My family is quite young, with our oldest being 4 1/2 and our youngest being only a month old. Because of this, family scripture study isn't always the most spiritual experience. But they key is to be consistent.
In the October 2009 General Conference Elder Bednar said: "Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study, and each family home evening is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls. No one event may appear to be very impressive or memorable. But just as the yellow and gold and brown strokes of paint complement each other and produce an impressive masterpiece, so our consistency in doing seemingly small things can lead to significant spiritual results... Consistency is a key principle as we lay the foundation of a great work in our individual lives and as we become more diligent and concerned in our own homes."
Remembering to be consistent is what sometimes keeps me going despite my "Bedlammites." Not all scripture reading sessions are a spiritual experience (in fact, very few of them are), but we are building the foundation.
So, how DO you do scripture study as a family when you have young children? For us, the answer is different depending on each child. Right now, honestly my 1 month old baby is not involved in scripture study. If she's in the room while we are reading, it's great, but if she's asleep - so be it!!
My 2 1/2 year old son is read to every night from this Board Book set of scriptures. This is how we started with my daughter as well. He listens to one page (which for a long time has been all he could do) and we talk about it (time permitting). We started reading to him from this book when he was about a year old (perhaps younger, I'm not sure). Now that he is older, he is almost ready to move on to more difficult text. When my baby is ready this is the text we'll start her out on.
My 4 1/2 year old daughter is read to from the illustrated scriptures each night. We read her one story and also talk about it. We started using these scriptures with my daughter sometime between ages 2-3 (again, mommy memories are not perfect). Soon we'll stop using the board books with my son and have him read with his sister out of the illustrated scriptures.
*With both of these sets of scriptures everyone is in the room together at the same time and we follow up scripture reading with a prayer. We also have purchased all 4 books of the Board Books and all 4 books of the Illustrated scriptures (Old Testament, New Testament, Doctrine and Covenants, and Book of Mormon). We rotate through the different books.
When my daughter begins to read on her own, I fully intend to switch her scripture reading to the actual Book of Mormon. Eventually all our children will be old enough to read it.
I know however, that some families start right off with the scriptures, instead of the illustrated or board book versions. Whatever works for your family is what is right for you!! But, please, share your ideas.
How do you read scriptures as a family?
Do you read each night or morning?
How did you decide how to do your scripture reading?
Do you read with your spouse as well either before your children wake up or after your children are in bed?
What are some ideas for making scripture time as a family enjoyable and memorable?
Scripture study in our home only takes about 5 minutes, but the key part is that we are doing it and we are together as a family. I know that as we persevere in this we will see the promised blessings down the road.