Using Fun Family Devotionals to Reduce Family Screen Time

I am normally not the type of parent who panics easily about the latest trends harming children and teens. Many times the articles are click bait about fads impacting a handful of children and teens – usually with parents who don’t pay attention to their children. However, screen time, and the impact it has on all of us, is something that should greatly concern every parent.

While I was researching our newest parenting seminar, Parenting Children In a Tech Obsessed World, I discovered so much disturbing research about the negative impact of screens on young people that I think it would be difficult to over react. Part of the problem about weaning ourselves and our children off screens is that we have become lazy about finding alternative, healthier activities to amuse ourselves and our children.

Hands-on family devotionals are a great way to engage the entire family while providing a fun alternative to using screens. They take a little more effort than a more traditional devotional, but provide more time for bonding, talking and teaching while you work on the activity together. We have lots of them you can search for in this blog, but here’s a great one to get you started.

Share Jeremiah 18 with your children. For younger children, you may not want to use the entire chapter. Older children and teens may benefit from a deeper discussion of what can happen if God finds us rigidly against Him. There are also other verses in scripture about God as the potter and us as His clay with other concepts like, Isaiah 29:16, Isaiah 45:9 and others.

Give each family member a lump of clay. The lesson works better with “real” potter’s clay, but you can use other types if you choose. Encourage each person to make something useful or decorative. As you are working, discuss how the clay must yield to the potter. Point out that we can refuse to yield to God’s instructions, commands and plans for our lives, but the results will not be as wonderful as if we had just yielded.

After everyone has finished their creation, take another piece of clay and work as a family to mold a simple pot. (Note: It will end up destroyed, so don’t let anyone get too attached and don’t tell them about the future destruction.) If it is not air dry clay, go back in a few hours and change or add something to your work. Several hours or perhaps a day later in certain climates, you will be able to etch a design on it, but changing major things will be destructive. After a time – especially if you dry it in the oven (look online for correct temps and procedure), attempting to make any changes will require destroying the vessel and reconstituting the clay with water and other intensive processes.

Point out that if our hearts remain pliable, God doesn’t have to do much to mold us. The more stubborn and resistant our hearts become to His will, the more likely He may use some painful method in order to try and save us from complete destruction. Discuss ways your family can be more responsive to God’s hand as your potter.

Taking the time to find fun, healthy, productive ways to engage your children offline is one of the best ways to convince them the “real world” – even with all of its flaws – is more rewarding than any virtual world.

Published by

Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking.

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