In response to our survey some parents have asked for help with reading the Bible with their children or as a family. This is a great way to learn more about God together but can feel daunting if you've never done it before. You may like to find a time when you sit as a family and read the Bible together - some families do this over a meal time, like breakfast or dinner. Another option might be to include it in part of your bedtime routine.
Some key things to bear in mind:-
start with a prayer, ask God to teach you more about Him. It can literally be as short as "Dear God please help us learn more about you today. Amen".
you don't have to know all the answers! It's okay to say to your children, I don't know. You can always go away and find out the answer and come back to them. Both Dave Atallah and Katie Croft just love to help with questions, so ask away!
keep it short, don't worry if it deteriorates and isn't perfect.
don't give up, if one day turns out to be disastrous, try another day or at another time. Kids have bad days and sometimes we do too :-).
finish with a prayer, see if you can encourage the kids to pray too. It might be you give them a line "Dear God thank you for...." and they fill in the gap.
We've given you three ideas below of different ways to do a Bible time and different resouces to access. Whether you prefer something online, a physical book or an activity that is good for fidgety hands. It's not an exhaustive list, but hopefully there is something for each family.
Here's our email address if you'd like further help
Idea 1 - Online Videos and Podcasts
Faith in Kids is a great organisation aimed at encouraging families and children's leaders at church. They are broadcasting a live family Bible time at 8.30am every day on either Facebook or YouTube. You can watch live or catch up later. The Atallah family are enjoying this resource.
Idea 2 - Books
If you would prefer to use a book for your Bible time, then either 10ofThose.com or the Good Book Company are great places to start, if you'd like some recommendations or ideas then read on!
You could start just by reading a kids Bible story book and then asking "what did we learn about God through this story? How might knowing that about God change how we live?"
Why not have a two story rule at bedtime with the kids - they get to pick a fictional book and then they have a Bible story and prayer. Not many children will turn down the option of an extra bedtime story :-).
"The Jesus Storybook Bible" by Sally Lloyd-Jones is great for under 10s, we use this sometimes in Sunday School and Messy Church. Available from both bookstores above.
"The Beginner's Bible" along with the "Beginning with God" series of daily readings work together nicely and are good from pre-school and beyond. Come with the added bonus of stickers and have been much enjoyed by the Atallah family. Available from both bookstores above.
There are books for daily Bible times (or as frequently as you like). Here are some you might like to look at.
"Old Story New" by Marty Machowski - Ten-Minute Devotions in the New Testament, available from both of the above bookstores.
"Long Story Short" - by Marty Machowski - Ten-Minute Devotions in the Old Testament helping you see how the stories link to the New Testament, available from both of the above bookstores.
Awesome Cutlery (Christian kids musical band) have produced books of family devotions that work alongside their music albums. Available from 10ofThose.com.
Table Talk can work well as the children get older and can do more for themselves. There are parallel series called "XTB" for 7-10 year olds that can be done as stand alone books by your children or alongside the Table Talk resources you do as a family. Available from both bookstores.
"Discover" is a series for 11-13 year olds and "Engage" is for 15-18 year olds, so if you have pre-teens and teens that would like to do their own studies, these are a great place to start. Available from both bookstores.
Idea 3 - Activity Sheet Style Sessions
The Bible Chat Mat is a free fun set of 12 studies that give you everything on one A4 sheet of paper. Print off as many copies as you need, then read the Bible passage together and discuss the simple questions on the sheet as you colour and doodle.
A great idea for kids that love to be doing something whilst they learn. The website says more will be added, so keep checking back if you've got through all 12 and need more!