Kids have short attention spans
How can we get kids to read the bible when they have such short attention spans? Who are we kidding, these days adults have short attention spans too. I happen to be one of them. I’m also like many kids five decades younger than I am in that I get very easily distracted. I did foster care for 12 years and had dozens of kiddos in my home during those years. So I am well aware that it is not easy to get them interested in God’s Word. Kids transition quickly from one activity to another so combining bible reading with an activity is a great help. It is not always easy to come up with enough activities to keep them interested, and it’s time-consuming.
It amazes me that in ancient times when even scrolls were scarce Jewish children learned the writings of Moses before they were old enough to go to school. When I read through scripture and see how much was taught I am amazed that with so little these parents taught their children so much. Not only did they teach it to them, but they also somehow taught them how vitally important it was to be careful to follow it in their daily lives. I mean think about it, Daniel and his friends were only teenagers when taken captive in Babylon. They were able to stand firm in their faith against everything the wicked kingdom had to offer them. They even faced what would seem like certain death for the beliefs their parents had taught them. Can you picture their parents getting out a scroll and saying “how am I going to get the kids to read the scriptures?” No pictures, just words, yet they did it. Today we think how boring.
Addicted to entertainment – we must entertain
Kids are so used to being entertained by television, radio, and video. These days we all carry it with us everywhere we go. It’s a good idea to get our kids into reading as much as possible so they don’t lose their imaginations. They need to realize that in a book they can picture things in their heads to be how they think it would look. Bible Coloring books make it nice for them to make things the colors they prefer. Another great alternative are Action Bibles . Action bibles are very colorful and similar to comic books, which are every eye-catching. It’s easier to get kids to read the bible when it looks like a comic book.
Alternatives for older kids
As our kids get older coloring books aren’t as interesting anymore. They are developing their personalities and various interests. This is when a journaling bible can really be nice. Journaling Bibles have on average a two-inch lined margin on every page. This wide margin leaves plenty of room for their imaginations to take what they’ve read on the page and put it into a drawing, ink stamps, poems, calligraphy, a diary, record their prayers, create their own commentary, or they can use stickers and doodle whatever they think about. There are some that come with pre-stamped images in the margins that can be colored. Journaling Bibles may just be a great way to get kids to read the bible and develop creative skills at the same time. A bible that they can really make their own. A way to get them into the Word and allow them to show off their own unique style. As they get older they’ll look back on the ones they did when they were younger and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if they become treasured keepsakes. When they get older they can switch over to Adult Bible Coloring books. Not a bad idea for parents and kids to read and color or craft together. They make good birthday gifts too.
What if your child just is not a reader
You can’t get kids to read the bible if they are not meant to be readers. We are told to bring up our children in the way each of them should go. We desire all of them to be on the path toward a lifestyle that loves and obeys God, but then there are individual paths that each child is gifted specifically for. Some kids just struggle with reading and it frustrates them. If you have a child like this and try to force reading on them it will be a fight. Read to them, try to make it as interesting as you can. Ask them questions about what you read. If you’ve been around kids much it doesn’t take too long to realize that they are listening when you don’t even think they’re paying the slightest bit of attention at all. For this child, I would suggest Audio Bibles for kids playing in the background as they play. Another favorite of many kids for decades has been the Adventures In Odyssey for kids. My kids loved them when they were small.
Be the example
When I was a kid there were times my mother would say “Do as I say, not as I do”. She had very good intentions, but a hard life. This really does not work out well. Kids need to see parents doing what they want their children to imitate. You need to show them that reading and knowing God’s word is important. Always pray before you begin to read, even if you are reading to them. Ask God to show you what he wants you to know from his word. If you learn something new from a passage you’ve read before tell your children, show it to them. Let them know that it is a book that can be read many times because you will see something in a new way often. For the first 16 years of my life, I did not have a Christian home. I would often stay at my grandmother’s house on the weekends and for a week or two in the summer. She instilled so much into me in the time I was there. She did it seemingly without trying. She would bring up bible stories and how awesome God was in the smallest of everyday things that we did. She was quick to pray if she thought she had done or said something wrong and she read her bible faithfully every day. She was my example of an uncompromising Christian woman who lived what she believed. We all live what we believe whether we realize it or not. I hope these suggestions have been helpful. If you find something that works for you share in the comments below. We should always give testimonies and share our blessings with others. I pray you find ways to get your kids into reading the bible on a regular basis. Make it a daily habit. Keep it as fun as you can. Blessings, Tina
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