As a mom to a young toddler, I often worry that I am too focused on pivotal things when I should more focused on Christ. My daughter learns from me and I need to be the Godly role-model that Wild Child deserves. So I sat down the other day and began thinking about ways to encourage her little mind to be more focused on Jesus is (even though we are still working on not eating crayons). I just think that it is never too early to encourage faith and begin a life-long relationship with Jesus. I asked a few friends, spoke with the elders at my church, and simply thought of the things from my childhood that helped my faith strengthen.
1.) Pray in front of and with your child daily
Most moms know that routines are huge for toddlers and truly help with their understanding of the world. Pray should be a part of the routine. It doesn’t matter when or even where, pray should be something your child hears and sees when possible. You can pray before dinner, before bed, or anytime in between. Nervous about praying out loud? Your toddler doesn’t care if you give a church-ready detailed prayer, it is just important that you are talking with Jesus and that your toddler knows that they can talk to him too.
We pray before bed each night, we thank him for our day and then pray for our family and friends. Wild child likes to cuddle during this time and gets cranky if we don’t do it. I love seeing her shut her little eyes while I talk. One day she will be the one talking because she has heard me so many times.
She is still developing her understanding of language and this is another opportunity for her to listen and repeat. On that same note…
2.) Read books about God and Jesus
There are so many wonderful books out there about Jesus geared towards young children. We love to read in our house, wild child picks up books and turns the pages while she speaks in her own language. This can go on for hours so what better to do then stick some wonderful books about Christ in her rotation? We read aloud, look at pictures, and I ask her questions that she may not understand just yet. Connecting Jesus with her book time allows us to talk about faith. Even if the verbal part of the conversation is pretty one-sided now, I know she is listening and learning. Check out a few of our favorite books in the amazon link below.
3.) Be Godly in front of your toddler
Children learn not just from what you tell them, but from what they see you doing. They are sponges and absorb more of what they see you doing than what you may say to them. Don’t pass opportunities for your child to see you do good for others, even if it is just a small gesture, your children pick up on it. Pray for others, hold doors, smile to strangers.
4.) Arts and Crafts
I know, you’re probably thinking, ‘how does this help show toddler the love of Jesus?” Children love play and creating things, allow them to draw pictures of Jesus. Make crafts that make the joy of faith fun! Here is a link to a great list of bible crafts to do with your wild child (you will need to scroll down before you get to the list of crafts, but they are there!)
5.) Remind them that Jesus (and you) loves them
Toddlers and children get into trouble, they do things that get them into trouble and sometimes you get mad. Children are eager for acceptance and love, so it is very important that they understand that regardless of their behavior (even though it should be changed in the future) they are loved by Christ and they should love him. Tell them the stories of the Bible so that they see how Jesus loved them and continues to be them. Not only will this make them feel loved, but they will grow to be secure in themselves because they know they are loved.