Last Tuesday, we continued on with our series of Teaching our Children Diligently. We talked about the importance of family devotions.While that is important, I also want to share about te importance of teaching your children to have their own, quality, quiet time with the Lord.
It is important to teach kids to have their own quiet times. A relationship with the Lord is personal – and it is for your children as well. This doesn’t mean your out of the loop, or not a part of the process, it just means you play a different role.
The idea of a personal quiet time looks different fore each age group – but can be done – on some level, beginning at the age of four or five. Today I am going to break down how we teach our kids to have a quiet time.
1. Model It – This is vital for all ages. What is important to you, will be important to your kids. Do your kids ever see you with your Bible open? Or even moved? Now, I know for some people, you might do your quiet time long after they are in bed. You don’t want the interruptions. While I understand that, I think it is important that your kids see you spend time, personally, with God. They they would find you reading your Bible with a cup of coffee. That they would see your Bible in one spot today, and left open beside your chair tomorrow. I know those interruptions make it hard for deep study – however, it does speak volumes to your kids. One thing that I have done, the my friend Courtney, over at Women Living Well has shared She suggest keeping the Bible open on the counter of your kitchen, or I have put it on my living room table, to a passage that you are meditating on for the day. This helps you to re-read the verse you are trying to hide in your heart for the day. Your kids, if they are like mine, are going to ask questions about the Bible being open- and ask what you are reading and looking at.
2. Toddlers/Early Childhood (ages 4-6)- At this age, we have young readers. This means you are still going to have to read it to them. But, this does not mean that they can’t have a personal time with the Lord. The way that I did it with my youngest (who was the only one I was doing quiet times with at an early age) was I would read the passage that I was reading to myself to her. Then I would try to explain what it meant, and I would have her draw a picture of the passage. After she was done drawing (and I was done jounraling), I would have her re-tell me the passage, and I would choose a key word for her to write on the top of her paper. Some other ideas that we did was acting it out or copy work, although, I found copy work frustrated them more then they enjoyed it – and I wanted it to be enjoyable for her. At this age, it is very important that you model a quiet time for them. I would give her extra paper or play dough (sometimes, she would make animals or things from the story!) and remind her that this was Mommy’s quiet time. I would often try to get some time in before the kids woke up, but realistically, if I was going to get time with the Lord, it was during time she way awake.
3. Childhood (6-11)- Now, we have early readers and independent readers. As they grow in their reading ability, you can also expand how much of this time they do by themselves. You might still have to work through reading the passage with younger children, but old children can work through passages on their own. I suggest Psalms or Proverbs, or the New Testament for children this age. This is also the age where they are really learning about Jesus- and beginning to understand their need for a Savior. I print out storybook journal pages – these include writing lines (about 6) as well as a drawing space. This helps children be able to write sentences about the passage, or what God taught them about the passage, as well as draw a picture (which they still love to do!) I often will give them a ponder question as well – that helps them apply it to their lives. There are great devotional guides out there, however, I find writing my own based on areas where my kids need to grow are the most helpful.
4. Tweens (11-13) – At this age, I give my child a reading plan. My tween used Good Morning Girls plan with me. I would have her read the passage, and then write her basic observations. Again, I gave her a ponder question to help guide her reading time. This is also the age that we started our interactive journal. This was an idea I found from Courtney at Women Living Well. My daughter would write her observations, and what God was teaching her. She uses the SOAP plan. Let’s say the passage for the day was Proverbs chapter 3. I would tell her that her SOAP verses were Proverbs 3:5-6. She would write those verses in her journal. She would write down 2-3 basic observations, and then write down what God was teaching her in the passage. I would have her highlight any questions she might have for me about the passage. Then, each day, she would leave her Quiet Time Journal on the table, and I would read what she wrote, give her feedback, respond in prayer for her, or answer any questions. I did this daily because I felt like this was a vital time for her to get daily accountability about her time in the Word.
5. Teenagers (13 and up) – Really, at this age, you want it to be their hearts desire to spend time in the Word of God. My teen still uses the Good Morning Girls plan- and we have done book studies together at this point as well. Secret Keeper Girl has some great ones for the girl in your life (we haven’t crossed these rivers with our boy yet!). At this point, I am looking at her journal weekly. I give grace – as I need grace too – and talk through days that time in the Word doesn’t happen. I keep writing in her journal – and buying her cute oens! She also writes her church notes in there as well, and so I can keep up with how she is paying attention in church as well.
I hope that these ideas and expectations are helpful to you as you begin to encourage your children to interact and spend time with Jesus on their own. This is the most vital once they have made their own personal profession of faith. We must remember that although it our jobs to disciple and train our children, the Holy Spirit is the best teacher of God’s Word that anyone can have. We want our kids to have a faith that is real and all their own – and that there would be no question about if their faith was based off of Mom and Dad, or off their own relationship.
If you are enjoying this series- I have added to it and made it into one of my very first ebooks- Teaching Them Diligently.
Worshiping With My Life,