Your children’s connection with God is unique to each child; but with prayerful support and creative inspiration, you can help them embark on the lifetime adventure of a personal relationship with their Heavenly Father.
School is back in session and fall is around the corner—it’s a season of saying goodbye to summer vacations and welcoming new possibilities to grow and learn. Beyond report cards, sports, and other school-year commitments, however, the spiritual health of your students is far more important. How do you help your kids connect with God during the busy school year? Try these ideas to creatively engage your kids and get them excited about their relationship with God.
Practice gratitude. When the excitement of the new school year wears off, it’s easy for kids to grumble about assignments, teachers, and even the healthy lunches you pack for them. Though you may not succeed in getting them excited about homework, you can help shift their perspective heavenward by encouraging them to practice gratitude. Designate a special “gratitude” jar and keep slips of paper nearby for family members to record what they’re grateful for (parents, make sure you participate too!). Or, keep a list on the refrigerator that everyone can contribute to throughout the week. On the weekends review the list or jar entries and give thanks to God together for all the blessings you’ve experienced.
Remind your kids that the Bible teaches us to give thanks in all things, even if it’s not always easy. They’ll naturally be thankful for the good things they enjoy— a playdate with friends, a family game night, or pizza for dinner. For things they find it harder to be grateful for, help them to see “blessings in disguise”— such as homework assignments that help them read a favorite book, or the healthy lunch that gives them energy to play at recess.
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. — 1 Thessalonians 5:18, NLT
Keep a journal. Journaling is an opportunity for your students to express themselves and process their thoughts in a way that is meaningful to them. Without the pressure of a homework assignment, students can decompress by writing whatever they want within the safety of their journal. As they begin to discover who God created them to be, they can connect with God in a way that is new and exciting to them.
A journal can also help kids grow in God’s Word and in prayer. Copying Bible verses by hand helps reinforce them in memory. Encourage your students to choose one or two verses per week to work on, and provide colored pencils, markers, and stickers to embellish their Bible verse pages. When kids find it hard to concentrate while praying out loud, they may find that writing down their prayers can help them focus on prayer as a conversation with God.
Need some inspiration? Try these writing prompts for your students:
• If you had a playdate with Jesus, what would you do? What would you talk about?
• If you could ask God for anything, what would it be?
• If you hosted a party for Jesus, who would you invite? What gift would you get for him?
• If you could tell God a secret, what would it be?
• If you could go anywhere with Jesus, where would it be? Would you explore another country or even another galaxy? Or would you invite him to your soccer practice, dance class, or a friend’s house?
(For an extra-special gift, design a custom journal for your students, or help them design one to their own liking!)
Get in the Word. While reading the Bible aloud to your children is the best way to get them in the Word of God initially, as they get older, encourage them to interact with scripture themselves. For young children, interactive Bible storybooks like lift-the-flap, water doodle, or puzzle books are an easy way to help them get excited about God’s Word. Students old enough to read the Bible for themselves may enjoy the Hands-On Bible, which is full of engaging activities to help kids connect with scripture. More mature students may find journaling Bibles to be a fun way to engage God’s Word while letting their creative juices flow (moms can get in on the fun too with the Mom & Me Inspire Journaling Bible Bundle).
These are just a few ways to help your kids start thinking about how they can connect with God this school year. Remember, your children’s connection with God is unique to each child; but with prayerful support and creative inspiration, you can help them embark on the lifetime adventure of a personal relationship with their Heavenly Father.