Kids in the Word: Teaching Children to Have Devotional Time

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure statement.

Kids in the Word Wednesdays has moved to its own site: You can get a free printable eBooklet with the tips in this post and more at Kids in the Word.

Teaching Children to Have Devotional Time


We began our school year two weeks ago and with that came something new: teaching Jonathan to have his own devotional time first thing in the morning.

Explain the Reason

I started by explaining to Jonathan that because he was a Christ-follower and getting older, it was time for him to start taking control of his spiritual life. We talked about how God wants to spend time with us and how it’s good to do that first thing in the morning if possible.

Lay Out the Ground Rules

First thing in the morning, Jonathan is to get his Bible and his journal and find a place to sit. He usually chooses to sit on the couch in the living room. We usually read before breakfast, but depending on the time and plan for the day, I may let him have breakfast first.

The point is to make devotions a priority in our day before getting side tracked onto something else.

Decide What to Read

I let Jonathan choose the book of the Bible that he wanted to read first. He chose to start with Genesis. He wants to read straight through the Bible. We decided on one chapter per day out of his NIV Bible that was made into a Child Training Bible.

You could chose a longer portion of scripture, a topic, or use a Children’s Bible.

Find a Way to Apply

Jonathan seems to retain what he writes, so I decide to make a simple primary-lined journal that Jonathan could write in after he reads. We decided on three things that he could write in his journal:

  • Something he learned.
  • A question.
  • Copy a verse.

If you have a child who is not a writer (whatever their age), you could have them draw pictures, narrate to you, act out the story or whatever activity would help them retain what they learned.

The Result?

We’re in our third week of this little experiment and so far it is working very well. Jonathan even told me that I better hurry up and make an Exodus journal for him because he’s going to need it soon! It was interesting to me that he chooses to write a question most often. His questions have prompted some very interesting discussions. He usually chooses to save his questions for Daddy at dinner time.


Jump over to my free printables page to download the Bible Reading Journals that Jonathan has been using.

How do you teach your children to have devotional time? How have you kept your kids in the Word this week?  Share in the comments. Share how you’ve kept your kids in the Word this week by linking up a post on kids AND Bible, character, or worldview.


The Homeschool Village


  1. Thank you for the idea! I have been wanting to get my kiddos back into doing their own devotions this school year. We have been doing them together (mom-son and mom-daughter) through the summer. :) Blessings!

  2. Amanda, This is so important – what a great post….and I would add one thing, it is important for parents to let their children SEE them having their time with God, as well!!!!

  3. Judy Comings says:

    TY for sharing these ideas with us!

  4. How old is your son? My girls are almost 6 and 3 1/2. We are starting first grade Monday so she is a reader but not to the point she can read alone yet. I want to start our day with devotions and am trying to figure it out.

    • Summer, Jonathan is 5. He’s been reading and writing since he was 3, so don’t compare your girls against him. Try a simple children’s bible and read with her until she’s more confident and add the journaling component in whatever way she learns best. My favorite is in the children’s story Bible post linked in the post.

      • How did you teach your son to read so early? My 4 year old is desperate to learn, but the program I am usingjust isn’t working. My 7 year old learned in public kindergarten as I didn’t homeschool until 1st gade.

        • I used 100 EZ Lessons to gauge Jonathan’s readiness. We did the first 10 lessons or so. Then we used a combination of Spell to Write and Read with Pathway Readers and workbooks. It worked well for him. We’ve now switched from Spell to Write and Read to All About Spelling. They have a program called All About Reading that I may use with Jacob when the time comes. (See I like a good phonics base with whole language readers brought in as early as possible.

          Sometimes, despite the desire, the readiness just isn’t there. The range for learning to read is 4-12 years old. Keep reading fun so the discouragement doesn’t bring them down.

  5. Is your notebook/journal a file that you could share?

  6. Thanks so much for the Journal! I discussed implementing this with my 8 yr old son this afternoon and he seemed excited and concerned! lol He is an early riser and I suggested he do this in his room first thing. He already listens to worship when he first wakes so the atmosphere will already be set! :) We do have time together during school and we have time as a family, but his own relationship is Vital! :)

    • You’re welcome. Sounds like a perfect plan. We started with first thing in the morning but it wasn’t the best time for Jonathan. He did better with eating breakfast and waking up a little and then reading.

  7. My kids have always had their devotional time since they were old enough to sit still. they had special books that they “read” or really looked at and I would talk about it with each of them individually and then prayed with and for specifically them every morning. then we would have worship later on after breakfast.
    I think though that they are ready for more. THey will sometimes put together a felt story during devotions and then they will tell that story later for worship. I like the journal, though. I think their reading skills are still a little slow to read, but they could listen and read with the tablet and then write in a journal. I think they could do that well. THanks for the ideas!

  8. My mentor has 5 boys, and all of them are growing into godly young men. She started setting aside “Morning quiet time” as soon as they could be by themselves, just before breakfast. Before they could read, they had a half hour where they could play quietly with blocks, look at a book, or talk quietly to each other – but they were not allowed to run around and play. This was a good time for her to get quiet time in as well! Usually the lights were dimmed. She explained that this is “God’s time” – this time was a blessing from Him, and a time to reflect on what they were thankful for. As they got old enough to read, it was easy to shepherd them into using that time to study the Bible.


  1. […] joining with Kids in the Word today….sharing this….scripture and where I am right […]

  2. […] the Bible. Jonathan, my five year old is one of those early readers. I’ve been working with him for the last few months to develop his own devotional time. He reads one chapter each morning from his NIV Study Bible turned Child Training […]

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge