Teach your child to walk in the ways of the Lord and they shall not depart. We can hear this hundreds of times in our lives. But how do we actually do it.
Teaching our Children to love and fear the Lord is essential;
Teaching them they have a Father who loves and adores them is important!
Helping them to have a personal and deep relationship with Christ is critical.
So how can we as parents, strive to guide their beautiful souls –to have a personal relationship with their heavenly Father from preschooler – through teen years to mature adults?
Well the journey there like any, has many routes to get to the final destination. But one sure way to help your child get to their ultimate goal heaven – is to give them an internal GPS if you will… Engrave something so deep in their heart; that they hear the right directions. Even though they might not always choose to follow them, they can always make a U-turn and like any good GPS program – you can be sure “Your going the Wrong Way” will be blaring somewhere in the roots of their hearts – (if they decide to take the wrong or long route – the GPS will help them find the right roads back to their original destination). Hopefully they will choose to take the right path – but ultimately – God gave our children free will – just like he gave us. So let’s hide it in their hearts – so no matter where they go in this life – they will always know the way or the way back! Just what is it that we want to hide there? The WORD! Scripture – God’s beautiful gift of the word!
I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you Psalm 119:11
Scripture is something I have come to love and appreciate more fully over that past few years. So when I wanted to start sharing scriptural memorization with my children – like any good sanguine (link to temperaments) – I jumped right in – but I have learnt along the way – although there are many scriptural verse websites and resources out there. Not all of them are written or geared if you will at young children. Let’s be honest a three year old can’t recite:
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
If it takes over two minutes to explain the text we have already lost them. So began my journey or quest if you will to find a fun, creative and interesting way to bring the word to life for my little ones (who were five, three and under one at the time). I wanted them to be able to recall scripture in times of strife, sorrow, joy – for it to be a tool for them to carry with them throughout their lives where ever they went. So the light and love of our Lord would always be with them.
So I created this blog posting in hopes to share what I have learnt and what I learn along the way!
Tips, Tricks and Ideas for Helping Make Scripture Memorization work with kids!
1. Everyone loves a reward!
My first great tip came from reading The Duggars: 20 and Counting!. In their book I read that they reinforce their younger kids with a candy when they can recite a scripture verse! Yes positive reinforcement – works! So find a reward that works for your family – a chocolate chip, sticker, lollipop, cookie, hug, etc (working with your Child’s Love Language would yield the best results)
2. Did Somebody say Routine!
As a sanguine it is really easy and exciting for me to start new ideas – but follow- through can be hard long term. But like anything if we want to be successful – we need to form a habit – we need to build a routine. So choosing the right style and time that will work for your family is essential. We find that right after breakfast or dinner works well for us. This way we can get the verse in once or twice that day. My 6 year old can actually recite it back by them. Of course life has a way of changing so we mix it up if needed. During the summer we might only get to the verse once or twice during the week. Lately we have been trying to do it with night prayers.
Some families we know do the same verse everyday for a week; others just do a verse once or twice a week on a set day. Do what works for your family – remember something if always better than nothing.
3. Keep it Fun – add a Gesture!
Keeping it fun and interesting for a three year old is essential – so we added hand gestures and movements. We do this as best we can to keep it fun and reinforce the scripture for easier memorization. Some verses are easier than others such as: You shall love the Lord your God. But the kids really enjoy helping to come up with the actions and showing them back to you! Especially when it involves things like jumping for joy.
4. Bringing it Home:
Bringing it home – don’t ask them to memorize something they don’t understand – engage them – ask them what do you think this scripture means? What is God trying to tell us? Use it as a teachable moment and clarify their answers. Most importantly offer a simple explanation i.e. –God loves us so much that he wants us to …
5. If you fall off the horse:
If you fall of the horse just get right back on again – if you forgot to do to the memorization for a few days, don’t get discouraged just try again – your perseverance will be rewarded! It might mean that you need to change when or how often you are doing your scripture verse.
