November 08, 2010,
K.M. asks from Los Gatos, CA on February 15, 2010
How Do You Introduce Religion and God to Young Kids?
I have a toddler and a baby, I was raised Catholic but I didn't learn about God until I was about 12 (before that my parents had me pray at night and go to church during easter with my aunt but that's about it) then in catholic school they taught me about it. I don't practice religiously (which is sad...) but I try to do good for people, respect my parents, family and others, loyal to my marriage and so on... but I would like to introduce my kids to God, to know there is good out there protecting us and watching us.
Please note that the question is not if I want to introduce God to them but how to do it at this early age. Also, my husband is non-denominational but he is happy that I want to teach them about my religion.
Thank you for reading my post :)
3 moms found this helpful
J.M. answers from San Francisco on February 16, 2010
Start going to church is the best way. They have kids programs that teach them about God and then practice and pray at home with your kids and show them the Bible and that it is God's word.
The very best thing I did was wake up one morning, told my husband I was going to church with the kids, "do you want to go" I asked, he said no you go ahead, I took the kids and haven't missed a Sunday since. It's been five years. Sometimes religion is overwhelming and it's hard to get started kinda like scrapbooking, where do I start - I have so many pictures! The bible and God are the same way, there is so much information and getting started is the hard part. My husband never went to church with us. My kids were a boy 2 years, a girl 4 years and another girl 5 years. They love church and God now and still ask good questions that are hard to answer, like my son asks who is God's dad. But it is baby steps we take in following our almighty God. You can do it and the church and you can teach your kids about God's family.
2 moms found this helpful
E.C. answers from San Francisco on February 16, 2010
Another vote for the Veggie Tales videos/DVDs - many public libraries have them, and they're a very kid-friendly (and entertaining to parents too IMO) means of introducing concepts like being friends with people who are different from you ("Are You My Neighbor"), learning to be thankful for what you have instead of jealous of what other people have ("Madame Blueberry"), how "little" lies can cause big problems ("Larry Boy and the Fib from Outer Space" & "Larry Boy and the Rumor Weed"), and one of my favorites, "A Snoodle's Tale", which embodies the VeggieTales' motto "God made you special and he loves you very much".
You might also want to look around for a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group in your area http://www.mops.org/ - this can be a great way to connect with other moms of young children who also have the desire to introduce their children to God
1 mom found this helpful
A.T. answers from Stockton on February 16, 2010
The Bishop Desmond Tutu wrote a beautiful children's book called "God's Dream" the illustrations are gorgeous and the message is completely universal. My son loves the book - it's very calming, great for bed time and has opened up a dialog about God in a non-scary way. My son was frightened when I tried to tell him angels watch over him when he sleeps ( he had just had a bad dream) He also gets the creeps from the Santa Clause song about "he sees you when you're sleeping..."
My hubby was raised Muslim and I was raised Baptist - we're trying to teach our children about
God and the basics like the 10 Commandments and then let them choose their path when they are ready.
Also, my son is in Kindergarten and he has been hearing about God from his classmates and getting conflicting info. so start the conversation before someone starts it for you! ;)
1 mom found this helpful
H.D. answers from San Francisco on February 15, 2010
Raise a child without religion and they probably won't have one. I can say that from personal experience with my first marriage and older children. We were both very different (Catholic and Quaker) and neither comfortable with each other's church. Now my older children are indifferent. I now wish I had chosen something.
Marriage 2, second set of kids. We sit at the table every night and say Grace, their Dad prays over them before they go to sleep and we go to church (Lutheran service) every Sunday, we talk openly with our children about our beliefs and the beliefs of others. Finding somewhere we related to spiritually has been a blessing to our family. I know that maybe our girls will have the comfort of Faith and are being taught the values of truth, forgiveness and love. Make a choice to go to either his church or yours, don't chose none at all, it will be good for all of you. =) Even a toddler understands kindness and love, that is a great first step.
