I have had so many questions lately about my kids and their “quiet time” routine, that today, I thought I’d share.
Full disclosure: Sometimes, we have a sweet little morning and everything is coffee, Jesus and sunshine. Sometimes, I make them all cry, yell at Andrew and cuss out the dogs. It’s balance, y’all. Don’t worry if my *goals* for a peaceful morning make your morning look crazy…they often make my mornings look crazy too. Buuuuut…since so many of you have been asking, I’ll share a little.
I’ve blogged extensively about my own personal quiet time many times before. You can read my most recent post on the subject HERE.
In a nutshell, I started having my own Bible reading/Bible studying/prayer time every single morning when I was 15, and twenty five years later, it’s continued.
Do I always do it as soon as I wake up? Yes.
Do I sometimes miss it on vacations? Also yes.
Does Jesus know my heart? YES.
I married a man who also did a daily quiet time every morning, so that transition was easy. I often get asked if we do it together and the answer is no. Andrew and I often pray together and discuss what we’re studying in the Bible together, but that time in the morning is all about Jesus and me and Andrew and Jesus. We are both up at the same time studying God’s word (early, like 4:00 AM!), but not “together”.
Since we both love starting our day with some time in God’s word, we want our kids to do the same but at the same time, we know they’re kids and we would never want to push/insist/make them do something they don’t want to do, so we lead by example and pray they too develop a heart for Jesus (which is exactly what both sets of our parents did for us).
Right now, I would say almost every single morning, Ashby and Smith wake up early and study their Bibles. Smith is our early riser, and each morning at 6:00, his alarm goes off, he makes himself a cup of tea and settles in upstairs to read the Bible and pray (he’s currently working his way through Romans by using old notes passed on to him by my grandfather…a former pastor). He’s very self-sufficient and self-motivated. He’s also the child “most like his parents” so an early morning and good routine is his jam. Ashby started doing her quiet time about six months ago. She told us one Sunday that she was bored during “big church” (a.k.a. worship with the whole church where our very not-boring pastor preaches), so we told her to bring a notebook and start taking notes (to make it less boring and more engaging). THIS REVOLUTIONIZED ASHBY’S CHURCH EXPERIENCE! Ashby asked for a “big” Bible for her birthday (we bought her this one) and each week she takes her Bible, a notebook and pencil to church where she takes copious notes. Then, she comes home and all week long she “studies” Pastor Sam’s sermon notes (stopping to ask us questions along the way).
Always with a dog at her side, Ashby spends about 10 or 15 minutes now every day reading her Bible and working through Sam’s sermon.
I would say that Smith really started consistently doing his quiet time during the quarantine last spring (small blessings from big problems, no?). Now, he does it early, before school and on his own.
And there’s our sweet Kensington doing her quiet time. Here’s the thing I’ve had to learn as a parent…one size does not fit all. (But geez wouldn’t it be nice if it did?!) Kensington is our night owl. She loves the Lord and I would say is the most active Shull at our church, but waking up early to study her Bible and pray is just not her thing. Do I think that’s how she should start her day? Yes. Does she think it’s better for her to do it at night before bed? Yes. Is that better for her? YES! In (my) ideal world, we would all do our quiet times first thing in the morning, but honestly, that’s just not Kensington. She wants to get cozy at night and settle in with her Bible and prayer journal, so that’s what she does. I love that she does it.
And now for Madeley…
…she will be seven next week and really shows zero interest in doing a quiet time (which is absolutely fine!). About two weeks ago, she told me she was going to take her notebook, Bible and pencil over by Ashby and do her quiet time at the same time. I got all happy on the inside and thought perhaps this will be the beginning of a great habit for her that draws her closer to the Lord, but when she was done, she showed me a sketch she had drawn of a “fancy girl” in a “party dress”. God bless.
Basically, our family is still a work in progress 🙂 .
Quick thoughts/facts/answers to DMs before I share some resources:
1: Andrew and I always try to lead by example, but at 4:00 AM, my kids are asleep so there is no “leading”. Because of this, we talk to our kids about what we studied in our Bibles that morning, what we were praying about, etc so that they’re reminded that in the wee small hours, Mom and Dad are reading God’s words. I have started to leave my Bible, Bible study and prayer journal on the kitchen counter (open) during their breakfast so that they can see it out. I honestly think one out of every three days or so, at least one (if not more) of the kids will ask me what I studied which will prompt a good conversation. Just having the Bible in front of them seems to be working really well…which leads me to…
2: We are obsessed with the YouVersion Bible app over here. If you don’t have it, you should get it. I use it multiple times a day, I often do their Bible studies off of it, I connect with my church on there, it’s so user-friendly and AMAZING. Our pastor uploads his notes each week, so that you can follow along on the app while he preaches and even take notes on there too. It’s so amazing. Buuuuuuuut…about a month ago, Madeley asked me why Andrew and I “played games on our phones during church”. Ouch. We were not playing games, we were following the sermon and taking notes, but when you’re in first grade, it appears like you’re playing a game, so I stopped using the Bible app in church and only use my actual Bible now so that Madeley can see. Just food for thought. Andrew is stubborn, told Madeley that’s not what he is doing, showed her the app and is not changing his ways… 😉 .
3: We don’t insist/make/shame our kids into studying God’s word and/or praying. I honestly think our kids just see how important and effective it is for us to study the Bible, pray and live in peace, that they want a piece of that too. We also go to an amazing church that encourages kids to read their Bibles each day too.
4: Hi, my name is Shay and I don’t really love “praise and worship” music. I love Jesus…I don’t really love the radio stations that play contemporary Christian music all day long. I’m sorry. Again, I do love Jesus though. When Smith was about three, he could sing an entire Katy Perry song. I was so proud. And frightened. Clearly, what I was listening to in the car was getting into my baby’s head, so I better start filling it up with the Lord. I try really hard to play those contemporary Christian radio stations in my car as I’m driving my kids around because they do prompt SO MANY GREAT CONVERSATIONS. I also love how my kids can sing the lyrics to almost all of the songs. It is a special, special time that I’m hoping is making a forever difference in their life. (FYI: as soon as they exit the car, I do change the station to something else 😉 )
5: We stopped turning on the TV in our house before school a few years ago, and that’s helped out so much. My kids are so much more calm, the house is quiet, they accomplish so much without the distraction of the TV, basically everything is better with the TV off. EVERYTHING. I cannot stress how much this has helped our mornings.
So, there’s a little look at our kiddos’ quiet times and routine. Here are some of the references that have helped us over the years…
If your girl is creative, she’ll love this devotional!
Smith completed this one and loved it!
This is the Bible we bought for Kensington (in 2016) and Ashby (this year), and they love it!
This is the Bible that Smith and I both use. It’s always the one I recommend!
I’ve worked through this The One Year Bible two years and love it!! If you’ve ever wanted to read the Bible from beginning to end, this is what I suggest!
Here’s the YouVersion app that we love 🙂 .
Every holiday season, I like to do an Advent-style study, and this year, I’m going to do this one! I will begin Our Hope Has Come right around Thanksgiving, so if you want to join me and do it too, I would love that!!!
And finally, you’ve seen me talk about this Prayer Journal for Women approximately 400 times. I love it. I’ve gifted this to so many people! I think you’ll love it too!
Whew! So, thoughts? Ideas? Tips? Suggestions? I’m all ears, friends! I love that this community can come together and encourage each other to create homes where Jesus comes first!! xx