Youthworks: How to include God’s Word in your home routine right now

With so much time now spent at home, what are some of the ways we can get the Bible into our routine? Jenn Phillips on the Youthworks website gives us some creative ideas for how we can get the Bible open at home and get in touch with others at the same time. Why not try some and show us how you get on?

This article was written for the Youthworks website,
which can be accessed here.

You don’t have to dig too deeply into Google or scour too many parents’ groups on Facebook to see that there are a lot of people worried about how to fill the long days while their children are at home.

So desperate are people for guidance that one parent’s COVID-19 Daily Schedule for her children went viral, even being shared by the American Neuropsychology & Education Services for Children & Adolescents Group. This same group posted other tips for parents including use screens wisely (whoops, already failed there!), move your body and get outside for fresh air.

As Christians, there is a lot we can take from these lists and providing routine in uncertain times will certainly be helpful for our children’s physical, emotional and educational wellbeing. But one dimension is missing: how can we care for our children’s spiritual wellbeing in a time like this? If we were to make a schedule to fill our days, what are some ways we can be helping our children dwell on God’s word?

Here are a few suggestions:

1. Bible Reading

I’ve been trying to encourage my 8-year-old to read more but it’s an ongoing battle. As a child I would gleefully spend hours in my bedroom reading but my son is different. I’ve had to resort to bribery, promising him 50 cents every time he reads two chapters in a book in one sitting.

While I’ve been worried about my son’s reading habits, I haven’t had the same concern for his Bible reading habits because my husband and I have read the God’s Word to him every night before bed since he was three months old. But now’s the time where I want him to develop habits for life. So, for 10 minutes after breakfast, I’m going to start encouraging him to sit and read some of the gospel of Mark.

For my younger son who can’t yet read, this is a little bit harder. The Bible for Kids’ app is a helpful one as it tells the story, has interactive images that animate when he touches them and has a little activity at the end.

2. Music and Dance

One way I’ve been trying to keep my boys active is to have daily dance parties in our lounge room. They’re huge fans of the game Just Dance – so much so that I now know the lyrics of “What Does the Fox Say?” and “Old Town Road” by heart.

So, in addition to Just Dance, we’re going to try to have a ‘Colin Buchanan Dance Party’ (where we dance to Colin’s music, not try to dance like Colin!). If you don’t own any of Colin’s DVDs, his songs are available via digital platforms, I’d suggest starting with upbeat ones like “10, 9, 8 God is great,” “Jesus Rocks the World” and “God Rock” which is a favourite with my boys.

You can even record some of these dance parties (or maybe choreograph some actions) and send them to your loved ones who you haven’t seen in a while due to social distancing restrictions.

3. Drama and Puppets

The other day, out of nowhere, my children decided to make their own popsicle stick puppets and act out a show for me. Of course, as I have two boys the plot was centered around their favorite characters from Captain Underpants and included frequent scatological references!

This week, I’m keen to channel their love of craft and puppet shows towards more edifying content. Our church is looking at the book of Daniel this term, and we’re in the process of making a Daniel in the lion’s den collection of puppets so that they can act out the story.

There are so many biblical stories that can be easily retold in puppet form, all you need is paper, some glue and some popsicle sticks (if your local stores are all out of craft supplies, you can always buy a packet of ice-blocks to ensure a steady supply!)

Like the dancing example above, Grandparents and others would love to see your children in action, so take the opportunity to film their shows and share the results!

4. Footpath Chalk Art

As I go on my regular walks around my neighbourhood, I’ve noticed several streets where the local children have decorated the footpath with encouraging messages for passers-by. I’ve seen lots of rainbows, smiley faces and encouraging slogans like ‘look on the bright side’ and ‘we’re all in this together’. In all my walks I haven’t yet seen a Bible verse, but wouldn’t it be lovely if our Facebook walls and Instagram feeds started to be flooded with chalk art bible verses that our children have been drawing!

5. Letters and Care Packages

The other day, I got a strange text from my brother. Usually we communicate by sharing political memes but this time he wanted to know my address. Of course, he knows where I live but in the 8 years I’ve lived in my house, he’s never once sent me anything!s.

I wonder how many people you could say the same for?

In his kind generosity, it turns out he’d decided to order some Easter Show Bags to be delivered to our house for my boys. It was such a lovely gesture!

Everyone loves getting something in the mail – perhaps now more than ever. Who are the people in your life that you could encourage your children to be writing letters to? Grandparents? Aunts and Uncles? Cousins? Friends? Kids’ Church leaders? And what about their school teachers? Even if these people aren’t followers of Jesus, I’m sure they’d still be touched to receive a colouring of a Bible verse in addition to the letter.

If appropriate, maybe you could deliver a care-package as well? Maybe a box of household basics (don’t forget the toilet paper!) with a note or a card to say you’re thinking about them. One suggestion is to make sure you wipe down the packages with antibacterial wipes, particularly if the person you’re delivering to is elderly or vulnerable.

I hope you feel inspired to try some of these ideas at home to care for your children’s spiritual wellbeing during this time of social isolation. If you have any great ideas please let me know, I’d love to share them with our community!

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