of reading my Bible every day. I'm ashamed to say that the habit never stuck.

 

Although I lack the habit myself and I have no idea how to go about discipling my children in this area I do feel that it must be neglected no longer.

 

I'd love to hear specifically how you do it, when you do it, how you do it with multiple and very enthusiastic children, and if you're a parent of many how do you find time? My kids are up at the crack of dawn or the sound of my feet hitting the floor. If I do this I realize that I'll have to include them simultaeously or not do it at all.

 

I've been looking at homediscipleship.org and their connections books for each age level. But I'm unsure.

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CHECK LISTS, baby :)

 

i would start w/ something VERY easy at first.

 

make a daily checklist w/ a simple routine, maybe just a morning routine: get dressed, eat breakfast, clear table, spend 15 minutes reading Bible stuff. i don't do well w/ an entire day planned out, but scheduling just that first hour makes a big difference! My list is on the wall in the kitchen, in a plastic page protector so i can tweak it as needed ;)

 

We have progressed to where my kids each have something different they read on their own, but at first we spent those 15 minutes doing a family read aloud devotional. If you have younger children, try a "365 Bedtime Stories" --get the one by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut --it has bite-sized stories and questions afterwards.

 

edited: i have 5 dc, ages [almost] 14, 11, 6, 4 [lone girl], and 2yo.

 

Right now, my oldest is working thru a "Step by Step" workbook. My 11yo is reading aloud to my 6yo a book of "365 Life lessons from Bible people" while I read a "His Little Princess" book to my 4yo dd. The 2yo gets to eat or play quietly or watch tv or sit w/ daddy.

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They sit down after breakfast every day at the same time (8am or so) and we either have a family devotions time (to prepare for weekly Bible study) or they have individual devotions (Kay Arthur series for children) and then recite to us. Then we start school around 8:30am. Of course this doesn't work perfectly every day, but we try our best. If we are out of town, we will often listen to Hurlbut's Story of the Bible on tape for morning devotions.

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9,7,5, 2, and 1.

 

ok, i would DEFINITELY stick w/ basic bible story time :)

 

the trick is to do the reading NO MATTER WHAT! do it during the 2yo and 1yo's naps, or playpen time, or when daddy can watch them. or you watch them and let daddy do the devotionals :)

maybe work on a verse each week to memorize: recite it before the story, at the end of the story, and as a group. Use it as copywork if you wanna!

 

do y'all do AWANA? that's a pretty neat little resource to implement.

 

{{{i didn't know Hurlbut had a tape!!!! yay!!}}}

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I like what Peek says about checklists--I rely on them as well.

 

During the school year, my dd relies on her Explorer's homework for her devotions.

 

During the summer I allow her to pick what she wants to do. It usually involves a chapter a day of the Bible, and a very short prayer time. She has a notebook that she writes prayer lists and thoughts in. I do not control it--I give ideas at times, but primarily allow her to just go do a quiet time in whatever fashion she chooses. Last summer I let her do her quiet time using the book Hind's Feet on High Places, but usually it has been straight Bible reading.

 

My son and I read a Bible story a day. He will start his own devotions in September when I put him on an Explorer's study.

 

I have tried to keep it simple and daily. I don't fuss about how long it is. During the summer, dd has almost total control of subject matter and style--I think it has been really good for her to have that independence. It has increased her ownership over the process.

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ok, i would DEFINITELY stick w/ basic bible story time :)

 

the trick is to do the reading NO MATTER WHAT! do it during the 2yo and 1yo's naps, or playpen time, or when daddy can watch them. or you watch them and let daddy do the devotionals :)

maybe work on a verse each week to memorize: recite it before the story, at the end of the story, and as a group. Use it as copywork if you wanna!

 

do y'all do AWANA? that's a pretty neat little resource to implement.

 

{{{i didn't know Hurlbut had a tape!!!! yay!!}}}

Awana kinda fell off the schedule in January when I got check in to the hospital. . . . otherwise the kids all started as Cubbies. I agree it is a great program.

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Guest Shanna

With the ages you have I would do it together. You might want to look at something like Training Hearts Teaching Minds. It is great and takes only about 15 mins a day.

