I wanted to share our family's routine for family devotions at night with you all, because this is something the Lord has placed on our hearts and we want to be faithful in it. With that being said, please don't take this in any way as us lifting ourselves up or trying to come across as super spiritual. Family devotions are not for everyone, and the last thing you want is guilt to motivate you to get in the Word as a family. If doing devotions together as a family IS something you desire to do, I know that having young children can at times make it seem futile and stressful. It's easy to wonder if it's even worth the effort when none of the kids can even read and barely speak in complete sentences. So my purpose in this post is to share what we have found works for us and perhaps give you some new ideas to try out.
What We Do
We usually work through Psalms or Proverbs. The chapters are generally a good length for little ones (except Psalm 119...have mercy! ha) When they do run longer, we may split them in half.
If we are doing Proverbs, we read the chapter that correlates to the date of the month. With Psalms we just read them in numerical order. Proverbs is a lot easier for us to keep up with, because if we miss a night or two, we can just start on the date. It's amazing how easily you can forget what you've read when you have children...our brains ain't what they used to be. (ha)
So we read a chapter, pray, and then sing two or more songs. Not only do our kids learn the songs of our faith during this time, but they also love singing and clapping and its a fun and lighthearted way to end the time. We don't want our kids to only see scripture and time with the Lord as a boring, serious thing. In His presence is FULLNESS of joy and we want to cultivate a love for that time and it be something we all look forward to!
How We Get Our Kids To Sit Still
Besides the obvious reasons for having family devotions, this is also a great time for your little ones to learn and practice being quiet and still. Although this can sometimes feel like trying to herd cats, I promise it gets better!
Our babies are 2, 1 and 4 months and I have already seen so much progress with our oldest! He usually sits quietly (or whispers strange things to himself...like we can't hear him ha) and it's no longer that big of an issue. Eli (our one year old) on the other hand is still in the learning phase. The first few minutes of devotion time are usually pretty loud these days.
What we do to teach them to sit is hold them in our laps, and hold their hands together and lay them on their laps (like refined gentlemen...not really ha). When they try to pull their hands free we lightly squeeze their hands and say "No, we have to sit still and listen." As soon as they obey, we loosen our grip but continue to keep our hands on top of theirs. Sometimes they immediately listen, and other times they scream or get very angry. Don't let this discourage you! If you are faithful in doing this, it won't be long before they just sit next to you mostly quiet and still.
We don't make them sit perfectly still like robots...they are children after all. But as long as they aren't being disruptive and are being obedient, that's all we care about.
We would love for our kids to be able to sit in the church service with us in the near future, so learning to sit during family devotions is a great first step!
Why We Do This
"You shall therefore impress these words of Mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up." (Deuteronomy 11:18-19)
"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; instead, bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." (Ephesians 6:4)
"It is the living who give thanks to You, as I do today; A father tells his sons about Your faithfulness." (Isaiah 38:19)
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I'd love to hear any ideas you have that work for your family! We are all learning and growing and all that matters to the Lord is that we LOVE Him! Be faithful, and give yourself and your little ones lots of grace!