“Point your kids in the right direction – when they’re old they won’t be lost” Proverbs 22:6 (Msg).
To help children be on the right path and stay on it we must teach them the Scriptures (cf. Deuteronomy 6:7).
Here are ten ways for parents to help children engage with the Bible:
Do it together. Talk about the Scriptures at home (cf. Deuteronomy 6:7). The Bible is about relationships (with God and others) and well suited to family settings. Take turns reading it. Fix a regular time for doing it (e.g. supper). Make it interactive.
Make it appealing. Children draft off the emotions of their parents. Read the Bible with excitement, wonder and passion. Be dramatic. Be expressive. Add fun elements.
Connect it. Relate the Scriptures to real life events that are happening here and now. Capitalize on teachable moments. Form links to your children’s interests and experiences. Think like a boy/think like a girl. Show children the bigger picture.
Apply it. Find practical ways to enable children to live what they learn. For example, if you’re reading about loving others; take your children to the local soup kitchen to help out.
Talk about it. Encourage children to share their thoughts. Facilitate dialogue and discussion. Foster an environment for asking questions and making comments. Keep it conversational. Help them reflect on their interpretations and perceptions. Chat about your own experiences and insights. Use illustrations, testimonies and stories.
Be creative. Sing the Scriptures. Act them out. Use finger puppets. Make things. Write a play. Dress up. Speak with accents or different voices. Play experiential games. Eat what biblical characters ate (e.g. matzos when reading about the Passover in Luke 22).
Be realistic. Don’t expect too much. Don’t settle for too little. There will be stops and starts, set-backs and victories. Roll with it. Pray. Encourage your children to persevere.
Use age appropriate resources. Check out Scripture Union’s Bible reading guides at http://www.scriptureunion.ca/bookstore-1/bible-guides/children?Page=1&Items=9 and Scripture books for children aged 4-8 at http://www.scriptureunion.ca/bookstore-1/books-children/rhyming-books And a shout-out for Phil Vischers What’s in the Bible? DVD series – it’s an excellent resource for elementary age children.
Do it yourself. More is caught than taught. Children learn to value what you value. Model a love for God’s Word. When children see you regularly reading the Bible, it helps them develop a Bible reading habit.
Make a contribution. Share your comments, guidelines or practical suggestions to help children engage with the Bible.
© Scripture Union Canada 2015