Helping Your Kids Create a Haven for Reading the Bible

There are a lot of elements that are part of helping your kids build strong faith foundations and grow to their godly potential. One of the most important is helping them establish a habit of reading their Bibles daily. That daily connection with God and what He wants them to know can help your kids stay on track spiritually, make it easier for them to obey God (because they have daily reminders of what those commands are) and help them avoid being misled by skeptics or false teachers.

In previous posts, we’ve shared all sorts of tips, including the best Bible to purchase and the best ways to help them make Bible reading a daily habit. One of the aspects of creating that habit is the visual cue. One of the difficulties of beginning any new habit is actually remembering you want to do the new thing. Often, we are so distracted by our daily routines and habits, we become distracted. Suddenly, we remember the new habit we wanted to start, but after having forgotten it for a day or two, the idea of beginning again seems insurmountable.

Visual cues are the things we place where they can’t be missed. When we do see them, the visual cue serves as an immediate reminder of the new habit – in this case, reading the Bible. Visual cues aren’t much good if your kids don’t see them every day. So if, for example, you decided placing a note on the kitchen table was a great reminder and then someone moves it to set the table, the cue was useless.

What we have found works best is a cozy little corner that not only serves as a visual cue to read the Bible, but also makes the experience look inviting. The great thing is that you don’t have to have a big house to create a Bible corner. Find a corner of a room your child will enter multiple times a day. Have them place a Bible and other study aids like a journal and pen or a Bible dictionary in the corner.

Then give them a chance to be creative and have a little fun. Maybe they want to add a fuzzy blanket or a pillow or carpet square. Younger children may want to add a favorite stuffed animal. It shouldn’t take over the entire room, but be a small little area in a corner. Teens might prefer a variation of a prayer closet, where their corner is in their closet. This only works, however, if they go in that closet daily and notice the Bible and other things when they do. If your kids spend time outdoors every day and you live in a mild, dry climate, they can even make their corner outdoors somewhere.

Hopefully, since your kids designed their own Bible corner, it will look more inviting to them. Then use our other tips to get them started, reminding them that the corner serves as a reminder to spend time reading the Bible daily. Before long, you may find them spending more time with God in scripture and prayer than you would have ever imagined.

8 Ways to Avoid Raising Greedy Kids

Entitled. Greedy. That’s how the world sees young people today. It doesn’t have to be that way. Whenever I notice a greedy or entitled child or teen, I have found their parents are almost always making one or more common parenting mistakes. Since Christianity is about sharing what you have rather than focusing on amassing more, it’s important you are doing everything you can to avoid raising the stereotypical greedy and entitled child.

So what are some concrete things you can do to avoid raising greedy kids? Here are a few of our favorites.

  • Avoid toy aisles and stores. Parents who raise greedy kids often believe it is necessary to walk through toy aisles and stores as some sort of reward or incentive for good behavior on a family shopping excursion for needed items. The truth is your kids can’t want what they don’t know exists. Constantly parading them in front of all the things a kid can possibly want is going to make your kids want them. Toy aisles should only be visited when purchasing toys for someone else.
  • Stop watching entertainment with commercials. If your kids are watching entertainment, encourage them to avoid commercial tv. When they are young, screen time should be severely limited anyway. When they do watch, PBS and some streaming platforms don’t show commercials. As with the toy aisle, your kids can’t want what they don’t know exists.
  • Discourage them from playing the comparison game. When I was growing up, the day after Christmas was spent calling friends and comparing gifts. Remind your kids that playing the comparison game is hurtful for those who can’t afford what other families can or whose families have different values about gift giving. Comparing gifts can even convince them they really, really want something that they actually don’t care about at all. They’ve just gotten caught up in the competitive aspect of the game. Teach them how to change the subject when anyone asks them, “What’d ya get?”
  • Call out greed when you see it. If your child visits Santa or someone asks for a gift list, it should only contain two or three reasonable items. If your kid creates a long list, send them back to edit it. You may also need to set price limits on the gifts they can request. It’s never too early to understand money is a finite resource that must be used carefully and in godly ways. Define greed for them and choose a great Bible verse that reminds them God does not condone greed.
  • Clearly define wants versus needs. The slippery slope to a greedy heart often begins because we think we need something we actually just want. Spend time serving the poor. Point out that there is often joy in homes where people own less than your family does. Encourage them to think about from where that joy could come. Never allow your kids to define something they want as something they need.
  • Make them pay for any items they want if they can’t wait until their birthday or Christmas for them. Tolerating delayed gratification is one of the building blocks of eliminating greed. If they just can’t wait, but are too young to get a work permit, find extra jobs they can do around the house to earn the money. The bonus is developing a strong work ethic in the process.
  • Don’t use things to soothe your parental guilt. Parents who don’t give their kids the time and attention they need often feel guilty. They think buying their kids gifts will make up for their absence. In fact it’s so common, there’s an expression…”Your kids prefer your presence over your presents.” Instead, find ways to give your kids more of your time and attention.
  • Set a good example. Have you ever really listened to yourself talk? How often are you talking about the things you need or want to buy? How often do you go shopping for fun? If your kids see greed in your life, they will often copy your behaviors and attitudes. Greed can become a habit. If you’ve been greedy for a long time, breaking the habit won’t be easy. If you want to raise kids who aren’t greedy though, you’ll need to do the work to banish greed from your own life.

God calls Christians to share everything they have so others won’t lack what they need. A greedy child will become a greedy adult incapable of obeying God in this area. Stomp out greed in your kids before it becomes a habit that’s hard to break.

