mom-with-kids

We all want to raise good kids.  We want our children to be kind and compassionate, loving and forgiving.

How in the world do we teach them these things???  From my experience, we simply cannot do it on our own.  But we can point them to the One who is good, just, and perfect!

Here are just a few tangible practices that I have found helpful in attempting to draw our little children closer to God.

1.  Pray… for yourself.  Let’s face it.  There is no way that we can show the love of God to our children 24/7 without His help!  There are way too many tantrums, spilled glasses of milk, and altercations between siblings to keep us from losing our head in our own humanness.  In addition to praying fervently for our children, we also need to pray that we can be the parents God has called us to be!

My favorite prayer lately has been adapted from Romans 8:11.  “Lord, the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is living inside of me this very minute.  Surely you, Oh God, can help me handle this (tantrum, fight, vomit-fest) with grace and love!”

Talk to God throughout the day.  Although I think it is still  beneficial to have a chunk of time dedicated to prayer during the day (like in the morning or right before bed), I’ve found it’s essential to pray ‘breath prayers’ throughout the day (which often are uttered more like pleas for help).

2.  Pray with your children.  There is nothing more precious than hearing a prayer from the mouth of a child!  Even when my 2-year old’s prayer consists only of “Dear God, In Jesus Name, Amen,” my heart still leaps for joy that he is beginning a lifelong process of being in communication with our Creator.

Children need to hear prayers demonstrated in a variety of settings and from a variety of people.  They also need opportunities to say their own prayers, even though they might not fully understand what prayer really is just yet.  After Christmas this year, we saved all of the Christmas cards and put them in a drawer in our kitchen.  Every now and then, we will pull out one of those cards and pray for that specific family.  Just the other day, my 4-year old son came to me in the middle of the day with a Christmas card in his hand, asking to pray for that specific family because he had heard one of their children was sick.

Pray for boo-boos, pray for fears during the night, pray for sick pets… nothing is too small to pray for, especially when your child initiates it!

3.  Hide God’s Word in their Hearts.  Up until this last year, I was not all that convicted of the need to memorize scripture.  After all, we can open the Bible whenever we need to, right?  In the last several months after a series of circumstances; however, I now see the great and lasting benefits of memorizing God’s Word.  I want our children to grow up with a love for the Word and simple passages that they can recall whenever faced with a situation or problem… or perhaps when they just need some encouragement!  We have been working on memorizing one new scripture each week with our two boys (4 and 2).

We are currently working through these ABC Scripture Cards I created, with one scripture for every letter of the alphabet.  We typically work on it together as a family immediately after dinner a few nights each week, while we’re all still sitting at the table, for a total of 5 minutes or less.  And much to our embarrassment, we are normally asking our 4-year old for help!  He remembers the scriptures, along with their references, MUCH better than we can!

4.  Make Bible stories come to life.  Move over fairy tales… the stories and miracles recorded in the inspired text are extremely captivating to little ones and they are all true (we especially love reading the Jesus Storybook Bible with our boys)!  Our boys want to hear the same story over and over again.  Knowing we have two boys, you could probably guess that their favorite story is ‘David and Goliath.’  We can’t just read David and Goliath anymore, though… now it must be dramatically recreated in our living room.

5.  Demonstrate small acts of kindness every day.  I am currently working on a goal of doing a small but intentional act of kindness each and every day.  I am extremely selfish by nature, so this is something that God and I are working through together… and so far, I’m not doing very well!

Involving our kids in small acts of kindness, whether planned or spontaneous, shows our children how to think outside of themselves and their desires.  Perhaps it’s delivering brownies to an elderly neighbor or making a “get well” card, or taking time to call a friend… we all need opportunities to put someone else first!

What about you?  What do you do to draw your little one closer to our God?

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34 Comments

  1. This is wonderful. My daughter is 2 now & I have been trying to think of how to involve her more in prayer. Thank you.

  2. Love it! I especially love the acts of kindness. We're working on the same thing. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I love these ideas. They're all great!

  4. Love all of it and agree completely. Great post, Jenae!

  5. Crystal M :) says:

    Jenea I so appreciate your words. You truly inspire me in a way that doesn't leave me feeling guilty for all that I have not done with my children thus far. Thank you for your insights and great ideas!

    1. Thank you, sweet friend! I appreciate your kind and encouraging words!! 🙂

  6. That last one is something I don't think has ever even crossed my mind. (Well, we did write a little thank you note to a friend who brought over some toy trains to pass along, but I don't think my little 2 year old had any idea what he was doing. Who knows!?) But I will certainly try to incorporate this more into our self-centered daily routines. Thanks for the post!! And the laugh. I loved watching that video of your little guy plopping down on his bottom. Too cute!!!

