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Family Worship with Little Ones

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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!

How to Have Family Worship with Little Ones

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?

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A: Dear Laura, I’m so glad you have a desire to share in worship with your little one 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.

First of all, don’t expect your son to want to sit still for a lengthy period of time – which you probably already realize. 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!

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!

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.

Here are a few of my favorites:

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.

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:

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:

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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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