5 Ideas to Instill Truth in Your Toddler

Family Bible Study Time

Family Bible Study Time

"In the beginning God"..Honey, look at mommy, listen, ok?

Ehem.

In the beginning God cre- young man, get your finger out of your nose. No, listen, ok, thank you.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without, JOHN! will you please leave your sister alone and listen?

Ok, one more time, the earth was without form and void, and God said......And God saaaiiiddd...

.....Ok, we're done. You guys are not paying attention. This is the B-I-B-L-E. You know what...

Do you know what God said? "And God said Children, obey your parents!" Do I need to get Mr. Pow Pow?

Oh Boy...

Ok, so this conversation has never happened in my home. And we don't have a Mr. Pow Pow (totally snagged that from Courageous, a highly recommended Hendricks brother movie about fathers living out their faith as they lead their families). But I have had similar moments attempting to have a family Bible study with my 3-year-old, 15-month-old and 3-month-old. Let's just say it that I'm not really sure how much any of us are getting out of our time with the Lord.

And I'll be honest, it's frustrating. It makes me want to shelf the whole process until one day...far away...when the kids are older...

Much older...

But God is incredibly clear throughout all of Scripture that every day is to be lived for him. He is also clear that we are to be teaching and admonishing (a friendlier sounding word for warn and reprimand) each other and our children daily in the Lord and in His Word. Check this out:

•And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:6-7

•Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him. Psalm 128:1

•You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully. Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees! Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands. -Psalm 119:4-7 (NLT)

•I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3

...and of course,

•All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for corrections and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16.

We know that God says much more than even these sentences in His Word. But this is a good start to catch the tenor of his character and will. The two that best renew and refresh my mind as I write this post are the first and the last.

So often, as I chose to be apathetic in my own walk, I am also apathetic in training my children in righteousness. But God says that we are to be diligent, consistent, humble and gentle, becoming complete (being sanctified) through the study and working out of his Word. To slack in this area not only does us an injustice, but it retards the spiritual growth of our children, whom we have been charged to care for and raise. This is serious.

There is Hope!

There is Hope!!

So, how can we follow through on God's commands to teach his word diligently to our children? Especially if our children barely even speak English?

I will give you 5 things that I have been implementing in my home of three kids 3 and younger.

1. Pick a verse that covers a need and read it at every meal until it's memorized. Example: Scared- Isaiah 41:10

2.Chose your content wisely: Books and TV

3. Pray together

4. Just Read

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Pick A Verse

Pick a verse

"Mommy, I scared," or "No, it's scary," or even, with many thanks to Veggie Tales, "Giant Gord? It's scary," (And no....she's not saying the giant gourd is scary...in her mind, I am the Giant Gourd...and she is, most adorable, Jr.Asparaguss) are the words I hear out of my daughter's mouth pretty consistently during the day.

In response to this fear I searched out some scripture in the Bible, listened to a few Adventures in Odyssey episodes, and decided that Isaiah 41:10 would be our remedy for her fear. (I have to say, my kids and I listen to and watch adventures odyssey every day. We even play it while we sleep...yes, even me! and my husband! Not ashamed. They are great!)

Now, I know she's only 3. So memorizing verses probably isn't at the top of her list. But every breakfast and lunch (ok, I miss a few meals here and there...and pretty much the whole week I spent trying to get this blog up and running) we read the verse a couple times through and I "explain" it to all three of my kids. Sure, they don't seem to be listening. But kids pick up on things when we least expect it. Stay strong!

Choose Your Content Wisely

Choose Your Content Wisely

It's important to pay attention to what we're allowing into our minds and also into our children's minds. The Bible says,

Finally, my brothers and sisters, always think about what is true. Think about what is noble, right and pure. Think about what is lovely and worthy of respect. If anything is excellent or worthy of praise, think about those kinds of things. (Philippians 4:8)

So, instead of turning on something that could potentially harbor some precarious behavior or themes, I go to our RightNowMedia account (or, if you're not interested in that, have a stash of kid-friendly, faith-promoting media on hand). And instead of just picking out any old book or game, I try to find things that promote godly thinking. I don't mean to say that we need to find children's books that lay out the hypostatic union and eschatological timelines (I was just trying to think of biggest words I knew....impressed? It was a little challenging! 😉 ) But I am saying that we need to watch for things that will teach them and grow their understand of life in relation to the Creator.

Pray Together

Pray together

Ever heard the saying, "the family that prays together, stays together"?  I'm sure most of us have. It's catchy! But I think it's also, in principle, true. But some may say, "how can you pray with a three-year-old?"

Well, my daughter has just been picking it up. I'm not sure what goes through her head when she thinks about God or hears the name, Jesus. But she sees her father and me pray. She puts her hands together to pray and mumbles the names of her friends and family when we sit together at breakfast to ask God to bless mommy, daddy, grandmother, etc. And she even sits on her bed and prays just like she sees Jason and Michelle off the fantastic TV show, Penguins, doing after they've had their adventure of the day.

She's learning that there is someone to converse with. And she's learning who that someone says He is. And she's learning what it looks like to converse with the Creator and Savior of her soul.

I'd say that's pretty important!

And even more so, I'd say that it shows us that children learn from what they see us doing.

Jesus taught his disciples to pray. But he didn't just tell them how to pray, he modeled it for them as well. (I'll prob write a blog post specifically on this at some point, it's just that important to the fresh walk!)

So just start praying with your kids. And even more so, allow them to see and maybe even hear you conversing God as well.

Read Together

This one seems a little hard. Small children are always doing something. They learn as they move and play. So sometimes just reading the Word out loud to them feels like talking to air. But trust me, they learn. Have you ever noticed how your kids seem to suddenly know the theme song to a show you watch, or they've suddenly learned how to say a certain phrase or word, or even how to do a task or skill? Did you always sit down and teach it to them? Or if you did, did they always sit and listen politely?

As a mother of three young children 3 and under, I think it's safe to say that kids learn even when you're not actively teaching (as in classroom style). They learn because they absorb everything. So read. Read the Bible to them. Read them children's stories that promote thought and foster a curiosity towards the Creator and hunger for Truth. Read to them because it will begin to set in place a habit for the future. Read to them because it will saturate their hearts and minds with the renewing and life-altering Word.

Walk Your Talk

We all know that we often do things we hope our kids don't pick up on and practice. We've also seen that there are things we do, like praying, that our kids see and we hope they will practice! So this last one is an easy concept, although admittedly harder to implement. We have to model our faith. And we have to be growing. What kid is going to maintain interest in a picture of a ball? They will instead turn to the ball they can use. And, to take the analogy a step further, if there's no ball around, they'll find the next best thing to hold their attention. Maybe a pair of scissors? Maybe the front door or even the house down the street.
Our faith needs to be in motion. Growing, moving, working itself out in a visible way that our children can be witness to.

Study:
As a family, sit down and talk about areas of sin or areas of needed growth and search out Scripture to help. Find key stories, characters, and verses. Maybe pick a verse to hang on the fridge or on a wall in the home to memorize. If kids are younger, pick stories and verses for them and go over them until they are understood.
Tools: Coloring sheet, Bibles, right now media, shepherding a child's heart, Together: Growing Appetites for God (True Woman)
Let's hold each other accountable. Leave a comment below.
Your friend and fellow servant,
Em

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