I was on the Doctrine and Devotion podcast early last week talking about children's ministry. During one of the segments we discussed family worship. Jimmy suggested (and by that I mean he hounded me until I agreed) a quick post on the things we tell our parents here at Redeemer who are struggling to do it. The main reason so many families struggle with this is it's never been taught to them or modeled for them.
One of the biggest ideas to keep in mind is the idea of story. Kids learn best via story. As parents we need to keep in mind God's big story of history and redemption. As we do that, we have to keep reminding our kids (and ourselves) who the hero of the story is, Jesus, because everything points to Him.
1. Keep it short
We suggest aiming at 10 minutes. Parents with young kids will be lucky to get to that mark. With older kids (who ask a lot of questions) it could go longer, sometimes much longer. Don't plan to teach for a half hour, you will lose them at some point. The key elements that should be included is Bible reading, prayer (including confession), and song (even if you aren't musical, read through a song your church uses). Don't do all the all the talking. Ask open ended questions that allow for conversation. Don't be afraid to say, "I don't know," followed up quickly with, "But I'll find out" (and then don't forget to follow up).
2. Keep it scriptural
What you teach should be from the Bible. This should be something God is teaching you (even if you're prepping for it) because then your teaching will be most natural. You can't give them what you don't possess yourself. Always point them to Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:2).
3. Keep it fun
This is the great commodity of kids. As we teach we have to keep it fun. If your kids are crafty, do a craft based on the lesson. If your kids are musical, make up a song about the story. If your kids are actors, act out the story with them. Find creative ways to keep them engaged.