Recommended at age 5+
Establish the practice of connecting as a family while passing spiritual truths to your child.
When your children range in age from around preschool to early elementary, it might be a great time to begin including “Family Time” in your monthly schedule, in order to foster family fun, communication, and faith formation. Creating a consistent routine of intentional moments will help your family deepen relationships and open the door for faith discussions.
For some families this might be a particular night of the week after dinner. For another family it might be after Saturday morning breakfast. Decide what works for your unique schedule and then protect that time. You might need to say “no” to some good things to make Family Time a priority. We suggest scheduling something at least twice per month. Setting and keeping a regular schedule will show commitment and value to all involved.
Plan for success by finding resources to help make your Family Time a great experience. We have listed several resources to help you get started. As your child gets older, ask them if there are specific topics they would like to make a part of your time together and let them help plan your activities. Remember, the Bible is the most important resource God has given us to instill truth in the hearts and minds of our children.
Children are more likely to embrace your beliefs and values if they enjoy time with you. That’s why Family Time is a great context for effective faith formation. Be creative by acting out scripture together, doing crafts or object lessons that reinforce spiritual themes. Avoid becoming overly serious, rigid or stressed. It’s okay for kids to be silly and it’s important to fill your home with laughter.
- Pick a Bible verse or passage that you want to memorize and say together. Use fun games to learn the verse.
- Discuss a movie that is age appropriate for your child. Make some popcorn and watch the film together. Afterwards have a “faith talk” about the choices of characters and other aspects of the story that catch your attention. Check out movienightchat.com for movie suggestions, and discussion guides.
- Share something God has been or is teaching you.
- Cook a meal together and use the time for sharing and talking.
- Pick a family theme song, or create a playlist of music for your family night.
- Take time to ask each member of the family to share his or her “high” and “low” of the day.
- Go on a family walk and spend the time praying for each other, neighbors or other people.
- Capture family prayer requests using a prayer chart or on a refrigerator white board.
- Create impromptu “God-moments” by taking advantage of unplanned and unscheduled opportunities to discuss your faith in the daily routine of life.
The Very Best, Hands-On, Kinda Dangerous Family Devotions by Tim Shoemaker
Family Night Tool Chest series
Glow-in-the-Dark Fish by B. J. Reinhard
Our Place in Space by B. J. Reinhard
Prepare Him Room: Celebrating the Birth of Jesus Family Devotional by Marty Machowski
Mission Accomplished: A Two-Week Family Easter Devotional by Scott James
Also look for kid-favorite advent and Easter adventure stories by Arnold Ytreeide