There are a lot of “goals” Matt and I have as far as parenting goes, but one that is super important to us is teaching Asher Wade about Jesus from an early age….like NOW. We figure that someday he’s going to be a grown, independent child/teenager/adult, and we want to give him a solid, faith-based foundation so that when it comes time to make his own decisions and walk his own path, those decisions and that path will always include Jesus. We want to afford him every opportunity to believe in and accept Christ so at least we can say we did our best.
It’s hard trying to figure out how to introduce Jesus to a toddler. I’m not that creative (read: my idea of creativity is buying something off Etsy from someone who IS), so you aren’t going to see crafts and games and other Sunday school inspired activities around this household, but I’ve realized that teaching him about Jesus happens more when we show Jesus…through our words and actions and behaviors. Asher Wade learns about Jesus simply by watching how Matt and I interact, how we talk to one another, how we treat other people, how we talk to him…the words we say and the behaviors we exhibit. Not a lot of thought has gone in to any of these things because it’s just how we carry on our day-to-day lives, which is one of the easiest ways to teach about Jesus. We still try to put some intentionality in our teachings though. Here are some other easy ways to introduce Jesus to your toddler:
1. Stick bible verses EVERYWHERE. If you come over to our house you will see no shortage of scripture. We have plates and canvases and wall decor that have beautiful verses painted on them and they are hanging throughout our home. We have a huge chalkboard in our kitchen that I write verses on. Once AW gets older I’ll start letting him pick out a “weekly verse” to include on the chalkboard, with the stipulation that he has to memorize it. There are also several verses sprinkled throughout AW’s room. Even if he only learns the verses he sees around our home, that’s better than nothing.
2. Say grace before meals and do bedtime prayers. Obviously Asher Wade can’t repeat these yet, but boy does he watch us and pay attention. Eventually he will start saying them with us. Besides the simple memorization prayers, I also want to encourage him to get comfortable praying throughout the day as a need arises. I myself am guilty of sometimes making prayer a very formal thing, only done at certain times, but I want to encourage Asher Wade to understand that he can talk to Jesus whenever and wherever. After all, as with any relationship, it shouldn’t only be evident during certain times.
3. The Jesus Storybook Bible. I LOVE this children’s bible. It includes some of the best bible stories, geared towards children, with easy to follow words and beautiful pictures. I also love the YouVersion Bible App for Kids. It will actually read bible stories aloud to you and eventually he can read bible stories himself. Very interactive and has beautiful pictures and colors.
4. Play Christian music in the car. We spend a lot of time in the car between morning/afternoon commutes and running errands, and I try to keep praise and worship on for the most part. As far as AW knows, there’s really not any other radio stations other than The Message;)
5. Going to church. This is a no-brainer, but it’s definitely worth a reminder. As with everything, consistency is key. Even though Asher Wade goes to the nursery and is not old enough to attend children’s church yet, he’s still surrounded and cared for by lovely women that have hearts for ministering to the children of the church. They serve in the children’s ministry because they truly have a passion for teaching the children about Jesus. I am so, so grateful for the amazing children’s ministry we have at our church and it’s of my personal opinion that when deciding on a church, that should be a huge focus. Not only do you want church to be a consistent part of your week, but you want your children to enjoy going. I can’t wait until he’s able to go to children’s church. They have their own live band, pastor and everything…all geared towards little hearts and minds:-)
What are some other things y’all do to teach your young children about your faith??