Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How to teach a young child about God.

Another blogger asked how to start teaching a preschooler about God when church isn't a part of their regular life. It can seem intimidating to teach our children about something so big and vast as God. It can be easy to start though. The best part is that we as mothers can learn more about God, too, as we teach our children!

The best and easiest thing is to simply pick up a Bible and start reading. So many nice children’s Bibles are made now.
  • Our littlest girl (age 2.5) likes Baby’s First Bible. This one is not really a Bible, but a very short board book with verses and text about God and Jesus. I think she likes the cut-outs, the pictures of Jesus and that it has a handle so she can carry it around.
  • She also likes Little Girls Activity Bible for Toddlers. It has cute, short stories, mostly about women of the Bible, and easy activities or crafts you can do at home to go with each one.
  • For a children’s version of the major Bible stories for the youngest children, I like My First Read and Learn Bible, a board book with very short stories.
  • We also have at our house The Beginner’s Bible. It’s similar to the one above, but with slightly longer stories and it’s not a board book. Stories are easy words to read and are short so my 6-year-old reads this aloud.
  • For kids of maybe kindergarten age and up, the very best I’ve seen is Egermeier’s Bible Story Book. It truly summarizes the entire Bible instead of picking out stories here and there. It would still be great for younger kids, but probably only for those who like to sit for stories. Stories are written in smaller print as an adult book would be, and are about a page and a half long with one illustration for every few stories.

I grew up active in church, but by reading to my children, I have learned so much about God and the Bible that I never knew before!

We participate in Sunday School, and that helps the girls learn. At this age, it’s all about hearing some of the major Bible stories, which they’ll hear again and again as they grow (Noah’s Ark, Daniel in the lion’s den, etc.) When I teach Sunday School, my goal is simply to instill in the children a sense of hope in Jesus and that they begin to begin to trust in faith.

Vacation Bible School is also fun for kids. They’re usually short (a few hours a day for a week) and welcome all children.

Another idea is to help children learn through music. Kids love to sing and dance, so we put on children’s Bible songs at home or in the car. Lots of choices are available. Some of the songs my girls remember the most are the most basic such as “Jesus Loves Me.”

Learning simple prayers can help kids learn how easy it is to talk to God. You can start with simple, easy-to-remember ones and say them before lunch or at bedtime. My 6-year-old likes, “God is great, God is good, let us thank him for our food. Amen.” You can teach children to say their own prayers, and that they don’t have to be fancy. If they want to start to learn how to say their own special prayer, you can teach them to praise God, thank God, and ask something of God. You can start by praying for the big things, such as asking God to heal a sick friend, then start to incorporate it into your everyday life.

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