Saturday, February 23, 2013

Toddler Sized Devotions

Now that I have a 5 YEAR OLD son, (I just cannot believe it!) we have started having short little devotions around the breakfast table each morning.  Don't be too impressed, they take 5 minutes and really I do it for multiple reasons.  
  1. Biblical Foundation: I believe the younger you can talk to them about The Bible, God and Jesus, the better.  Deuteronomy 6: 6-7 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 
  2. OFFENSIVE Parenting: As the mother/father you know the anatomy of your family.  You know what your children are struggling with.  You can use this time to bring up issues that you want to have healthy dialog about when it is NOT in the heat of the moment.  IE: your child easily loosing their temper, not sharing, hitting, etc  Direct the conversation in the direction you think it needs to go, and explore why they are resorting to specific behavior by talking about it in a controlled environment.  I call this offensive parenting... Not "Offensive" by offending, but "Offensive" by playing the offense.  Strengthen your offensive approach to parenting so you don't have to always resort to defensive parenting: "parenting in response to a negative action". 
  3. Prepping them for School:  This is a great time to train your child to listen while you are talking, to take turns, and to know when to interject.  It is great practice for their patience  while a "lesson" is being given, and sets them up for success in school.  At times you might have to redirect them 3, 4, or 5 times, but finishing the devotion is the most important. <<<--- This is why I think it is best to choose a SHORT and SWEET devotion.  Nothing to long or in depth.  Start small, and feel out the dynamic of your family. 
Right now we use the very short, very direct, very cheap "30 Very Veggie Devos...".  I believe the price tag reads $4.99 and I bought it on sale.  So I didn't even spend $5 on our book.  And even though it is a "30" day devotional, we've been reading out of it for 3 months.  The kids have no clue, and I just haven't gone to get a new book yet, ha.    I love this devotional because each day has a scripture, devotional reading, 2-3 topical quotes and a short prayer.  Honestly it takes up less than 5 minutes to read through it.  

At the back of the book is a list of "memory verses" which we recently started implementing. 
Cheap and easy, what could be better?!?
How We "Do" Devos:

The kids eat breakfast at the table, and after everyone has their food we begin.  This is what works best for us:
  1. Read the devotion through.
  2. Child led discussion of the devotion. 
  3. Finish eating breakfast.
  4. When they are ready to leave the table they must recite their memory verse to be excused.  And, yes, my 2 year old can even do this!!  The memory verses have always been very short, it is not a chore.  
I usually write their memory verse on the chalkboard fridge in the kitchen.  This week I drew pics for them to remember.  Daxx and Zadie begged me to draw Dutch, and after stepping back and admiring my art work, he does look a little inappropriate, eh?   

My children have such big muscles. 
I just wanted to write this to encourage you to implement something this easy and short around your kitchen table.  It takes little (to NO) planning, but what a sweet precious time it is.  This is one way to "train" your child, by exposing them to the word and having active dialog about things that are eternally significant.

What do you DO? Let me know if anything has worked well for your family.

Thanks for reading.  :)

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