Easy ideas to introduce God to your young children
Yesterday, Esther came wailing to me because she bonked her head on the edge of our wooden kitchen table. I rubbed the red spot with my hand and asked her if she wanted me to pray for it. “Yes!” she sobbed, with big tears sliding off her full toddler cheeks. I laid my hand on her forehead and prayed, “Dear Jesus, we pray you would heal Esther’s head and make it feel better. In Jesus’ Name, amen.”
The most important thing to me as a parent is to show my children the Lord.
I truly believe our everyday life and everyday conversation is our biggest discipleship to our little ones, vs. formal devotions. Here’s some little ways to show your little people God each day as you go about your daily routine. You don’t have to do all of them. These are just ideas that I try to incorporate in our day when we have time and I have the energy!
1. Start the day by singing a God-focused song when you your child for the first time. Many times this song will be more for you than for them, ha! What a great way to start the day with a spiritual focus!
2. Pray at mealtimes. This is an easy, three-times-a-day moment to turn our attention back to God. I often pray first, as an example, then let the kids pray. Small children thrive on routine – if I forget, they remind me! I love it! And I don’t know about you, but mealtimes with young children for us are often hectic. Everyone needs something non-stop and there are a lot of messes. It’s so nice to have a quiet moment of prayer to redirect our hearts to the Lord in the middle of mealtime chaos.
3. Bible story and prayer at naptime. I start our naptime routine early, so I can have a few minutes to lay beside each child and read them a short Bible story and pray with them. It’s a special moment to STOP in my busy day and be still with my little one and focus on the Lord. (I keep their Bible story book on the nightstand by each of their beds to keep it easy.) I love this naptime routine: I get a little rest, we focus on God, and if I have the energy, I ask them a few questions about the story we read.
4. Pray anytime they get hurt. I am grateful to my mother-in-law, Esther Spina, for modeling this for me with her grandchildren. Anytime a child gets hurt (happens, oh, 143,485 times a day at our house), we pray to God to heal them and make it better. If I ever forget, the crying child reminds me to pray for them – I love that!
5. Let them see you pray. I don’t know about you, but many times, especially with the more children I have, I get overwhelmed parenting. Sometimes, right smack dab in the middle of a parenting conflict, I pray out loud for God’s wisdom in the moment. I.e. Samson has been trying my patience, I will stop right in the middle of the conflict, close my eyes with all the kids watching, and pray out loud, “Lord, please give me wisdom and patience in this moment.” Wow! I think that is so powerful to knock out Satan in the stressful moment, and bring in God’s help. Don’t be afraid to pray out loud in front of your children. It’s good for you and good for them!
6. Talk about God’s weather. Each day, I try to talk about the weather with my little ones and comment about the day God made for us. For example, “Oh, wow! Look at the rain God created today! That’s my favorite!” or “Look at this beautiful sunshiny day the Lord made! Isn’t it wonderful?” This is very simple, but anytime we can weave God into our everyday life, I believe our children will start to see Him as a Constant Companion instead of a character at church.
7. Talk about the Bible lesson from church. Use the Sunday school take-home craft or coloring sheet as a springboard for discussion at your next mealtime. If they don’t bring anything home, ask their teacher what Bible story they studied. Or if they stay in church with you, discuss the sermon over lunch. Ask questions about the story and help them apply it to their little life.
8. Bible story and prayer at bedtime. Dave and I are usually exhausted at the end of the day after caring for little ones, so this is a short routine (ha!) but one we try to do together. The whole family gathers in Samson’s blue bedroom, and Dave reads a short toddler Bible story on Samson’s car bed, with kids flanking him on either side to see the pictures. Then we pray for each child individually in their bed, with a hug and kiss good-night.
Stop and Smell: Think of your child right now. Have you stopped to think that God looked throughout the whole earth and chose YOU were to be the parent of your child? No one else. What a blessing your child received when God choose YOU as their parent! Isn’t it exciting to be the first to introduce our Father to our little ones?