The Bible is our daily bread, the living Word of God. We know it to be life-changing, but have you ever wondered how to best read the Bible with your child at 2 years of age, or 8, or 15? Every Monday in July our contributors are going to share some tips and resources with you on reading the Bible with your children from 0-15+ years of age! Please join us for Bible Reading Through the Ages. I know you and your families will be blessed!
If you’ve been around a child between newborn to 3 yrs. old, you know the words that characterize this age group: curious, short attention spans, unable to sit still, energetic, noisy, playful, inquisitive. If you tend to think of the Bible as dry, boring, academic, serious, and complicated, then reading the Bible with your infant or toddler may seem like a practice in futility. However, if you know God’s word to be a vibrant, adventurous, humorous, inspired story of God’s redemptive love…well, then you will find reading the Bible to your little one to be a life-transforming investment for both you as the parent, and your children.
The operative word in reading the Bible to the infant to toddler age group is not understanding; it’s IMPRESSION. What impression do we aim to leave with our littlest littles?
-that the Bible is the truth
-that the Bible is exciting
-that the Bible teaches us the character of God
-that the Bible is the manual for life
-that the Bible is more than a story
-that the Bible is powerful
-that the Bible is our authority
Impression is a parent’s opportunity, understanding is the Spirit’s responsibility.
We have five sons. The oldest is 10 and the youngest is 13 months. We have had at least one boy in the 0-3 age group every year for the last 10 years. It is our family’s priority to worship and read the Bible together, so we have had to get creative about ways to engage the littlest ones.
Here are some ways we engage our 0-3 yr. olds with the Bible:
- Let them handle a Bible, to hold it in their hands while they listen.
- Have the older children read to the younger ones.
- Encourage your toddlers to sit with you, or be physically close when you read or listen, reminding them that the Word of God is about relationship, not academics.
- Read narrative stories based on Scripture (like The Jesus Storybook Bible, Read-Aloud Edition: Every Story Whispers His Name) to them, but never underestimate how God can use faithful exposure to the whole counsel of God’s Word.
- Listen to the audio Bible recordings at mealtime or snacktime, and make it part of the family culture and routine.
- Sing scripture verses set to music.
Music, dramatic readings, and repetition are wonderful ways to engage a toddler. Here are some resources our family enjoys using with the littlest ones (and the older ones too!):
- Kidz Audio Biblestick, (3 yr. olds can use this during the early morning devotional time and simply listen quietly.) This dramatic recording of the New Testament includes songs for children as well.
- Bible.is app, dramatic reading for the whole family in several translations, played from your phone. This is a fantastic resource for the entire family!
- Hide Em in Your Heart Vol 1 & 2 (An oldie, but goodie…this Steve Green recording sets scriptures to music for kids to memorize and hide in their hearts.)
These are just a few of tips we have found helpful for engaging little ones with the Word of God. Our little ones are never too young to be exposed to the truth and transforming power of the Bible. Trust Him to plant the seed of that impression, and to grow it into new life.
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