I posted this some time ago, but to be honest, I need to review myself. Over the last six months, my children and I have not been consistent with our morning quiets times and I want to remedy that this week. With Anne starting preschool at the end of the month, I'm thinking we need to begin getting some routine going (even though things are crazy with house showings, selling the house, etc.) Our time in the morning might be one of the few things in the day that can remain consistent during this busy time.
So this is my quiet-time-for-kids-tutorial, revisited from Sept. 2009:
Tutorial: Quiet Time for Kids
How do you plan a quiet time/Bible time for you kids? It might be easier than you think and you probably already have almost everything you need.
Start by collecting several Bible story books that you already own. We keep all of ours in a box near the dining room. Each morning, we pick a couple of books to read from. Sometimes when Anne gets up while I am still doing my quiet time, I'll say, "Go and pick out a Bible study book from the box." She'll read to herself while I finish my prayer/Bible time. Other times we do it while the kids eat breakfast. I read a couple of books to them.
I can't remember how old Anne was, but one day while I was doing my Beth Moore Bible study, she said, "I want to do MY Bible study." Now, if you've done a Beth Moore study, you know that each day you use a workbook where you have to look up verses, read and fill answers to questions. So Anne saw me writing in a book. That's what Anne wanted to do, so I quickly grabbed a coloring book that had pictures of Bible stories and her crayons. Now, we always keep a faith-based coloring book in the box. I love the one she is doing right now. It's by Eloise Wilkin who illustrated several old Golden Books. (One day I would love to collect all the vintage books Eloise has illustrated.)
Remember that you are trying to encourage quiet times in "little" ones, which means the quiet time should be "little" as well. We usually only color one page in her Bible study book and it's not everyday. That's the other key: variety. Some days we just read one book, some days two or three, some days we do a color page. It doesn't have to be the same thing every day and it's probably best if it isn't. Keep it interesting and you'll keep them interested. That's why we have a whole box full of books--so there is a lot to choose from.
Speaking of books, I'm going to share a few that we've been reading a lot lately. This series (pictured below) is called the "Let's Talk About" series. I believe you can find them used online. I've found all of mine at yard sales and thrift stores. They are topical books based on topics/truth we currently trying to teach Anne: sharing, being selfish, lying, whining. Although these books are not labeled as "Christian," I believe the truth and moral lessons given support what the Bible says. And you can always compliment the books by reading verse from the Bible that pertains to that topic.
One thing that I really like about this series is that each book really explains and defines the topic. I'm not sure about you, but I the first time I caught Anne in a lie, I really had to think, "How do I explain what truth is?" How do you tell a 3-year-old what a lie is? How is it different than telling an imaginative story that is fiction? The books addresses/defines each topic in a way that toddlers can understand and used scenarios that are relevant.
Another series that I've been picking up second-hand are the Alice in Bibleland series. I think these might be out of print, but you can get them used on Amazon. I love the rhyming text and, of course, the little blondie girl.
Big Truths for Little Kids was
suggested by mother-in-law, and I've got to say this is a staple of our
quiet times. We usually do this book at least three times a week.
Basically, you can use this book to help your children memorize
theological/biblical truth. It uses sets of questions, supplemented with
some stories to teach what are basically catechisms.
You'll be surprised how quickly they'll remember these. Anne has about 10 memorized:
Me: "Who made you?"
Anne: "God made me?"
Me: "What else did God make?"
Anne: "All things."
My favorite is when we come to the Trinity and she names the three entities of God:
"Father, Kid and Holy Spirit." (Yes, it's actually "Son," but she'll realize that soon enough, so I'm not gonna correct her!)
We don't set any goals or try to memorize a certain number. We just go through it and when she seems to have a new one completely memorized, we add a new one.
If you are interested in other books we like, check out the Mustard Seeds Bookshop. Whenever I find books we love, I always try to list them in the shop so others can benefit from "our research." Christian books for kids can be found under the Growing Your Child's Faith category. You can read more about my bookshop here.
But remember, if you're not sure of a book, or not ready to commit to buying, almost all of these books can be checked out from your library or requested from another library via your local branch. (Your taxes are paying for it, afterall...)
Now, I want to hear from you! What books do your kids love to read? Feel free to share any tips you have "little ones' little quiet times."