We all know how difficult it can be to get your very young children to sit still and listen to anything, let alone old-timey scripture speak! And to kneel, quietly as a family in prayer? Ummm. . . yeah . . .
Recently though, we've discovered a few tips that make incorporating these righteous daily routines (with toddlers!) in our lives more easy and enjoyable. These things have helped immensely in keeping our little ones more involved and aware:
- Sing the chorus of "Scripture Power" while pumping your scripture set up in the air right before it is time to study scriptures as a family, to let the littlies know it's time to read and that we are all excited about it! :) They will probably pump their fists in the air in excitement, too. It will be adorable.
- Have a picture to show your child(ren) as you read, or a set of scriptures with scripture stickers in them. Ask your child to describe what they see in the picture. Point out how the picture relates to what the words say on the page.
- As you read, ask your child to repeat important (or difficult) words out loud. Explain what they mean as you go along.
- At the end of each scripture passage reading, give a simple summary in happy tones to your toddler(s). Some examples: "When we follow Heavenly Father, He helps us to do what He asked us to do! We are strong when we follow God!" "We love Jesus and He loves us! He knows all about all the hard times we have. Because He know why we feel sad, He knows how to help us feel happy." "The Holy Ghost tells us in our heart what we should do. He tells us to serve each other and to be kind, and that we should share with others."
- Play a family "game" after each family prayer. If everyone (who is able and cognizant of what is going on) has been reverent (or was pretty quiet and didn't bite anyone during the prayer. . .), each member of the family gets to choose something that the whole family will mimic for a few seconds. Some popular ones in our family have been: running in circles, flexing muscles, flapping arms like a chicken, making fishy faces, tickling or kissing a certain member of the family, doing a silly dance move, clapping hands and stomping feet, and so on. You get the idea. (**Credit for this great idea goes to my good friend, Amanda! :))
- After our family scripture study and family prayer and game, we sing one or two calming primary songs before the kids go to bed each night as a final signal to them that bed time has arrived. I am a Child of God, A Child's Prayer, and Families Can Be Together Forever are just a few of our faves. It leaves them - and you - on a happy, spiritual note.
What are your favorite tips for creating righteous routines with your toddlers?