I remember mornings when my sweet toddler son would come down the stairs and climb into my lap. I was usually sitting in my quiet time chair in the living room near the bottom of the stairway. I would be one of the first things he saw in the morning. He counted on my being there. Together we would watch the sun come up through the window as we snuggled and I prayed.
I hadn’t planned it that way, but I’m sure the Lord had a hand in it. The first thing our children saw when coming downstairs was their mother reading the Word of God. I think the consistency of that made them feel secure. It also made them question what I was doing. I told them I was talking with the Lord. At those tender ages, it was awesome to think of talking to the Lord.
As they got older, it became increasingly difficult to get up before they did.
We decided to have them learn to have their own quiet times with the Lord.
- The ones who couldn’t read yet got a Bible movie to watch.
- The readers got their own copy of The Beginners Bible by Karyn Henly.
- I would do my normal Bible reading and journaling.
- We would all pray together afterward.
And so it began.
The Beginners Bible became the first chapter book each of our children read. They were so proud when they finished it.
How to go from a Bible movie and Beginners Bible to the Bible itself.
- After reading the Beginners Bible, our children were yet not able to transition to the regular Bible.
- We got them simple devotionals that gave a Scripture and some thoughts on it and got them a journal to write down their thoughts or draw a picture about what they read.
- After personal devotions we would read the Bible together, discuss, and pray.
We were doing several important things with this quiet time plan.
- First our children were seeing me model personal devotions. We know how much young children like to imitate their parents.
- Second, we were showing them how to do the same thing themselves.
- Third, we were encouraging them to develop good habits.
Read this encouraging article: Thoughts on Finding Time to Be With Someone You Love
Starting children on good habits when they are very young is one of the best ways we have found to build good habits into their daily lives.
- Many of the things we started when they were three to five years old are now part of the fabric of their daily lives.
- They all usually make their beds in the morning.
- They all usually have good personal hygiene.
- They usually eat a good breakfast.
- And…they all usually have a personal quiet time.
I said usually, because this isn’t a magic formula that makes our children do the right things. Just like us, they are sinners, and fall into bad habits. But having done these things for many years, and seeing their parents do them for many years develops something like muscle memory that tends to fall into place more often than not.
We moved eleven years ago so my quiet time chair is no longer at the bottom of the stairs. We have three floors in this house with one bedroom on every floor. I didn’t purposefully put my quiet time chair where I did, but in writing this I realized that it is at the intersection where the girls on the lower level and the boy on the first level see me first thing when they get up. It keeps me on my toes to be there before they wake up.
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Phyllis is an ordinary woman serving an extraordinary God. She has been the joyful wife of her best friend Daniel for 31 years and became a stay at home mom 27 years ago after retiring from a management position. She homeschooled their three children for 19 years and is now enjoying the fruits of her labors. She has published several books, including her favorite, Purposeful Planning. Visit her on her website at Phyllis-Sather.com
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