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Here's what we've been doing:

 

1. BIBLE READING -- The Children's' Illustrated Bible (DK Publishing) is nicely & realistically illustrated, has maps, background information, an index, is mainly in chronological order, and is very readable as a read-aloud, even with small children. I counted up all the "sections" -- the stories and two-page spreads (background information pages) -- and figured out that we simply need to read three per week to read through the children's Bible in a year. This is a good, reasonable pace, and allows me to occasionally back up and say, "Remember, last month we read about Abraham?" (little conversation about Abraham). "Then we read about Isaac, then Jacob?" (little conversation about them). "Now we are going to read about Joseph...." and so on. It's very pick up and go. I just open the book to the book mark and read those two (usually it's two) pages for the day. That's it.

 

2. THEOLOGY -- On the other two/three days, we read a little lesson from Leading Little Ones to God. This is theology at a child's level. It, too, is very pick up and go. Again, I simply open the book to the book mark and read one lesson, two to three times per week. I am not even sure how this works out towards "getting through it," but I don't care. We just read it, talk about it a bit, and move on. I want to expose the girls to the concepts, not grind it all in.

 

I think that for children in your children's age-range (especially the 2, 5, & 7), this is all that is needed, as far as the books go. For the 9 year old, I might get Victor Journey Through the Bible or What the Bible Is All About (Junior version -- Henrietta C. Mears) -- something for a bit more background. Sometimes we read an extra library book about Noah or pyramids or whatever, but mostly we stick with CIB and LLOTG.

 

Also, if you want to add a catechism, prayers, hymns, some people do this. We do not, my children are too young for this. We do some Bible memory work -- books of the Bible, verses, the Beatitudes -- mostly set to music.

 

We have lots of Wee Sing and Cedarmont Kids CDs to teach the children Bible/church songs & hymns. We listen to worship music. We have family worship time every night (5-10 minutes) before putting them to bed -- we sing, we pray for each other, we tuck them in. Pray out loud for and with your children, teach them to pray for you and each other. Serve your church and community together. Let your children really see your relationship with Jesus -- let it "out" into the open, and they will know it's for real.

 

Just my two cents. HTH.

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I simply read, expound a bit and discuss it. We are usually reading a Psalm and through another book of the Bible. Then, my older son, (9) has 1/2 hour Bible reading scheduled in his day. I don't have him do a study like Kay Arthurs (though I LOVE them!,) yet because he balks at writing and I don't want his time alone with the Word to feel like school or a chore.

 

HTH!

Kisa

ds 6, ds 9

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I would try to model it. :) I would make it fun. My daughters and I get together every morning for tea time and Explorers Bible Study. It's short, it's to the point, and there's a beverage with it. The reality for most people is that they will not remember each session/devotional in the long run, but will develop a daily discipline that could be life long - and the information gleaned each day will provide "manna" for that day. They will be fed what they need until the next time they read and soak it in.

 

Blessings to you, Pam

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I would try to model it. :) I would make it fun. My daughters and I get together every morning for tea time and Explorers Bible Study. It's short, it's to the point, and there's a beverage with it. The reality for most people is that they will not remember each session/devotional in the long run, but will develop a daily discipline that could be life long - and the information gleaned each day will provide "manna" for that day. They will be fed what they need until the next time they read and soak it in.

 

Blessings to you, Pam

do you do the same study together?

 

Yes, it's the habit I'm mostly looking to develop for me and them. I've been doing life without this and I was reminded recently that God has promised to give us strength if we just come to Him daily . . . I need that.

 

I love what you do to make it special. My kids would love a cupa coffee daily - - maybe I should consider this too.

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Make it the first and most important thing if the day. Put it on the schedule in the part that never changes...go to the bathroom, brush your teeth, spend 15 minutes in devotions, eat breakfast...you get the idea.

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Maybe somebody said this already, but...

 

Model it.

 

The only things my dc do consistently without me telling them are the things I model for them. When I sit down to read the Bible, pray, study, etc., my dc then want to do it. I would do it during the littles' naptime, unless they are trained to play nicely while you have your quiet time.

