How to Turn Your Family Devotions from Chaos into Calm

By Jennifer Thorson

When you have young kids, sometimes even the thought of doing devotions as a family is exhausting.

But as a mom who wants to make God’s Word a priority, I realize that hard things are worth it. Maybe you’re in this same place. Over 10 years time, my husband and I have found a few ways to manage the chaos that seems to ensue the moment we attempt to gather everyone together!

3 Tips for Turning Your Family Devotions from Chaos into Calm

I like to use alliteration because it helps me remember, so I give you the three “B”s of family devotions.

Keep it Biblical – There are many free resources on the internet that you can use for devotions, but not all of them are good or full of truth. Ask your pastor or children’s ministry director at your church or a trusted friend or family member for recommendations of Biblically accurate resources. Otherwise you might end up like me, printing out a Scripture memory activity for my kids only to realize it was asking me to utilize verses from a non-Christian publication (I look more closely now!).

If you’d like some ideas for Bible storybooks that accurately portray Scripture, I’ve shared four that are worth recommending and that we use in our devotional time!

Keep it Beneficial – Sometimes family devotional conversations can go down a rabbit trail. The other night, we started out talking about a passage from Job and ended up with the two older kids looking at the peeling skin on the five-year old’s feet (he was recovering from hand, foot and mouth disease). I mean, seriously, people? I giggle now thinking about it, but it sure took awhile to reign everybody back in!

When you’re doing devotions, have a plan. Try to know what you’re going to talk about and some questions or talking points you can ask about the passage you read before you begin. This keeps people on task (most of the time!) and allows you to make family devotions a teachable time!


Keep it Brief – With very young children, I truly believe that it’s not necessary to have an extremely long devotional time. It’s good to weave God’s Word throughout your day and then tie things together by digging into the Scriptures in small batches. If you do devotions in the morning, you can probably get by with a longer amount of time spent but because we currently do ours at night, our kids are less attentive. But we love to end our day with the Bible, so it works for us!

Aim to work up from five minutes’ time to ten or fifteen minutes. You may find that it takes many tries to teach kids to sit, listen and participate. Don’t expect too much or make it a time of frustration by getting upset with your kids for not paying attention. I’ve made many mistakes in this area and I’m learning it’s always easier to have low expectations and keep the mood light.

Sometimes at bedtime we’ll do another devotional with our older two kids that is more tailored to their age or interests. You could also have them read devotions on their own separately after the family time (we currently use this resource with our 8 and 10 year old). Since I’m home with my younger two kids, I can do Scripture memory time throughout the day with them, but it’s certainly fine if they’re simply integrated into the family devotions!

Don’t Be Discouraged!

If you’re feeling discouraged about family devotions, don’t give up! Your children are learning, even if it feels like everything goes in one ear and out the other. There’s less craziness to be found eventually, and implementing these three tips can help! Praying for a calm and receptive spirit in your children is so helpful too!

As you cultivate the habit of having family devotions, your kids will become used to gathering during that time, resulting in less chaos and more Christian growth.

Looking for more ideas to get you started? Minno has an amazing resource for families called 5 Minute Devotionals! Each of these themed devotionals can be delivered straight to your email. Some are video based (like Old Testament Heroes) and others we print out.

My personal endorsement:

We have used several of these 5 minute resources with our kids (ages 2-10). They’re great for a quick breakfast devotional time too! Minno’s latest 5 Minute Family Devotional series is on the Life of Jesus! Sign up for email alerts and get four new devotionals each week emailed directly to you over the next month. You will love them!

Your family can dig deeper into Bible knowledge and Christian living when you subscribe to the Minno streaming service! Minno is the only streaming video app designed specifically for kids where God is real and His Word is true.

Minno is a great way for parents and kids to spend time watching and learning together, and then talking about Jesus and their faith. The cost is only $4.99 a month or $39.99 for a whole year (price will go up October 1st to $49.99 for the annual subscription). It has become such a blessing to our family!