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Can you still have family Bible time if you have spirited kids? Absolutely! Here are 7 ways to engage with your kids, even if you’re not sitting in the living room quietly with open Bibles.
“Mama, you know that part in The Sound of Music when the nuns said they sinned? I think God was actually happy.”
It was a startling statement, but an amazing observation nonetheless.
If you’ve not seen The Sound of Music, I won’t shame you. It was actually my first time watching it.
Near the end of the movie, the von Trapp family hides inside a convent to escape the Nazis. While the Nazis were distracted searching inside the convent, a couple of nuns snuck outside to disable their car. The von Trapp family was discovered but, not giving up easily, sprinted out of the convent toward their car with their seven kids in tow, and rushed for freedom in the Swiss Alps.
The Nazis rush to their own car as fast as they can, trying to catch the von Trapps. But their car struggles and the scene cuts to those same nuns, “Reverend Mother, we have sinned,” revealing the removed car parts that allowed the von Trapp family to escape.
It wasn’t until a quiet minivan ride, an hour after watching this scene, when my girl interjected her thoughts about what the nuns did.
That’s generally how family Bible time works in our home.
We had a mental picture of what it should look like…
What Does Family Bible Time Really Look Like?
It doesn’t look like (nor has it ever looked like) my husband and I sitting together with our children wide-eyed with bated breath, anticipating every word we say.
My guess? It probably doesn’t look like that in your house either.
And that can be frustrating at times.
When you have spirited and energetic wiggle worms, it seems impossible to get them to sit down and listen to any Bible stories, much less discuss the stories.
God knows what Bible time looks like in most families, too. And that’s so encouraging to this weary mama just trying her best to raise them up in the way they should go.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.Deuteronomy 6:5-7, NIV
Family Bible Time Isn’t The Whole Story
Teaching your kids about Jesus isn’t just about family Bible time, mama.
It’s about taking opportunities in daily life to impress God’s commandments upon them – and praying for God to take care of the rest. (read more on family discipleship here)
But what does that look like today?
7 Ways To Talk About the Bible With Your Busy Kids
- Watching movies together – Not all entertainment needs to be Christ-centered but all entertainment can show some good and bad and spark discussion about God’s love and will.
- Driving around town with no radio on – GASP! I know this probably seems crazy. My teenagers think it’s crazy that I can drive with nothing on. When you’re listening to only your thoughts, you’ll be surprised at the kind of things your kids will start saying out loud.
- Hiking your favorite trail – Getting out in nature with no distractions will produce a similar effect to driving around with no radio. Something about enjoying the outdoors provides for great discussions as well.
- Answering ALL the questions – Why does it always seem like our kids become philosophers as soon as the lights go out? Most likely because they’re stalling bedtime. But everything else around them is beginning to settle down, giving them the opportunity to ask the things that have been rolling around in their little minds.
- Eating at the dinner table – The dinner table is a great place for family conversations. Ask questions. Specific questions to get the conversation rolling and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable yourself (appropriate for your children and their ages, of course). Vulnerability begets vulnerability.
- Putting puzzles together – Puzzles are great “quiet time” activities that allow for conversation, too. If you’re a coloring book kind of mom, that’s also a great alternative.
- Throwing the baseball in the yard – My husband and I often talk about how boys tend to relate over physical activities. And I’ve noticed that as well. My teenage son and I have great conversations when we do things together like this. And it doesn’t have to be just throwing a baseball. Football, soccer, frisbee, or whatever you enjoy would work.
Did you see a theme?
Have you noticed times when your kids are really open and ready to listen to what God wants to say?
It’s not in the hustle and bustle where these wonderful conversations happen. Sitting back and waiting for your children to ask you something they’ve probably been pondering for the last hour or even days is where it happens.
I smiled big when I heard my little girl’s observation. It was the perfect time to tell her about two midwives, Shiphrah and Puah, who also played a part in defying worldly authority for the sake of doing God’s will.
As I finished describing how the Pharaoh commanded them to kill all the newborn Hebrew boys but they worshipped God and did what they felt was right in the eyes of the Lord, I heard her confidence grow.
“Yeah. I think I’m right, Mom. I think those nuns did the right thing by messing up the Nazis’ car.”
And that’s the goal, my friends. By allowing opportunities to naturally arise and answering questions as they come up, you create a family Bible time where your kids are anxious to learn and do God’s will.
Even if they’re a spirited kid.
For more creative ways to have family time, check out this article on 5 Ways To Make Time For Bible Study When You’re Busy.