1 mom found this helpful
A.G. answers from Dallas on February 16, 2010
You've gotten some great responses! We're Catholic and are raising our boys in the Catholic faith, but Holly Bea has some great books for children of any Christian background. My kids love them!
1 mom found this helpful
J.B. answers from San Francisco on February 15, 2010
I can recommend 2 books that I already read to my 11-month-old son:
"What is God's Name?" by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, which is a board book; and "Because Nothing Looks Like God" by Lawrence Kushner and K. Kushner. They aren't any particular religion, just introducing the concept of God.
1 mom found this helpful
C.W. answers from Lynchburg on February 16, 2010
Although my children were raised as catholics...as they have gotten older (eldest three are away at college) I am quite sure they have 'drifted' away!
There is one book...that they all loved...called 'The book of virtues' by william bennet as I recall...that had an assortment of moral 'virtuous' stories from all kinds of sources. Some were short and child centered...some were for 'olders'. There was an index of topics...and I found that I could look there for a story that related to a particular issue/challenge that one of the sibs was dealing with.
The book has turned up missing in my recent move (I suspect my college freshman daughter...lol) so I will make a point of getting another copy!
Hope this helps!
1 mom found this helpful
J.J. answers from San Francisco on February 16, 2010
I agree with books, songs and dvds. I also think it is important to demonstrate your believes through your actions. If your babies see you doing something, they'll know it's important. Verbalizing your thoughts about God throughout the day is important (like previous poster commented) As a Muslim, we pray throughout the day standing and kneeling. I'm sure prayers before meals and bedtime are great. It sounds like you already live with reverance to God and example is the best teacher :)
M.P. answers from San Francisco on February 16, 2010
You can do simple things like:
go to church, and explain whatever they ask about, or is interesting to you
read children's bible stories to them
link God to beautiful and pleasurable things - what a beautiful sunset - thank you, God! or imagine how God made all of these amazing plants, etc...
I don't think it has to be very heavy handed! Just share what you honestly think and believe, when it comes up.
M.J. answers from Redding on November 08, 2010
I love this question.
What we do:
1. We choose a scripture out of the Bible (a good one to start would be Psalm 23) and say it after our main meal every day until everyone knows it. Then we move on to another scripture but quiz each other each main meal on some of the ones we've already learned. Our kids are 8, 5 and baby, and I think the toddler could start to say the scriptures with you.
It is a great way to introduce concepts about God and then you can talk about the scripture and what it means.
2. We have family devotions where we turn on some worship music and dance around the room :) the kids love it. Then we talk about God (there are plenty of devotionals at your local Christian bookstore. Then we pray together. Then I give them a treat. The kids have grown up doing this and it is wonderful.
3. See if you can find a church that is serious about helping you introduce your kids to God at an early age.
I hope this helps - it is pretty exciting and I love the question.
God bless your family!
S.G. answers from Stockton on February 18, 2010
My number one answer is find a church that you like. There are also books you can try...
L.P. answers from Sacramento on February 17, 2010
Perhaps you could get some children's bibles. There are all different kinds and age appropriate...even at the toddler age. You could read the different stories and even though they are young, believe it or not it starts to sink in. Also, in your everyday language to them you could throw in a word or two about God, like "isn't this a beautiful day that God gave us?" or talk about being good to others, etc. Hope it helps.
M.R. answers from San Antonio on February 16, 2010
You have received good advice from all these wonderful ladies. I am a Sunday School assistant to 5th graders & WOW they will come right out and say what they feel about God. Some question whether he is real but kids are intrigued by religion & want to know who,what,when & where? Kids absorb everything & you already know this so like other ladies have previously said, start going to church and find a good Sunday School program for kids, most denominations have Kids based Sunday Schools. It scripted so kids understand who God is at their level. Honestly, I grew up a Baptist and learned quite a bit from Sunday School & VBS but as I got older I sat in with my parents and I found it boring & drifted away until 6 years ago, I became a reborn again Christian & implanting God in our lives daily, allow them to explore & ask questions openly even if your husband does not participate, you will set the example and if your kids see you going to church and speaking of God they will soon follow. I wish you well on your journey with Christ, with him all things are possible. Blessings to you & yours!
