7 Practical Tips for Daily Family Devotions

christian family stewardship christian parenting prayer and worship stewardship of family Apr 28, 2024
daily family devotions

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

Proverbs 22:6


Maybe you’ve always wanted to do daily family devotions, but you just don’t know where to start. Maybe you’ve tried a few different books or ideas, but nothing has really “stuck” yet. Or maybe you are consistent, but you’re just not sure that your family is getting anything out of the time. Daily devotions should not feel like a chore! Today, we are exploring 7 practical tips for making the most out of your daily family Bible devotions. As always, these tips come from years of our own trial and error as we have sought to create meaningful devotional times.


1. Family devotions should be age-appropriate.  

It can be challenging to find a good rhythm together in a way that meets every child’s needs. All your children are likely at different stages in their development and understanding. In our own journey, we have chosen studies that were either too basic or too advanced for our kids. What we found to work best was to err on the side of making sure that the material was challenging enough for our older children. From there, we could translate the lesson to our younger children in ways they could understand.  

When our youngest was preschool-aged, we would reinforce the main teaching with her in other ways or discuss it with her again later or throughout the week. Choosing a study that includes a lot of pictures is another way to keep younger children engaged.


2. Make family devotions a daily routine.

Find a time that works best for your family. For some, this may be first thing in the morning. For others, bedtime may be ideal. Our family has chosen to do our daily family devotions around the supper table. It is critical to find a time when everyone can be present, so keep both parents’ schedules in mind as well as kids’ activity schedules when you’re planning a time. Kids will notice if your devotions seem like they’re not a priority for both parents. Maintaining consistency also helps create expectations for the children.  

In our home, the devotional book is kept in the middle of our dining room table. This serves as a visual reminder to prioritize the study and provides a factor of convenience – we don’t have to get up to go find the book!


3. Consider keeping family devotions parent-led.

Parent-led devotions are another way to demonstrate that these times are important to the parents. Though it might seem like a good idea to have an older sibling read them, this can also become an obstacle to attention, especially if the reader is struggling through the words. It is vital to note that children can also understand at a higher reading level when they are read to by a parent.

At the end of the devotion, parents can ask age-appropriate questions or reflections, which help to reinforce the lesson and give the child personal application. Asking these questions will help you discover whether your children were truly paying attention, as well as whether the devotion was at the appropriate level for the children to understand.


4. Keep it short.

Family devotions should be kept to no more than 5-10 minutes. In our family, the time usually doesn’t exceed 5 minutes. Kids’ attention will fade quickly if it continues much past that. Over time, our children have learned to expect that length, so it keeps them from asking or wondering whether the time is almost done.

You don’t want the primary focus of your family devotional time to become a lesson in sitting still or being quiet. Though these disciplines should be maintained during the time, long devotionals can turn into a constant need to monitor behavior – a huge distraction from the message of your actual devotion.


5. Consider following church seasons and holidays.

Around the major holidays of the church calendar, such as Lent and Advent, our family tends to set aside our normal devotion book and focus on that season of the church year. This helps our children to see the Christian aspect of those holidays rather than just the secular message that they may see or hear in the world. It also helps the children to understand the meaning of these different holidays.

We also have an Advent wreath that we refer to regularly to help further teach and explain the meaning and importance of Advent. These family conversations can help strengthen some of the lessons the kids may be learning at church and in Sunday school.


6. Try to find topics that interest your children.

Family devotions should not be a chore! Start with your children’s natural interests and choose a devotional they can get excited about. Our son, Cole, has a strong interest in science. We were able to find a science-themed devotional book that he and the other kids thoroughly enjoyed!

If the kids have some say in the topic of the devotional times, it gives them a bit of ownership. These times should be enjoyable. Don’t be afraid to stop using a book if it doesn’t seem to be clicking with your family. Trying to stick with something that isn’t working for too long will only create a negative experience for your kids and could cause them to lose interest in the time together.


7. Consider using videos for family devotions.

We consistently use video devotions as a part of our bedtime routine, and have found it to be both valuable and enjoyable for our kids! Saddleback Kids is one great resource. These are short, biblically accurate representations of many common Bible stories. Our daughter, Lexi, was sitting in church one day and pointed out that they were teaching a story we had previously watched on a Saddleback Kids video. It was amazing to see her make that connection.

Videos can be great for children who are visual learners. They can also piggyback on whatever devotion you have been reading together and reinforce that lesson – we will often look for a video to follow up our suppertime discussions.

Another video resource we occasionally use is called Time of Grace. This one may be better for families with older children. They have many brief, quality devotions on a variety of topics that are also biblically accurate. You can search their videos for a wide variety of topics on YouTube or get them on their app or website, www.timeofgrace.org.


Personal Story

Our family has faced the same challenges that most will in attempting to create a healthy, meaningful family devotion time together!  Here are a few things we have tried to keep our kids’ attention:

  • Required that they remain at the table (not on the couch in the living room, putting their plates in the dishwasher, etc.)
  • Tried to keep the time to under 10 minutes (under 5 minutes when they were very young)
  • Started asking questions either during or after the devotion
  • Finding topics that interested them

While our family devotional time is still far from perfect, we have definitely seen an improvement as we have tried these things!  As the kids get older and we continue to practice this consistently as a family, we expect that these improvements will continue.

Every family is going to have to find the rhythm that works for them.  It is ok to experiment and try to find the best solution for your family!  Don’t be afraid to try new devotional books, etc.  The most important thing is to surround your family with God’s Word.  The parents’ attitude toward this time is very important.  If the parents show excitement and enthusiasm, the kids will notice this.  If the parents seem to be trying to get through it as though it is a chore – the kids will notice that too.


Key Points:

  •  Every family should strive to have daily devotions that are appropriate for the ages of their children.
  •  It is important to try to make this a part of your daily routine as a family.
  •  Don’t be afraid to try a variety of devotional themes or styles that might spark the interest of your children.


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