One of the first realities young parents discover is that those little bundles of joy don't come with an instruction manual. Parenting is a tough, 24-hour a day job. It's important to carve time out for your spiritual lives. While it might be stretching it a bit to say that the Bible is an instruction manual for young parents, it does offer plenty of inspiration and practical wisdom for young parents to draw from.
Personal Bible Study
As young parents, it can be hard to make time for personal devotions. Do it anyway. Throughout your day, you will be pouring yourself into your little ones, doing your best to meet their physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Carve out a little time for just you and God. Schedule this for when the kids are in bed. If your babies aren't on regular sleep schedules yet, you can still sneak a few minutes while they nap. Turn off the cell phone, TV and other distractions and make it a point to have some quiet time with God.
Family Bible Study
The best way to have family Bible study time with young children is to make it part of the schedule. Family Bible study time with young children can be a lot like story time. Most children love having stories read to them, and even those who don't will usually tolerate reading together for a few minutes, especially if you make it a regular part of their day. Choose Bible passages appropriate to kids. Stories from the Gospels, Acts or the Old Testament are generally better than doctrinal passages from the epistles, especially for younger kids. Keep family Bible study time short. You don't want to overdo it with young attention spans.
The Right Tools
Christian bookstores and church libraries are full of targeted Bible study materials and study Bibles aimed at people of all ages and walks of life. Choose Bible study materials that fit your family's ages and temperaments. Do you want spiritual messages mixed with a little levity and fun for the kids? Pick something with a "VeggieTales," "Gaither's Pond" or similar cartoon-character related presentation. Are you looking for wisdom to keep yourself balanced while surrounded by ankle biters? Choose something geared specifically toward young adults/parents such as Stormie Omartian's "Power of a Praying Parent."
One of the best ways to cement the biblical concepts your child hears in your devotions into her heart is to incorporate them into your play. You can do this by acting out the stories with dolls or action figures. If the stories go off in different and amusing directions, that's fine. You can always bring the play back around to the general concepts (e.g., forgiveness, faith, living your neighbor) learned in family Bible study even if the story line in your playtime veers significantly from the Bible story.
Young Parents Group Bible Study
Many churches have MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) or similar groups that offer activities and group Bible studies geared toward young parents. If your church doesn't have a group Bible study for young parents, consider starting one. If your church doesn't have enough young parents for a group Bible study, consider contacting other churches in the area and starting a community Bible study for young parents. Arrange for child care. Teens or older adults might be willing to volunteer to watch children while the adults get together. Alternately, you can hire someone. Most young Christian parents are willing to chip in a few bucks to have a little time with other adults for Bible study.
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