Toddler years can be incredibly fun. Watching your child grow out of the baby stage and learning new things everyday is amazing. Every little thing you teach them is absorbed, like water to a sponge – you might not see that it’s going in, but it is. They observe, learn and in a large degree copy what we do. I’m talking specifically about the 18 month to pre-school age group. They don’t have the ability to process difficult concepts like faith or social propriety but they do love to copy other people and try new things.
It would be easy to say ‘they’re too young to know what God means’ or ‘they’ll have enough time to learn about those things when they’re older’. But I have to disagree. I think this is the perfect time, and it is easier than you think. Here are 3 simple steps to make God real to your toddler.
- Teach them to give thanks for food before every meal and snacks, where possible. It can be as simple as using a little rhyme (Thank you for the birds that sing etc) or just teaching them to say AMEN after you give thanks yourself.
- Bring them to church! Seems obvious but it is very easy to understand why many parents take turns attending services. Toddlers are hard work and very loud in quiet places! Unless you have a dedicated creche facility it can feel like a futile exercise bring little ones into church. But in bringing them even once on a Sunday you are setting a good example of what is normal and what is expected of them as they are part of your family.
- Adapt family worship time so they can be included. I know not all of you will agree with me on this. I can live with that. But here’s my take on it. If we only have family worship with the adults and children who are old enough to participate, then we have totally missed the the teaching of Jesus when it comes to the teaching of children. Even if it means singing choruses and having a very short bible story, rather than having a serious structured lesson, then we have allowed the little children access to Jesus. At very least we have set the good example of regular ‘family altar’ time, but at best we have started laying the foundations of their faith. “Faith cometh by hearing” Romans 10:17.
These are just 3 simple but highly effective ideas. Do you have have any more thoughts on how we can introduce our toddlers to God? Please feel free to get in touch via comments below!
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