I believe it is important to teach your children the gospel at home. It is nice to have church, and a lot can be and is learned there, but the bulk of the learning should be done at home. What better way to do this than through the scriptures? We can’t really know the scriptures unless and until we study them. We can’t really follow the teachings and laws of the Lord until we know what those are. The scriptures give us examples of how to live. We can apply the teachings in them to our lives today. They contain standards for moral living. They teach us of the life of Jesus Christ. What a powerful tool!
We study the scriptures as a family each day. Here is some info to get you going.
CONSISTENT TIME and PLACE
For us, family scriptures works best as part of our bedtime routine. Pick a time and place that you know you can be consistent and do it most days.
Our church has these great children’s scripture stories for each book of scripture. You can find Old Testament here and New Testament here. We used to read a chapter from those and then a page in the actual scriptures. The stories are nice for children because it gets them familiar with the scripture stories.
Then we got hectic at night and frankly lazy and went to just reading the scripture stories. This is nice and fine, but I feel like it was a “good” version of a “good, better, best” scenario. Good to be reading something, but I felt like it would be better to read the actual scriptures if we were going to cut something.
So we now prioritize actual scriptures and cut the illustrated book if we need to cut something out.
HAVE CHILDREN READ
I love having children read from the actual scriptures. Anyone who can read gets to read some of what we are reading that night. We first started this when Brayden was in Kindergarten, and I was amazed at how much reading from the scriptures boosted his ability to read. It is an ultimate fringe benefit of having your child read even just one verse a night; your child will become a better reader.
Having your child read will keep your child following along. You can each have your own set of scriptures to read from and take turns reading.
As I was thinking about writing this post, it occurred to me that we should be having a prayer before our family scripture study. It can invite the spirit and calm us all down after we have been trying to get ready for bed (does anyone else get grumpy at bedtime?). We can also ask that we can pay attention and learn what we need to from what we are about to read. It turns scripture reading into a scripture study time.
We end with our family prayer. We all kneel down and take turns saying a prayer each night.
It stands to reason even from a logical level that if you are reading scriptures as a family each night, you will as a whole find you have more love and peace in your home.
Let me caveat, doing something like this with young children (and probably even old children) is not always happy, peaceful, and/or picturesque. Sometimes the kids won’t sit still. Sometimes the kids can’t stop giggling, poking, or moving around. Sometimes you will feel the precise opposite feeling from peace.
This is one of those things that you work on day by day and get those payout moments every so often. One day, your 6 year old will suddenly bring up that scripture we read a few months ago–a night you remember distinctly because you were positive your 6 year old was not paying attention and you wondered why you even bother with this whole thing. Children listen even when you are sure they are not.
I will encourage you and say that most of the time, our older three children (9, 7, and 5) are quite good during scripture study. Brinley (2) is still in that rough age where it is work to get her to be quiet, still, and not a distraction. Efforts do pay off some day.
Do you have family scripture study? How do you do it? What time of day works for you? What benefits have you seen?