Recommended for ages 4+
Create Intentional Moments
Family Time Overview
When your child reaches about four years old, it is a great time to establish a pattern of including fun family times in your schedule to foster communication, laughter, and faith formation.
It is important to have a consistent routine of creating intentional moments that will help your family deepen relationships and have faith discussions. Regularly scheduled family time activities are an ideal way to make that happen.
For some families this might be a particular night of the week after dinner. For another family it might be after Saturday morning breakfast. Decide what works for your unique schedule and then protect that time. You might need to say “no” to some good things to make family times a priority. We suggest scheduling a family time experience weekly, but no less than twice per month. Setting and keeping a regular schedule will show commitment and value to all involved.
Plan for success by finding resources to help make your family time a meaningful experience. Below you will find several ideas to help you get started, as well as to find resources for other great ideas. As your child gets older, ask them if there are specific topics they would like to make a part of your time together and let them help plan your activities. Don’t forget that the Bible is the most important resource God has given us to instill truth in the hearts and minds of our children.
Children are more likely to embrace your beliefs and values if they enjoy time with you. That’s why family fun times are an important context for effective faith formation. Be creative by acting out Scripture together, doing crafts, or object lessons that reinforce spiritual themes. Try to avoid becoming overly serious, rigid, or stressed. Remember that this is meant to be fun!
CREATING IMPRESSION POINTS
As you look to launch faith discussions with your child(ren), involve them in the process! A great way to get them involved early on is to have a one-on-one parent/child date. Sit down with them over dessert and look over the ideas on this card. Together, select the best times and places for faith discussions, and the questions your child most wants to talk about.
This helps you launch frequent faith discussions in order to fulfill God’s command found in Deuteronomy 6:6–9: “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your heart. Impress them on your children.”
Invite each child out for a special parent/child dessert date. You might want to send them a nice invitation in the mail just for fun!
On the dessert date, select which of the times and discussion questions below you and your child(ren) would most enjoy.
MEALTIME — Capture moments while eating together
What To Do: After giving thanks for your meal, someone shout “High/Low?” That means everyone around the table must share the high point and low point of their day.
What To Discuss: While eating, discuss any of the following:
What Bible story did you learn at church this past weekend?
Name a favorite Bible character and tell his/her story.
If God wrote a letter directly to you this week, what topic would He address and what would He say?
BED TIME— Give each other a brief blessing at bed time
What To Do: While tucking in for bed, parent or child says “What do I love about you?” The other person must then guess what the person is thinking in one of the following categories:
Something nice about the other person
A fun moment they shared today
Something they appreciate that person did today
What To Discuss: Before falling asleep, ask and answer:
How did we experience God’s goodness today?
Did we need to ask God’s forgiveness today?
What do we want to give thanks for before falling asleep?
DRIVE TIME — Explore God's creativity while in the car
What To Do: Each time you plan to take a short drive, play a game of “I Spy” together—naming several things God created (a flower, a cloud, a blue bird, a cow, etc.)—that you must spot before arriving to your destination.
What To Discuss: On a longer drive discuss any of the following:
We know that God knows our future. What do you hope he sees in your future at age (insert future ages)?
What do you think God wants you to do this week in order to prepare for such an exciting future?
How will you use that future experience as a way of worshiping God with your life?
Finally, be sure to put a date on the calendar to get started with the ideas you choose with your child!
Protect a day and time for Family Time. If you have a family calendar, let your child highlight or circle the day to help build anticipation.
Choose a Family Time theme song to gather everyone together. Spend a little time singing, silly dancing, swinging the kids, etc. to get everyone in the mood for the best part of the week!
Use the Just Like Air Idea Card below to test-drive a fun activity together. Then choose another tool from the Helpful Tools section, which will provide object lesson activities to help you reinforce biblical values and lessons on an ongoing basis.
Idea Card: Just Like Air
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
Let’s gain helpful insights from families that have used the Family Time routine in their home.
Take advantage of these resources as you begin the Family Time routine in your home.
Family Night Tool Chest Series
Big Book of Questions and Answers Series
- Pick a family verse that you want to memorize and say together. Make up or use some fun games to learn the verse.
- Discuss a movie that is age appropriate for your child. Make some popcorn and watch the film together. Afterwards, have a “faith talk” about the choices of characters and other aspects of the story that catch your attention. Check out www.movienightchat.com.
- Share with your child something that God has been teaching you.
- Cook a meal together and use the time for sharing and talking.
- Take time to ask each member of the family to share his or her “high” and “low” of the day.
- Go on a family walk and spend the time praying for each other, the neighbors, or others.
- Capture family prayer requests using a prayer chart or on a refrigerator white board.
- Create impromptu “God-moments” by taking advantage of unplanned and unscheduled opportunities to discuss your faith in the daily routine of life.
YOUR CHILD'S NEXT STEP
As children get older, they become ready for additional steps along Milestones. Set a calendar reminder for your child’s next birthday to return to this page to select their next step. Thank you for becoming intentional about guiding your child’s faith journey!