Help Your Kids Develop the Habit of Time with God

The most valuable life skill we can give our children is the habit of spending time with God. Here are practical tips for all ages.

Developing the habit of spending time with God is the most valuable life skill we can provide for our kids. There’s an immediacy to life today, as we’re more connected with current events than ever before.

There was a time when parents were able to shield kids from the worst news, but now that’s almost impossible. Issues that adults struggle to process are the same ones our kids are dealing with. Phrases like active shooter and pandemic are commonplace and immediately understood by everyone from kindergarten to retirement.

How do we as parents help our kids find peace in a world we can’t even begin to understand?

We do it by teaching them to turn to the one constant, the one island of true peace in a sea of chaos. When we can’t be there for them—and when we can—we must help them learn that God is the first place to turn when life is hard.

Part of that learning process is meeting with God regularly. When we show them the joy found in having a regular time with God we’re enabling them to grow their relationship with Him.

Tips to Teach Kids the Habit of Time with God

The first thing we must understand is the fact that our kids watch how we live out our faith. They have a front-row seat to the way we prioritize spending time with God. And the way we treat God will influence how our kids treat Him.

Practical Tips for Grade-School Kids

1. Model the behavior—where they can see it.

It’s easy to get into the habit of having our time with God before the kids get up or after they go to bed. In truth, that’s often a necessity. But we must remember we are an example for our kids. If we want them to develop the discipline of meeting with God regularly, we must show them what that looks like in our lives. This doesn’t mean they have to do it just as we do, but they should see that it’s important to us.

Here are some ways to leave breadcrumbs that show our priorities:

2. Provide an age-appropriate Bible.

Developing a regular time with God should involve reading His word. Don’t make the mistake of only giving them material about the Bible, like devotionals or Sunday School papers. Teach them the value of going to the source and reading God’s word for themselves. Other resources are valuable, but we must all learn to test what’s said about the Bible by reading it first.

3. Find a time that works for them.

God created us all differently. Some of us are morning people and some are night owls. We need to give kids the opportunity to find a regular time to meet with God that fits who He designed them to be.

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Raising Your Kids to Defend Their Faith

“Raising Your Kids to Defend Their Faith” is a series of five short videos that'll help get you started in teaching your kids the fundamentals of Christianity, so they can understand it, explain it, and defend it.

4. Let them choose a notebook and pens.

Having something set apart for our time with God makes it special. Allowing your child to pick out the tools for this time helps them make it their own. Having special tools reinforces the importance of this habit.

5. Equip them with a blueprint.

This is the place in the process to spend some time talking about the different ways to interact with God. We don’t want to burden our kids with expectations they can’t live up to. Find out how they’d like to approach their daily time with God. Come up with a plan together. For those who meet with God in the evenings, I’ve found the G.L.A.D. method of journaling a good starting point.

  • G: Something I’m grateful for
  • L: Something I’ve learned
  • A: Something I’ve accomplished
  • D: Something that delighted me

6. Build in rewards.

We all want to know we’re doing something right. It’s important to help our kids set goals and then reward them when they’re reached.

While it’s important to help our grade-school kids develop the habit of regular time with God, preschoolers aren’t too young to begin the process.

Practical Tips for Pre-School Kids

1. Model the behavior.

Just as we would with older kids, we must make sure younger children see us make time alone with God a priority.

2. Find a time to make Bible reading a habit.

This may be something you and your child can end the day with, or something you do consistently in the morning with them. The time is much less important than the consistency.

3. Pray for and with your child during that Bible reading time.

Taking part in prayer with our children gives them confidence to talk to God when we’re not there.

4. Discuss questions and point out how God is active in your life and the life of your child.

By facilitating discussions about God we’re opening their eyes to the way God is at work around them. Don’t hesitate to ask hard questions you don’t know the answer to. Learning together is a vital part of the process.

Final Thoughts on Time with God

By giving our children the discipline of meeting with God regularly, we are equipping them for life. No matter what they face, they’ll be safe and secure in the knowledge that they are never alone.

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