Did you know a child’s basic moral foundation is set by age five? Furthermore, the first three years of life are the most critical for shaping the brain’s learning structure.While science most often uses this information to support educational and social development it is also true of spiritual development. Additionally, even if your child hasn’t learned to communicate yet, he is learning at a rapid rate and makes a captive audience. So, introducing bible truths during the early years helps prepare children for future application of God’s word.
When we had children, my Christian brain, teacher brain, musician brain, and mommy brain all got together and started spitting out some ways to teach my young children about God. And I was amazed what came out. Some was natural and some was learned, but now I know all of it was a gift from the Spirit. I am so thankful God is using me to teach my children about him, and I want to share what has worked!
1. Sing a “Thank You” song (to the tune of, “Head and shoulders, knees and toes”).
Scriptural basis: “Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” Psalm 8:2
Songs have a way of reaching into the deepest parts of our being and solidifying biblical truths. Use this song while playing or saying prayers.
Thank you, God, for loving me
Loving me, loving me
Thank you, God, for loving me
Thank you, God
Additional verse ideas
Thank you, God, for Je-sus…
Thank you, God, for saving us…
Thank you, God, for family…
Thank you, God, for everything…
2. Quote scripture.
Scriptural basis: “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11
Simple verses like, “Love the Lord your God (Matthew 22:38),” “Love your neighbor (Matthew 22:39),” and “Serve one another (Galatians 5:13)” are great for encouraging good behavior and correcting bad behavior. Another option is to say, “Jesus says, ‘Love one another,’” to emphasize that Jesus expects obedience (not just mom and dad). And before you know it your child will be quoting the verses too!
3. Find an appropriate bible story book.
Scriptural basis: “Train a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Story time needs to consist of at least one bible story. There are several good books out there I recommend. First, The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers his Name works great for ages three to five (find it here at Amazon) because it explains how Jesus fits into each bible story. For babies to two-year-olds, we love the Read and Share Toddler Bible (here it is) because the stories are simpler, shorter, and there are even coordinating activities. Another idea is to let your child touch the bible as you read, thus giving him ownership of God’s word.
4. Give God credit for beauty and blessings.
Scriptural basis: “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” Psalm 8:3-4
The next time you go outside, look to the sky and say something like, “Wow! Look at the beautiful sky God created. You’re awesome, God!” And when blessings come, tell your child that God gives us good things because he loves us and takes care of our needs. For example, when God blessed us with the perfect family car a few months ago, we consistently reminded our boys that it was from him. Soon our oldest son started saying, “Thank you, God, for our van!” It was awesome to hear our child give credit to God.
5. Reliably attend church.
Scriptural basis: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25
No matter what you do at home, your entire family needs the support and fellowship of other Christians. And don’t just send your kids to church – go with them. Make it a priority to worship together. Kids are experts on identifying hypocrites so don’t “preach” to them without following through in obedience in your own faith. The routine expectation of going to church is a necessity for your child’s growth in their understanding of Christ.
There you go, folks! If you have other ideas that have worked for your family feel free to share them in the comments.