When the school year starts, a lot of transitions happen, and it’s easy to loose site of what is most important for our kids-their growing relationship with the Lord.  It’s good to take a step back as the school year begins and proactively set the stage for the year, so our children continue to grow in their faith, relationship with God, and character.

Here are four ideas to get you started:

1.  Schedule a family devotion time once a week.  Choosing a day where everyone is home over dinner can be a great way to do so.  Family devotions can also look differently depending on the age and personality of your kids.  When our kids were really little, we would do them before bedtime with a children’s Bible, and Puppet Pete would ask the questions.  There were lots of giggles and fun during those early years!  

We currently go through One Year of Dinner Table Devotions, and I am always impressed by the explanation of Biblical truths taught in a way my kids can understand.   Here is my reviw on that devotional plus a few other family devotions to consider!  

As your kids get into the middle and older years, consider having each family member take turns leading a devotion.  Another option is to go throught a book of the Bible together and find truths and commands that apply to your lives and write application or “I will” statements, sharing how you are going to live out those truths.  

2. Use car time for spiritual conversations and learning.  Our car is a FAVORITE time to learn about God.  We often practice memory verses on the way to school, and my kids have memorized chapters of the Bible that way, practicing them together as we drive to school.

If you have kids 4-7, check out A Heart Like Jesus A-Z On the Go for audio lessons with 30 great kid-friendly verses set to familiar tunes and character trait lessons from A to Z to go along with each!  

Christian audio dramas are also a fun, spiritually uplifting way to pass the time!  There are a variety to choose from, and even Christian podcasts are becoming more popular, so check out the link with my reviews!

Being intentional with conversations is another great way to encouage our kids spiritually.  When they have a stressful day at school, feel anxious about a test, or experience a sticky situation with peers, we can talk with them about what God’s Word says and how we can be  like Jesus in each situation. 

3. Find a set time to pray together as a family.  This is a powerful way to go deeper and bring unity to your family, whether it’s praying in the car, over dinner, or at bedtime.  Keeping a prayer list and crossing off answered prayers is a great way to keep consistent at this.  Check out 4 Ways to Pray with Our Children for more ideas on prayer.  

My friend, Beth Meverden, shared a great idea to ask your kids to choose one classmate that they are going to pray for, and pray for them on the way to school.  Praying for others will help our kids focus on others more than themselves and learn to minister to those around them.  Learn more about her resources about being an ambassador at her blog, Train Your Child.

4.  Choose a monthly service project.  In our family of four, we rotate choosing what service project to do as a family each month.  This has looked like baking cookies for neighbors (with my daughter who likes to bake) or praying for dogs at the park (with my son who loves canines.)  It’s fun to see what ideas they come up with, and it encourages the whole famliy to keep a missional perspective and think outside ourselves.

I know there is a lot on our plates as busy moms and dads, and we tend to have less time to invest spiritually during the school year, but choosing one or two of these ideas and scheduling them into your routine will help ensure that your family is connecting spritually and your kids are growing in their relationship with the Lord.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”  Mark 12:30