  7. Awesome post, Jenae! I agree with all of these ideas! We too are praying over one family per day that sent us a Christmas card and my boys LOVE that. They keep me accountable and ask me every morning at breakfast "Mommy, who are we praying for today?" It works well for us to read our preschool devotional and pray at breakfast. Thanks for sharing all of these great ideas!

    1. Trina, what preschool devotional do you use? I would love to start the day off with something like that! Thanks for your kind words!

  8. This was awesome, Jenae!! Thanks so much for sharing. I've GOT to get those ABC bible cards!!!

    Hugs,
    Kennisha

    1. Thanks so much, Kennisha! Congrats on finishing your book!

  9. Thank you so much for this post! I grew up in a home where we went to church every Sunday (am and pm), Wednesdays and most Fridays. We learned so much in church but it wasn’t carried over to home. I saw my mom have quiet time everyday but us children never really picked it up. I have amazing parents but looking into the faces of my 4 and 3 year old I just wanted something more for them. I wanted to foster a love for Gods word, I just had no clue how. I gooogled this topic today and came up pretty empty handed, then low and behold on Family Life lay the answer. God sent this post at just the right time! Thank you again!

    1. Kelli, thank you so much for your kind words! You were equally encouraging to me today! 🙂

  10. Hi. Thanks for posting this. I couldn't help but giggle when I got to the one about "David and Goliath". My boys love that story. Even if we read a different story we still have to look at the pictures from "big Goliath" 🙂

  11. Love the re-enactment!! I was literally laughing out loud and disrupted by husband watching TV! Thanks for sharing the story book. I now have it on the top of my list of books to purchase for my son. He just turned 2 and I'm struggling with ways to introduce him to God at his level. Thank you!

  12. Great advice. Thank you! Although most of the comments are from women, i think it equally important for the dads to be involved…so, thanks for the great advice

  13. This is amazing!! I love these ideas and I can’t wait to incorporate them into our little guy’s life. Thanks for sharing the ABC cards!! Those are awesome. I recently went to a retreat where we did “living scriptures” and I thought how cool it would be to do that with our son, who is 2. I’m so excited I found your site.

  14. Thank you so much for sharing. This is something I struggle with. Am I teaching enough? Is it too much? Your tips are helpful. I especially like the alphabet idea! And yes kids are usually better at memorization. Why is that?!

  15. Great ideas Thanks for sharing! I am going to make the ABC Scripture cards soon.

  16. Loise njuguna says:

    great website i love it all the way from Australia

  17. Okoye obiageli sarah says:

    Gudday gr8 people of God i so much luv d good wrk u people are doin God bless u all

  18. Priscilla Perales Bueno says:

    Awesome post..

  19. Hi Jenae,

    thank you for your post. I have a question and hope you can give me some advice on your third item on the list, memorizing bible verses. I have no idea how to do this with my daughter. she is 3.5 years old now. I want to start doing this with her but do we just keep repeting the verse for 5 minutes or how would you advise? Thanks in advance

    1. We normally work on a verse at the dinner table for just a few minutes. We’ll say a part of it and have our boys repeat it. Then just add a little bit more until the verse is complete…you really will be amazed with how easily your child can memorize it! Keep it 5 minutes or less at a time, so as not to frustrate your child. 🙂

  20. Hi Jenae! I love your Scripture cards!! What a brilliant idea! I would like to speak with you using these on a broader term, is there an email I can reach you at privately? My friend and I have a company and these cards would be GREAT!!!! I can be reached at the email address above if you wouldn’t mind chatting. Thank you! Shannon B

  21. Marian-Stella Agbu- Araka says:

    Well writte,. I wish to add that we should emphasize passages that empower the children. The world is getting more and more wicked, especially to those who have the fear of God & the innocents. Passages that emphasize the almightiness of God like the Creation, the Crossing of the Red Sea, and more, empower and shield the Christian. In a nutshell, let the children be aware of the presence of God at all times. Also, let them be aware of the love of God. Use a swimming pool of foam as an analogy. The Spirit of God surrounds us like we are in a pool of foam. We move & do everything we do in the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God is the air we breathe. So bad persons can’t get to us. Bad luck can’t get to us. Good things only can get to us because God loves us and God has the greatest power. So, He will always protect us.
    Emphasize the Ten Commandments & the Golden Rule simplified to their levels. We will always please this God who loves us, protects us and gives us good things.
    As an educator, I add that you can also integrate academic activities into all these if occasion permits. Never let that interfere with the religious message you wish to impart. Continue with the good job.

  22. Mathews Oluoch Oketch says:

    Very strong messages