In our home, we have a routine for daily family Bible study and memorization, usually as a part of our homeschool. However, it’s important to my husband and I that our children learn to practice personal daily devotion as well. It’s such an important and, frankly, difficult habit in the lives of most Christian adults, that we want to set our children up for success in the early years so that personal daily devotion just becomes a normal part of their daily lives. So we introduced some simple children’s devotion routines.
Every morning, when the kids trickled down (or sometimes stampeded) from upstairs, I wanted to have a simple routine in place that would help them go FIRST to God’s Word. Or at the very least, to start their independent homeschool studies with personal devotions. Not to replace our family Bible studies, theology studies, and scripture memorization, mind you, but to add a personal discipline and devotional aspect to their daily rhythm.
For our younger kids, we do that with a simple Bible Time Basket in the living room. They grab their Bible (or pick one from the basket) and spend time in the morning quietly reading or looking at the pictures as I prepare for the day. For my older kids, however, I wanted something that helped them dig a little deeper.
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Our kids are currently 11 and under, and over the past few years we’ve tried out a lot of great resources. They’ve all been great (I’ll share some of my favorites sometime) but the one that has been the most helpful and versatile is our Daily Devotion Checklist.
This is a checklist I started with my kids by just drawing it out in their notebooks by hand. I wanted something that would focus on a particular topic or biblical character trait and guide them through a handful of scriptures as well as simple habits of personal devotion each day.
Resources I Use With the Children’s Daily Devotion Checklist
We have used the checklist with our own obedience and self-control studies as well as some of our other favorite character training resources. However, the inspiration for the checklist are the resources from Doorposts, specifically, For Instruction in Righteousness (a topical Bible resource for parents), Plants Grown Up (character/life skills for boys), and Polished Cornerstones (character/life skills for girls).
We have used these resources from Doorposts for years and really get a lot out of them. But using this checklist has been a big “win” for me, especially in being able to consistently implement Plants Grown Up and Polished Cornerstones! The resources are so rich and packed with goodness that they can sometimes be overwhelming. The children’s Daily Devotion Checklist really helped simplify that for me.
Of course, you can also create your own studies with the Checklist by looking up words and character traits in the Bible (using tools like Blue Letter Bible), or even picking 14 of the top verses for kids to study/memorize, and have a 2-week devotion for your kids that is fantastic. I just love using my trusted character resources because they put us on a learning path of biblical topics for my kids to cover and I know they’re solid.
How to Use the Children’s Daily Devotion Checklist
Write in focus verses. Decide what scriptures you want to add to your checklist. These could be a grouping of scriptures by topic such as character trait or the book you’re currently studying, or they could just be ones you particularly want them to focus on. Write the scripture references under “Focus Verses.”
Choose a memory verse or two. For Memory Verse, you can choose one for your child or invite them to help you pick one from the list of focus verses.
Show your child the daily devotion steps. Every morning, they’ll go to their sheet and choose the next Focus Verse in the list. For that verse, they’ll go through the Daily Devotion checklist, marking off all the circles in a row. There are 14 focus verses and 14 circles.
So, perhaps Proverbs 31 is the next Focus Verse on the list for my daughter. She sees that verse is next and opens up to it in her Bible. Here are the steps she takes. Keep in mind that you will walk them through the first several days so they get the hang of it, and may still want to occasionally go back and do that.
- Pray for wisdom and understanding – ask God for wisdom and discernment as you read the text, understanding what the intended meaning is.
- Copy the verse(s) – I have the kids do all their work for devotions in a spiral notebook. They copy the verses down in that notebook. I talk to them often about thinking through the words as they write them, saying the words to themselves, considering the meaning or what questions they have, noticing the way the words are spelled, etc.
- Read and note the context – They look at the surrounding verses, the author, the topical heading in their Bible, etc. and make a note of the setting or context of the verses and how that might impact them. If they aren’t sure, they bring it to us in the last few steps to discuss.
- Paraphrase the verse(s) – they simply re-write the verses in their own words. This really helps me to see what they understand and brings out wonderful conversations.
- Write the life application – They write down general and specific ways they can live out these verses in their lives. Again, great fodder for conversations.
- Discuss with Dad or Mom – Even if they think they “got” the point on their own, they bring their notebook to me or my husband. We look over it and discuss anything interesting or any points of confusion. We find that the lessons from these simple devotions often come up throughout the day, too, and it’s a blessing to be able to apply them to our daily life together.
- Practice Memory Verse(s) – We have a set of scriptures we memorize as a family (we’re memorizing James together this year) but this is an extra verse pulled from this devotion that they memorize on their own. For this step they practice it themselves, and then about 5 days in they start coming to us to work on reciting it aloud until it’s nailed down.
Note activities, reminders, resources, etc. The Notes section can be for whatever you like. I use that area to add a list of any books, resources, activities, discussions, or other things I want to do with my kids relating to the focus verses.
When I’m using it with Polished Cornerstones, Plants Grown Up, or For Instruction in Righteousness, I simply make a list of the page number and letter references for activities and additional studies I want us to do together beyond the checklist.
About once a week (when my kids get to the Plants Grown Up / Polished Cornerstones item of their homeschool loop schedule) they come to me after their devotion and we choose the next letter reference or other activity listed in the Notes section.
For example, this last Monday my oldest came over and we did a quick google search together on ancient city walls for their appearance and function, discussing how they helped protect and defend the residents from attacks from the enemy. Then related it to our study on anger and how it is like having broken down city walls.
If you have For Instruction in Righteousness, Polished Cornerstones, or Plants Grown Up already in your home library and just haven’t yet found a way to implement them regularly, I hope this tool is as helpful to you as it has been to me, especially for establishing those children’s daily devotional routines!
If you DON’T have these biblical parenting resources, I do recommend them. They have been invaluable resources for us through the years as we work to teach our kids godly character as well as troubleshoot behavior issues and how to train/correct for them.
We also used their behavior / parenting charts a lot in the early years and still bring them out on occasion. The Brother Offended, If / Then Chart, and other tools are really useful when you’re trying to establish consistent expectations and discipline for your kiddos.
Download the Children’s Daily Devotion Checklist
Download your own FREE copy of the children’s Daily Devotion Checklist. Of course, you can use this for yourself, too, if you need a super simple scripture devotion tool. Enjoy! Simply fill out the form below and it will be sent to you via email. Feel free to contact me at tauna (at) proverbialhomemaker (dot) com if you have any issues!