We all want to make God's love and care real to our kids, but it can be a challenge. We sit Jimmy down to hear a Bible lesson only to find that he's more interested in poking his brother and tipping his chair back on two legs—before falling over. Even when no stitches are required, it's frustrating.
Many of us feel we're not doing that great a job at the most important task facing Christian parents. But before you don sackcloth and ashes, consider the hands-on approach advocated by child-education specialist Karyn Henley.
"Kids can learn from the direct teaching approach," she says, "but they really learn better in other ways." Karyn is a popular speaker and the author of several books, including The Beginner's Bible, God's Story, and Child-Sensitive Teaching. She and her husband, Ralph, live in Nashville with their two sons.
How can we make our children's spiritual development a more natural part of family life?
We often think of family devotions as everyone sitting down together to read the Bible and pray. But with young children, family devotions don't have to involve reading anything. Children 5 and under learn best by moving around and touching things. So if your kids are preschool age, do something active for family devotions.
What else works with young children?
Talking is a natural way to connect. You don't have to talk about Jesus every moment, but you should be modeling Christian values. You do that in the daily routines of family life—washing clothes or cleaning up spills. When you serve your family, you are modeling part of what it means to have a Christlike character.1