Fun Family Gratitude Activity

How good is your family at expressing your gratitude to God for His many blessings? Now, how good is your family at expressing gratitude to those around them? There’s a fun activity you can do to help you and your kids be more observant of those deserving your thanks and make it more likely you and your kids will express their gratitude.

Start by having your kids design a gratitude “card”. Make it small enough so you can print several to a sheet of paper, but large enough so your kids can write a sentence on the back of the design. You may want to print on card stock to make them more sturdy, but regular paper works fine, too. If you don’t own a printer, your kids will just need to produce multiple versions of their artwork!

Now comes the fun part! Brainstorm a list of people they can thank. Maybe a neighbor who always asks them how they are doing in school. Or the mail person for bringing them their favorite magazine. Your list can be as long and creative as you would like. Then on the back of each card, you can write, “Thank you for…” and complete the sentence. For pre-writers, you can write the sentence and have them illustrate it.

Then deliver them! Afterwards, talk with your kids about the responses you got. Point out that these people didn’t necessarily expect thanks, but were so pleased and encouraged when they were appreciated for their efforts.

Make it a habit for each of you to carry some of these cards with you wherever you go. Fill them out in real time and give them as soon as someone does something simple for you. You can even make it a fun “competition” and see who in your family can thank the most people in a day or week. Over time, your family will get in the habit of noticing the things others do for you and thanking them for it.

Does Your Child Have One of These Gifts From God?

Christians often get bogged down trying to figure out which of the gifts on the list in 1 Corinthians God gave them. It’s one of the reasons kids and teens are rarely taught about discovering, developing and using the gift or gifts God gave them to serve Him. It’s little wonder they often believe there’s no place or purpose for them in God’s Kingdom.

It’s easier to instead focus on the gifts God gave people in Exodus 36 to do the work He wanted them to do in the building of the Tabernacle. Even kids can understand God gave them gifts of talents they can use to serve Him. It’s concrete, easy to understand and biblical. Those spiritual gifts in Corinthians often reveal themselves as we use our other gifts to serve God.

Some kids seem to be born knowing what their gifts are. Others discover them naturally as they explore the world around them. Some, however, will struggle and believe God didn’t give them a gift. We know He gave every child at least one gift. The problem is that we often lack the creativity to see those gifts and help young people figure out how to use them to serve God.

Here’s a list of possible gifts to get you started. Go over the list with each of your kids. Use the quiz in the last post to help you focus your search. Then have fun helping your kids develop and use those gifts to serve God!

Ability to Focus, Accounting, Adaptability, Athletic Ability, Audio Visual, Automobile Repair, Analyzing, Art, Asking Questions, Building, Computer Coding, Cooking, Counseling, Crafts, Wood Working, Decorating, Detail Oriented, Drama, Editing, Emotional Intelligence, Encouragement, Enthusiasm, Faith Sharing, Fashion/Clothing, Generosity, Greeting/Outreach, Networking, Human Resources/Talent Identification, Humor, Imagination, Intelligence, Juggling, Listening, Marketing, Math, Medicine, Mercy, Music, Organizing, Photography, Problem Solving, Public Speaking, Research, Risk Management, Science, Self Control, Service, Social Media, Stewardship, Teaching, Time Management, Typing, Video Production, Writing

Fun Quiz to Help Your Kids Discover Their Gifts From God

Do your kids know the gifts God gave them to serve Him? The truth is that you may still be struggling to figure out what your own gifts from God may be. Often if churches even address giftedness, they use the scripture in Corinthians about spiritual gifts and a long inventory to “help”. Often, those exercises just leave people more confused than ever and teens and kids are often excluded entirely from the conversation.

Why not make the entire exercise a bit more concrete and practical – easy enough to use with even relatively young children? We suggest that instead of starting in Corinthians, you show your kids Exodus 31. In this chapter, it discusses how God used what we call the “secular” gifts or talents of various individuals to build the Tabernacle. It also explains how God gave certain individuals a little extra bit of talent so they could do the work well.

Then read to them the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. Although there is more than one way to interpret this parable, it is acceptable to equate the money “talent” with what we now call talents or gifts. Point out that each person received a different number of talents, but each received at least one talent. Note that the master was only upset with the man who didn’t do anything with his talent at all.

Explain to your kids that God gave each of them at least one talent. One of their jobs as a Christian (or future Christian) is to find, develop and use their talent or talents to serve God. To get started, ask each of your kids to answer the following questions:

  • What classes or training have they had that have taught you anything that might be considered a talent? (These can be at school or extracurricular classes…even one time classes.)
  • When someone compliments you, what are the two or three attributes they most often mention?
  • What is your favorite class in school?
  • In what class is it easiest for you to make a good grade?
  • What jobs (if they are old enough) or volunteer work have you done in the past?
  • Which ones did you enjoy the most and why?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What type of non-fiction books (or YouTube videos if they watch instructional ones) do you enjoy the most?
  • What are some things you do well, but don’t necessarily consider a talent?
  • If you could learn or try something new, what would it be?
  • What is something you love doing (or would love to do), but don’t feel as if you would do it well?
  • If someone asks you for help or advice, what is it that is most often asked of you?
  • After your child has answered all of the questions, look at the answers together. Is there a pattern? Is there a particular gift already demonstrated? Is there an interest that might also indicate a gift if they are given opportunities to develop it? Don’t limit yourself to more obvious gifts like artistic talent, teaching talent, etc. In our next post, we will give you a list of more subtle talents that God can use as much as the more obvious ones.
  • Taking the time to help your kids discover, develop and use their gifts to serve God is the beginning of their understanding their place and role in God’s Kingdom and the good works He has planned for them to do.