For many parents, knowing when (and how) to start talking about faith can feel daunting. Here’s a hint: you’re over-thinking it. There are so many easy ways to start incorporating your beliefs into your child’s every day life!
Let someone else do the work for you! I use books to introduce almost everything to my little one.
Potty training? There’s a book for that.
He’s biting? There’s one for that, too.
Moving soon? Yep.
There is no shortage of faith based children’s books to add to your home library.Look through before you buy, not all books about good things are good books. I say this from experience. Buyers. Remorse. Again, your local library may have a surprising number to check out before buying.
Duh, right? Here’s the thing, if you weren’t raised in a family that prayed out loud this will feel WEIRD. Do it anyway. You can’t pray wrong. Stop worrying about being perfect, after all, understanding that we are all imperfect is kind of a central theme in this whole thing. Try this:
A Thankfulness Tree: List people, places, and things you want to pray for. It can be as simple as saying thanks, or can get more elaborate as your kids age. Bonus, you can also use it as a centerpiece at Thanksgiving.
5 Finger Prayer: There are many versions of this, but the goal is always to serve as an outline to help guide beginners through prayer. Each finger reminds your child (and you) of a specific topic to pray for. Search it online and see which version works for your home.
Nothing beats watching them take over prayer time. The first time our son interrupted prayers with “No amen! Pray friends.”, and then listed all the kids in his church class, I nearly melted. Most nights his interjections are more like thanking God for water towers or his bubble mower. Hey, like I said, you can’t do it wrong.
I promise it’s not ALL annoying! Like any music marketed specifically for children, some of the praise music for kids is flat out annoying. Check with your church children’s ministry staff and other moms – they may have suggestions or even music that you can sample before you commit to purchasing. The public library even has a pretty big collection of music to try out.
Try a faith-based radio station. You might be amazed how quickly you find that it changes the way you approach your entire day. You’ll hear a lot of the same popular songs repeated (like on any channel), but you get to skip the commercial breaks. My Wichita favorites are 90.7, 99.1, and 100.1 One of the best perks of listening to these stations is hearing your kids sing along. You never have to worry that they might be singing lyrics that make you cringe.
Currently pregnant or have a newborn? I can’t say enough about JJ Heller and her “I Dream of You” album. I listened to “I Get to Be the One” every single morning while I was pregnant, and could physically feel my stress levels and blood pressure decreasing as she sang.
Fruits of the Spirit
I always seem to find myself coming back to the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22). Once I heard a mom say that she used them for guidance and discipline in her home. She has the verse posted in her home (calligraphy on barnwood is my dream), and when an issue arose they would read the verse and then the child would identify which fruit of the spirit they were struggling with. Then, they would discuss ways that they could have made a different choice. For younger kids, mom or dad would help with selecting the fruit of the spirit and explaining its impact. For the youngest of kids, I simply use the key term. You hear a lot of “Pulling the dog’s tail was not very kind. Let’s practice petting him gently.” in my house. Boom! Two fruits of the spirit in one!
Children learn through play, so why not have biblical toys as an option? Little People makes an adorable Nativity Scene and Noah’s Ark that kids love. Religious based magnet sets or felt boards (yes, it’s still a thing) can also be fun. You can find-faith based series and characters online, or make them yourself. Pinterest has some great templates if you find yourself lacking artistic skill. These are great to bring into church services if you need to keep little hands quietly busy.
You’ll find toys based off the same handful of popular stories, but it’s certainly better than nothing! Really, that’s what this all boils down to: you won’t be perfect.
Start somewhere. Start anywhere.