6. Write it out/Print it out/Display it!
Have a special place to display your scripture verses. Have the older child read it or have them write it and decorate a q-card with it and display it on a picture frame in your kitchen window, tape it to a vase and have it in the centre of your table, post it on your fridge, etc! Get everyone involved and have the verse available to re-read throughout the day to help reinforce it. We actually painted our broom closet door in the kitchen and made it a chalkboard so now we can display our memory verses and see them anytime we need to! (This also gave me enough room to add my own scripture verse to learn too)
Other ideas – write the verses out on sticky notes – stick them in your child`s lunch, on the bathroom mirror, in the car, on their pillow, on their desk.
When they are young just teach them the word, once they are older teach them the reference to the quote. So they can recall the book in the bible to look it up – it won’t be hard to add the book because they will already know the verse! When they are older it is easier to get them to memorize the reference to the scripture as they are old enough to understand the context and can appreciate why it is helpful to know where to find it. i.e. – 1 John 3:7 doesn’t mean too much to my three year old but “God loves you” certainly does
8. Live it out!
Lead by example, show your memorization knowledge – let them test you – let them see you read the bible. Actions speak louder than words – St. Francis said “Preach always and if necessary use words!”
9. Quality not quantity!
It’s not about the quantity but the quality – revisit the same scripture verses if you think they are applicable to a situation your family is going through or if you think the little ones need to re-learn it. Follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance, be flexible!
10. Share the word regularly!
Share the word regularly at bedtime, meal times or whatever time works best for your family. Read your children bible stories – everyday if you can – form them in the word. We try to include at least one bible story a day at bedtime. Purchase some high quality attractive bible story books or devotionals that capture your young ones attention– Here are some Bible Story Books for Children that I highly recommend that my children love!
- The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name – age 3 to 100 !
- Little Girls Bible Storybook for Mothers and Daughters and Little Boys Bible Storybook for Fathers and Sons– age 4 and up
- The Beginner’s Bible – age 1 -6
- God’s Wisdom for Little Boys: Character-Building Fun from Proverbs and God’s Wisdom for Little Girls: Virtues and Fun from Proverbs 31 age 2 and up
- Tiny Bear’s Bible – Newborn – toddler
- The Action Bible – Ages 8 and up
- His Little Princess: Treasured Letters from Your King (His Princess)– Age 6 and up
- VeggieTales Bible Storybook: With Scripture from the NIrV (Big Idea Books) – Ages 2-7
I invite you to join in and start today to hide the word in your child`s heart! It only takes a few minutes but it will last a life time!
A wonderful verse to start with is a very special one – every Jewish Child use to have to know this by heart:
“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
Deuteronomy 6:5 Translation: NASV
Another one if the greatest commandment:
He answered, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind.
And you must love your neighbor as yourself.”
Luke 10:27 Translation ISV
Here are some fun free Scripture Resources:
- Valentines Count Down Chain – the kids really enjoyed doing this chain last year we counted down to Valentines Day then we repeated them and made the chain up again for the rest of February!
- Valentines Scripture Count Down Cards – going to try this one this year
- 10 Scriptural Affirmations for Kids – beautiful print out!
- ABC Scripture Cards – Great for preschoolers
- Top Ten Scripture Verses to Learn with your Kids – nice scriptures to start with
- Character chart – easy to print out and have older children write out and decorate q-cards to learn!
Wonderful Websites to Help with Scripture Memorization with Children:
- Free Downloadable Scripture Set to Songs that you can download for free: Heart Seed
- Offers a Free Program to teach Scripture set to Nursery Rhymes and other Songs
- Free Printable Sheet of Scriptures and the Virtue they help to Teach
This is a great idea, and I”m glad you included the resources too!
I’ve also had the idea to sing hymns with them until we know them by heart. But it’s hard for me to follow through consistently. Let’s pray for each other in this regard! :)
Love this post. Scripture is such an important of my life. I wrote the Catholic Child’s Teaching Bible carried by Catholic Heritage Curricula.