 

As far as specific resources, each dc has their own Bible that they chose and are encouraged to mark. They are in our church service and our weekly fellowship with us, so they have plentiful lists of people to pray for. I pick up books like Kay Arthur's books for youngsters and such and give them to 12 and 10 yo dd for gifts.

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that the reason we do "devotions" this way -- children's Bible & children's theology book -- is simply because I detest most typical "devotional" literature. :tongue_smilie: Sorry. It's a personal pet peeve. The kind of workbooks that have students read a passage and answer questions about it and fill in the blanks and and read "Did You Know That?" blurbs and do word searches and talk about how the passage made them feel. Blech.

 

Can you tell I don't like these resources?

 

But, I admit, they do work for some people. I like the Children's Illustrated Bible. It's just so simple for the early years, even I can do it consistently, LOL. Open the book and read. Same with Leading Little Ones. And Tigger (my oldest) is always going around retelling the Bible stories, talking to my mother about the Trinity (good grief!), and singing songs. She likes to pray for people. The other day my back went out lifting the double stroller into the car trunk and later in the day she said, "You know, Mommy, you COULD have asked me to PRAY for you, instead of suffering all day." From the mouths of babes.

 

Anyway, if you want/need a devotional curriculum, then this won't work, but if you just want a Bible and a theology "primer," then these are my top picks in every way. HTH.

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every morning at breakfast. I started with an NirV Read With Me Bible when ds 8 was 4. When he was 5 and 6, I read the The child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos to him each morning (OT one year, NT the next) and he colored a Bible time line. When he was 7 and ds 5 was 4, I read the Vos Bible to them again, in it's entirety.

 

This year, I used VP, and read from both an adult Bible, and from Vos, or the Golden Children's Bible, along with The Victor Journey Through the Bible and a couple of other commentaries. They memorized Scripture, and listened to Scripture memory songs.

 

I plan to use Christin Studies by Memoria Press, along with some of hte VP materials I already have with my dc next year. Both of these programs cover the entire Bible chronologically over a period of several years - 5 for VP; 3 for CS.

 

My own ability to maintain a regular quiet time has ebbed and flowed through the years, for various reasons; at times I have read the Bile voraciously, when I had a newborn who nursed around the clock and didn't sleep for more than an hour and a half at a time, I jsut read when I could.

 

However, I'm learning new things along with my dc. The chronological overview and background information have provided a helpful context for understanding certain passages and I am also memorizing Scripture as they do.

 

I am also reading my Archaeological Study Bible in the morning as often as I can; by reading the same stories in my Bible that I am reading to them, I find that I have valuable insights and background information to offer when I read to them later in the day at breakfast.

 

 

Be encouraged - you can build slowly as you read to them and learn along side them.

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This is how it's done here...

 

On each of their white boards is a section for "spritual." In that area it says:

 

daily text __ __ __ __ __

daily reading (1-5 ch depending on kid and day) __ __ __ __ __

mtg study ___ ___ ___ (only 3 meeting times per week)

pers. study chapter _____

Monthly reading __ __ __ __ __ OR research __ __ __ (depends on which kid)

other spiritual lit ___ ___ ___

 

It looks like a ton written out like this but it's not that bad. Also, I feel it's important to "keep first the kingdom." Why would we spend 30 minutes on math each day but not at least that (or double or triple) on God's teachings? Also, I've actually found my kids do better all the way around this way. If we miss some morsel of spiritual food, we're not starving because we got so much. Kinda like I don't just shop for one side dish per supper and hope they find the rest of what they need to eat somehow...if that makes sense. And now that we're in better habit of it, they miss it when a morsel is dropped (and we're not perfect...they do get dropped).

 

BTW, age matters! I didn't catch those. My kids are big enough to be fully responsible for this. I simply am the back up plan if they need a little encouragement (rarely an issue). I wouldn't expect this much of kids in single digit ages. We'd pare it down slightly and do a lot more as a unit.

 

I probably didn't help....sorry.

