I have been slowly (and I do mean slowly!) going through the ABC Jesus Loves Me preschool curriculum with my toddlers for about half a year now.
Even though we have repeated some weeks due to short attention spans, and busy schedules, in that short time, my girls have grown educationally by leaps and bounds! The creepy thing is that Thyme (1 ½ years old) is actually learning right alongside her 3 ½ year old sister, learning her ABCs and 123s and colors and shapes and so on… I had no idea they could learn SO FAST!
I have been meaning to start blogging more about homeschool topics, and after much thought, I have decided to share the VERY FIRST thing we do each morning before we embark on homeschool endeavors… and that is, pray!
If my kids learn ANYTHING from a home education, I think the most crucial aspect as a Christian mom is teaching them how to approach God and talk to their Creator. And before we do anything, we open our day in prayer.
Children are born with faith. Teaching your toddler and preschoolers to pray at an early age is one of the easiest things, and it is quite likey that once you encounter the faith of a child, spending time in prayer with them may teach YOU a thing or two!
Below are three tips for how to introduce your children to prayer:
Model Prayer For Your Children
As parents, our job is simply to demonstrate for our kids how easy it is to talk to God. When a child of any age hears their parents talking to God, displaying an intimate relationship with the Creator, it is already instilled in the child that prayer is simply talking to God and having a conversation!
Children need to know early in their lives that they can talk to God just like they talk to Mommy, Daddy, or a best friend. They need to understand that God is there and attentive to what they have to say. Instead of putting them on hold or playing a recorded message, God is always willing to listen – whether they are on the playground, at a friend’s house, in the car, or at church.
One of the first ways children learn the importance of prayer is hearing their moms and dads pray.
Encourage Your Toddlers to Pray With You
My three year old loves to pray with me before we start our homeschool sessions every day. She is always so excited to talk to God, and is always so quick to thank God for the mundane things that we take for granted as “grown ups”. It is humbling to see her faith blossom as we talk to God each day before learning the ABCs and 123s.
Aside from homeschool prayers, I always invite the girls to join me in praying for God’s favor, protection, and peace each day. I always make sure we thank the Lord for something specific – a gift, talent, or physical item. It is so precious to see the girls so eager to express thanks for things they have in their life, from the big things to the tiny details!
Introduce Different Types of Prayer
The main topic of our prayers are thanksgiving in nature. I encourage the girls to express thanks for things from the food we eat, the family we have and the gorgeous day. You can learn a lot about your toddler just listening to what they are thankful for, because they want to thank God for everything and I do mean everything!
But it is also important to teach toddlers to pray for healing by praying over their hurts, pain and sicknesses. Teach them to pray for forgiveness, by helping them to pray when they have sinned. Teach them to pray for others by sharing prayer request with them and praying together.
When your day has prayer throughout it and it includes your children at their earliest age, this alone will be the tools needed to teach your toddlers and preschoolers to pray on their own.