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How to Have Family Worship with Little Ones

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Family worship is a powerful way to teach young children all about Jesus and build strong family bonds. But as with most things, incorporating toddlers into the routine can present unique challenges. Today I’m sharing some of my best ideas about how to have family worship with toddlers on a daily basis, including age-appropriate activities and strategies to engage even the littlest family members.

Whether you’re new to family worship or looking to enhance your current practice, these tips will help you create a meaningful and enjoyable experience for your entire family.

Be sure to download my simple family worship planner at the bottom of the post!

How to Have Family Worship with Your Little Ones @ AVirtuousWoman.org

I received the following question on my post, The Blessings of Family Worship, and thought it was such a great question that I should share my answer with all of you!

Originally published April 2017. Updated March 2023.

How to Have Family Worship with Toddlers

Q: This sounds so beautiful and what I hope for my family. But I am just not sure how to do family worship right now. My son is only 1 1/2 and only says 5 words. I’m not sure how to engage him in this. What tips do you have for doing family worship with really little kids?

A: Dear Laura, I’m so glad you have a desire to share in family worship with your toddler as a family. You know, babies and toddlers understand so much more than they are able to express and it’s never too early to begin teaching your little one about Jesus, the wonders of creation, and how much their Heavenly Father loves them.

I’m excited to share a few practical ways and some of my favorite family worship ideas so that you can involve your toddlers – and even older toddlers and school-age kids in family worship. No matter the ages of your children, it’s never too early to teach your little ones about the Christian life and most importantly, the gospel.

You will want to choose a regular family worship time that works for your family’s schedule. Consistency can help your toddler understand what to expect and create a sense of structure and stability in their day. Whether it’s around the breakfast table or in the evenings as part of your bedtime routine, choose a devotional time that works for your family.

Length of Time for Family Worship with Toddlers

First of all, don’t expect your son to want to sit still for a lengthy period of time – which you probably already realize and I know that sometimes that cause all kinds of frustrations. But, that doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy the time with you, however short. And, with consistency you’ll soon see your son looking forward to that time each night and I expect his behavior duing worship time will get better and better over time!

I would suggest that you say the same thing before worship. Something like, “It’s time for worship!” in a sing song voice with lots of enthusiasm.

Then you can sing a few songs. Once your child has a few favorite songs, you can even ask him which song he’d like to sing or which one he’d like to sing first. It doesn’t really matter if he can’t say all of the words – he’s learning!

Family Worship With Toddlers: Video

Action Songs for Toddlers during Worship

Action songs {songs with hand motions or movement} are a lot fun for little ones and old familiar tunes from your childhood are also great. If you don’t know very many children’s songs, you can learn them – watch some YouTube videos!

And it never hurts to begin introducing traditional hymns into your family worship time, too. Children learn by repetition and action songs with a great rhythm can help your toddler remember what he’s learning.

Here are a few simple ideas:

You might also enjoy this series of Scripture Lullabies called, Hidden in My Heart (A Lullaby Journey Through Scripture). These could be enjoyed before bed or even as your child is falling asleep. For years I played music or Bible Story CDs for my children at bedtime.

Toddler Devotional Books for Family Worship

Next, you’ll want to use a devotional book that is appropriate for your child’s age. Here are a few books you might find enjoyable:

Whenever you read a short Bible story or devotional lessons be sure to engage your toddler by asking a few simple questions as you read or at the end of your storytime.

Don’t forget that you can teach your son all about God in your everyday routines, too! I always loved talking with my little ones about heaven, creation, and Jesus.

We would talk about all the different wonderful things we wanted to do when we got to heaven – like swim with the dolphins and ride elephants and play with a tiger! Or about how wonderful the food will taste in heaven.

When you see a rainbow talk about Noah and the Ark and how God made a covenant with the rainbow never to flood the earth again.

Finally, end your family worship time with prayer. It’s fun to get on the floor, kneel down, and show your son how to fold his hands and close his eyes so that you can “talk to Jesus.”

Family worship is a really special way to end {or begin} the day. I hope these suggestions help you get started.

For more ideas you might like to read:

Bible Verses for Toddlers to Memorize

Memorizing Bible verses is an excellent way to instill the values of faith in young children, including toddlers. Even very young children are capable of memorizing simple scriptures that can help them build a foundation of faith and trust in God.

By teaching toddlers to memorize Bible verses, we can help them develop a deeper understanding of God’s love, character, and plan for their lives. Instead of teaching your little one an entire passage of scripture, you want to keep the verses short and even truncate them if necessary.

Here are a few Bible verses for toddlers to get your started:

  1. “God is love.” – 1 John 4:8b
  2. “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” – Psalm 139:14a
  3. “Be kind to one another.” – Ephesians 4:32a
  4. “Jesus loves me, this I know.” – Adaptation of John 3:16 and 1 John 4:9
  5. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” – Proverbs 3:5a

You can find more scriptures for toddlers to memorize here.

Action Steps to Take Today

  1. Pray and ask God to guide you in creating a meaningful family worship experience for your toddler. Pray for wisdom and patience as you navigate the challenges of incorporating young children into your worship routine.
  2. Set aside time to plan your family worship sessions. Think about the activities you want to do, the songs you want to sing, and the stories you want to read.
  3. Download my free printable family worship planner below, if desired.
  4. Choose a consistent time for family devotions that works for your family’s schedule, providing structure and stability for your toddler.

Free Printable Family Worship Planner

Family Worship with Toddlers @ AVirtuousWoman.org

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  1. I always liked to open the Bible and read at least a verse or two of Scripture. There is an authority that reading from the Bible has that devotional books do not. Never underestimate the child's ability to grasp the Word. The Holy Spirit can work in even a young child's life. Some ideas might be to read the creation account a few verses at a time (I prefer to try not to say story when referring to Scripture so it isn't equated to pretend story books). Each day lends itself to discussion and pictures. Reading a few verses at a time from some accounts of the life of Jesus that children will readily relate to like his birth and blessing the children, or the beatitudes. I always preferred not to edit or abridge the Word. The account of David and Goliath is a bit gory as he cuts off Goliaths head and holds it up - but I have met even adults that are shocked David did that - and it leads them to question what they learned and who God is. I want my children to know I never lied by hiding things from them. So be prepared ahead of time to deal with these brutal passages - but usually I only deal with those details if the child asks questions about them. We had great times as a family during devotional time. My question is how do you continue when you have older teens and young adults still at home with crazy work and school schedules? I do miss our times together over the Word.
    1. Great tips, Patti! With my older kids we've been choosing one book of the Bible at a time to read and take turns reading passages and then have discussion - it's a great time and I SO enjoy it! It is hard sometimes - I've had my kids ask me why God allowed certain things to happen and my daughter Emily points out a lot of disturbing passages she comes across as she reads on her own and we'll talk about it. Sometimes I don't have an answer. For instance a couple of days ago she asked me why the Bible said a male servant was to be released after 7 years but a female slave was a servant for life. HARD! Also, she asked me one about why a man had to marry a girl if he raped her - as that seems cruel to the young woman... There's a lot in the Old Testament that can be hard to understand. But it's good for kids to see sometimes we don't have all of the answers... but we trust anyway. It is a lot harder these days to find time every day/ night for worship. Our schedules are crazy and it seems like everyone has different things going on. Sabbath is a time we always try to connect with Bible time and games, but even then, depending on the how busy or long the day it can be hard!

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