1. It’s never too early to begin reading the Bible to children. From a very young age establish the routine – Bible, bath, bed (or bath, Bible, bed).
2. Establish a regular time when you read the Bible with your child (breakfast, dinner or bedtime).
3. Regular and short is better than irregular and drawn-out.
4. Use age-appropriate Bibles (see recommended list).
5. Repetition is fine – children often want to hear the same story again and again.
6. As children grow older vary what you do – use bought material (see recommended list) or read a passage then ask: What do you like about the story? What questions do you have about the story?
7. As children grow older, encourage everyone in the family (adults as well as children) to ask one question about what’s being read, then pray together about what you’ve learnt.
8. If you’re regularly away from your children, establish the pattern of reading the Bible with your children over Skype.
9. Be creative – draw, dramatise or retell the Bible story. Use dress-ups, Lego, toys, collage, paint, playdough …
10. Be sure to read books like The Big Picture Bible Story that teach the Bible’s big story to help children see that the Bible is not just a collection of little stories but one big story. And that Jesus isn’t in just parts of the Bible; the whole Bible is about Jesus!
Top Children’s Bibles
The Beginner’s Bible, illustrated by Kelly Pulley (a must-have for children aged 3 to 6 years)
International Children’s Bible, published by Nelson Word Bibles (a must-have for children aged 7 to 11 years)
The Big Picture Bible Story, by David Helm (teaches children the Bible’s big story)
The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd Jones (helps children see that whether Old or New Testament, the Bible is all about Jesus)
The Action Bible, by Doug Mauss and Sergio Cariello (the best comic Bible, especially helpful for boys aged 8 to 11)
Sandy Galea is the founder of Kidwise, a leading source for children’s resources. Kidwise.com.au