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We read Bible stories to the children when they were small. Now we still have family devotions at breakfast. As soon as they were old enough to read, we gave them a Bible--1st a children's Bible or a comic strip Bible, and eventually they worked their way up to the complete adult version. Before they could come to breakfast, they had to have read their Bible for the day. I'd ask--and send them back if needed. It was O.K. if they chose to do it in the evening when they went to bed.

 

Later, I started putting it on their school list of things to do. They had to check it off as done.

 

Now they are all teens. My dd sometimes mentions her Bible reading time in the morning when she rises while at college. My other boys seem to have incorporated it into their day as well. It always makes me feel satisfaction to see them remembering to keep doing it--it has become a habit of life.

 

:-)))))

J

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:lurk5:

 

Love these ideas! Keep them coming!

 

We've been doing family devotions as a group at night, and it has gone well. DH has the older kids read a passage, then we discuss it and pray. The older kids also have Bible memory work in school and Bibles in their rooms that they read at night or in the morning. However, I've realized that I've left MYSELF out of this! I need some quiet time and prayer space for just me...

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Thanks for all the replies and suggestions. I'm still mulling all this over.

 

We do family time in the evening. Actually DH does it. He's got the Vos book they're reading through with coloring pages for each story. We're also memorize some of the Psalms together as a family during this time.

 

What I'm looking for is really more for me than the kids I guess. It's a personal Bible time/study for me. I'd have to involve the kids with me by giving them their own notebooks & Bible--in that way they'd be learning more habit than actual spiritual teaching. Eventually the spiritual would take over. I like some of the studies recommended.

 

(thinking in between packing, parenting, and occasional naps :D)

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You've gotten lots of good ideas. I would say further, start simple. You're trying to build a habit, not win a race today. My tendency is always to develop a big complicated program, follow it faithfully for three days and then never pick it up again!!

 

Start with something simple and short - maybe just pick up your bible and read for 5 minutes, and pray for a few minutes. Make a goal - finish one book of the bible (start with a short one!). Give yourself permission to miss sometimes - you have small children and life can be chaotic (as if you need me to tell you that!!). When you've accomplished your first goal, set a new one. Maybe you'll be ready to add a few minutes to your time, maybe you'll want try something a bit different.

 

Remember that God WANTS you to do this - Ask Him to help you. Ask Him for the desire and the opportunity. He is faithful when we ask!!

 

Anne

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It hasn't fully stuck with me either but I do devotions with the kids each morning before we begin schoolwork. We work through Child Evangelism Fellowship devotionals as well as verses that I sometimes think they really need to hear based on what's been happening in our lives. They look forward to it now but I am curious to find out what it will be like when they're older. My dc are almost 4yo, 6yo, and 9yo.

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For us we incorporate our Faith throughout the entire day.

 

1. At breakfast we say a grace before our meal and after our meal.

2. We attend 8:00 daily Mass at church

3. When we arrive home, I always have the kids begin with their religion assignments - study and memorize their Catechisms, Bible history, and read a chapter from a biography about the Saints.

4. 12:00 pray the Angelus before lunch, say grace before and after meal.

5. 4:00 at end of school pray The Act of Contrition

6. Supper - say a grace before and after supper.

7. 9:00 pray the rosary together as a family before bedtime.

 

Blessings

 

Zoraida

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We've done devotions as a family, parent-child only, to kick off our school day, etc. I think we like the variety. If our life weren't so crazy with a different schedule every day, we might like the consistency of doing the same thing every day.

 

There are some great pages on this yahoo list that you can download. I printed them off for each child and plan to introduce them this summer.

 

Great Bible reading logs can be downloaded at this group:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Notebooking2Learn/

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  • 2 weeks later...

My children are ages 12, 10 and 9 and are more committed to daily Bible reading than I am! We started making it a habit years ago, immediately after breakfast. I have them fit it in between reading the daily comics and brushing their teeth (though we've only been doing the comics for about a year). Having a routine helps! Until it's routine, I agree with the comment somebody made about having a checklist so they can see what they're supposed to be doing and don't leave anything out. When they're young, they can draw pictures for their reminder lists! And all of this from somebody who's generally pretty laid back and fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants (except for the Bible reading and teeth brushing and gettin' started with the day!) Hope this helps!

 

Michele R. in TN (I'm new here!)

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