How can we keep our children engaged in the lessons they hear during church services and Bible classes? Over the years our family has chosen to stick together during these times rather than split everyone up into age-segregated classes. That means we sometimes have to get creative in helping our younger children focus and make sense of what they are hearing.
The best way to teach our children good habits is to model them, allowing them to see us practicing those good habits ourselves. Sitting still and listening during a church service is one of those habits they can learn, especially when we provide opportunity and tools to help them.
A child’s attention span (and sometimes an adult’s!) is short. Asking them to sit still for lengthy periods of time takes practice, and patience. It’s impossible! Or is it? Children pick up an amazing amount of information just by being within earshot.
Here is a list of tricks and ideas we’ve used over the years to teach our children to listen and learn during sermons and Bible lessons:
- Teach them to take notes or draw pictures that illustrate the words and stories they are hearing. Consider taking notes yourself, it’ll give you a place to start as you discuss the Sunday morning sermon later in the day or week.
- Keep a special bag for Sunday packed with a notebook or folder filled writing/drawing paper and a pencil or crayon. Using blank pages (or a form like this printable for younger children or this one for older) instead of busy pictures and activity pages helps keep distractions to a minimum and helps keep their focus on the words being spoken.
- List out familiar words from scripture, or from the verses used in the day’s lesson and have them copy. Even if they cannot read yet, they may be able to copy the letters and will soon begin recognizing key words like Jesus, God, love, etc.
- Illustrate the lesson with stick figures and other drawings. (I share more about this in my Hidden Art of Homemaking series)
- Discuss what was shared on the way home or at the dinner table.
- Share something you learned yourself. It helps them to know that Mom and Dad don’t already know everything there is to know and that learning new things is possible at any age.
- Practice sitting quietly at home, a few minutes at a time. Choose a time each day to have your child(ren) sit on the couch for 5 minutes, play a song or an audio book. Set the timer and have them sit until it beeps. Add a minute or two to the practice session every few days and soon they’ll be sitting for a more extended period of time. Make it pleasant and consistent, and they’ll look forward to “Quiet Time” or “Church Time” or “Sitting Time” Whatever you want to call it.
I’m sharing these ideas today at In All You Do as a part of Annette’s second annual 30 Days of Bible series. While you are there, you might want to sign up to receive the printable I created to help your children take notes (it’s free!)
Annette has also put together four terrific giveaways for you. Enter any or all of them – I see some really great resources! Click on the image above or go HERE to enter! (Giveaway will be open until the end of June.)