Parents have all sorts of questions regarding beginnings for their children. When should your child speak his first word or begin eating solid food? When should she start learning to read or begin learning math? When should your child learn to ride a bicycle or how to tie a bow? Educators will debate and parents will disagree, but the bottom line is that the answers often depend on your child’s individual development.
Is the answer the same regarding spiritual things? Is there a right time to begin teaching your child about God?
The answer is simple: begin at the beginning. Begin at the beginning of your child’s life. From infancy, tell him of the Father’s love. Sing to her the familiar words of “Jesus Loves Me This I Know” as you change her diaper. Play fingerplays with him when he wakes from his nap.
As your children grow from infancy into toddlers, read the Bible to them at bedtime. Use a children’s Bible to pique their interest with pictures and to hold their interest with age-appropriate vocabulary.
Pray with them at meals, pray before bedtime, pray when they first wake in the morning. Pray with them when they’re happy, thanking God for the source of their joy. Pray with them when they’re sad, showing them the importance of running to their heavenly Father first.
Trusting God will not be a foreign concept for your child. Children have a deep capacity for faith. Think about it. You don’t have to teach your infant, toddler, or elementary-age child to trust you. They wake in the morning trusting you for breakfast, for the clothes they’ll wear, for the roof over their heads. They trust you to protect them from harm. After all, what’s the first thing they cry out when they’re scared? Mommy!
Their deep capacity for faith and trust is just waiting for you to direct them to their ultimate Parent. The One who will be there when you can’t. The One who will carry them farther than you can. And, as difficult as it is to understand, the One who loves them even more than you do.
Begin at the beginning to give them a foundation of trust that will never end.
Shameless plug for Faith Basics for Kids: