Connecting Toddlers and Family Worship

The Need..

Years ago, when our “big kids” were younger (about 1 and 3) we struck a period when family worship times were difficult.  Trying to get them to sit still and listen wasn’t easy.  (Sorry, we’re not one of those perfect home schooling families.  Just so you know!) We wanted to read the Bible with our children rather than Bible stories but we really didn’t want our time around God’s Word to be a disciplining time every evening.  It wasn’t easy for the children to sit and listen just to the words so my husband came up with an idea that we used for a quite a while.

The Answer..

Every night he would get out a small whiteboard and would draw images to illustrate the reading we were going through.    I say images rather than pictures as these things were not Rembrandt’s!  A stick figure or two, just to connect the children to what was going on.  Often small details were noticed because Dad drew them in.  We really enjoyed these times together reading through different parts of Scripture.

Fast forward a number of years and somewhere along the track we stopped drawing.  Our “big kids” have many years of sitting through long chapter books, family worship times, church services and other activities under their belts and no longer need that connecting help..or so I thought.  But I’d noticed recently our “little boys” (now 2 and 5) weren’t really involved in a real way in our reading and discussion.  They sat quietly most some of the time, but that was all that was required of them.  I thought back to the interest the others had had, and realised I had lowered my expectation for these two.  With his Down syndrome, Davy especially, was needing something more visual to really connect to.  So.. the other night Peter pulled out the whiteboard.

A Very Good Place to Start!

Of course, Pete chose the best reading ever to begin his drawing efforts again.  The children were riveted to Daddy as he opened the Bible to where we were up to in our readings in Genesis.  Pete opened the Bible and got a queer look on his face.  “Oh, good!” he nodded, “The covenant of circumcision!”  Needless to say, he focused on other aspects of the reading and our first drawing session went really well.  The next night Davy could remember that Abraham and Sarah had been promised a baby and his name would be Isaac.  (It helped that Isaac is a friend at church.)  Pete rubbed that evening’s pictures out before I could get a picture but here are closeups of the next night – the Lord visiting Abraham and promising again that he would have a baby by that time the next year.  Notice Sarah’s laughter and the big ears sticking out of the tent!  We love Dad’s drawing skills around here!

An interesting effect I hadn’t anticipated is that the ‘big kids’ are listening a lot more carefully now too.   I really enjoy reading other people’s ideas and experiences so I hope you’ve found it interesting to hear our experiences too.



About justdabblin

Hi, I am a Christian woman, married to a great guy, who is the assistant pastor of a small church in Invercargill, New Zealand. We have 4 very active, outgoing children, whom we home educate. Our third child has Down syndrome and he keeps me very busy all on his own! I feel very busy and so I don't have time for a blog! So this blog is just for my own enjoyment and outlet and probably won't have a lot of input. If you happen across it I hope you may find something to make you smile.
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