B.B. answers from Missoula on February 15, 2010
Does your parish have a Sunday school program for kids? If you were looking for something less structured, my son (he's 2) adores Veggie Tales. They are vegetables that use Bible stories to teach values and are geared for young kids. You might be able to find the DVDs at your local library. My son always has lots of questions about the movies, so he watches then we discuss.
A.S. answers from San Francisco on February 16, 2010
There are TONS of Great kids books on the love of God and the bible! I would start there. Books are great ways for kids to interact with you. (great for answering questions and all.) Another great way is to teach your kids how to "talk to God" by praying together. Short, active prayers are best. Let your child pray too! Let them tell God "thank-you" for their family and friends and whatever else they are thankful for. (sometimes this leads to great prayers of thank-yous for people and places you wouldn't even think of...) There is also TONS of great music out there for kids! Lots of songs about the bible and Gods love. Also, many churches free vacation bible school in the summer. (even with young kids, most churches will let them participate if you stay too.) Let me know if you would like some titles of things I've used. Many Blessings!
C.B. answers from San Francisco on February 16, 2010
I have a five year old son and twin boys that are 15 months. We take our kids regularly to church and have ever since my five year old was about two. If you don't mind the drive and are looking for a great church for parents and kids, you should check out Twin Lakes Church in Aptos. The website is www.tlc.org. I am very comfortable leaving my kids in the Sunday School classes while my husband and I attend the church service. If there is a problem, they flash a number on a screen in the sanctuary, and you just get up and go check on your child. They have a service on Saturday evening at 6pm and two services on Sunday morning (9am and 10:45am).
I've also purchased books and a children's bible for my kids. We pray regularly before meals and before bed. We talk about God while we are out and about. My oldest also attend a Christian preschool which re-emphasizes what we are doing at home.
I hope this helps. If you have any questions about Twin Lakes or anything else, please feel free to email me.
R.M. answers from Topeka on February 16, 2010
It would be wonderful if you could find a church that you and your husband both can relate to, a church centered on Christ and one with a great childrens Sunday School program that would engage your children. Introducing Religion to your children isn't something as simple as teaching to like carrots or teaching their abc's. Christianity isn't just a set of rules and regulations it is a relationship with a living Savior. You could get one of the fantastic childrens bible story books and start using that as your bedtime story book. I used to make up stories for my girls as I was putting them to bed at night, they would always be something with a moral or a character building theme like, kindness, responsbility, showing love, and we would discuss it, at their level. I like to think it was one of the building blocks that turned all three of them into the wise, kind, loving people that they are today!! Most off, model the lifestyle that you want them to develop...children are little sponges...if they hear you and your husband being kind, loving and considerate of each other, if they hear you discussing religion and your relationship with God then they are going to develop those same attributes.
God bless you!!!
M.L. answers from Redding on February 16, 2010
I think the best way to introduce them to God, if you aren't going to send them to Sunday School is by metioning him in every day conversation, then they will start to ask about him and it will open the door for you to give them more details. Also teach them prayers to say at night. I know I find myself mentioning God to my son several times a week with things like marveling at the natural beauty that God made to answering a question of his with "because God made it that way". This month we are trying to be nice/ patient with class mates because God loves us, even when we are not being nice. There are also good biblical coloring books that I find at the dollar store that often have pictures from different Bible stories.
May the pressence of God be with you in all the ways you parent your children.
A.O. answers from Sherman on February 16, 2010
Start by reading bible stories to them. Find a children's bible with fun pictures and kids language and read just like you would a book. Pray before meals. Talk about God in your daily conversations. Our kids are 5, 31/2, and 1 1/2 and we speak about God just like we would another member of our family. We stop and pray when we hear an ambulance or when a friend is sick. My 5 year old will say, so and so is sick, we should pray for them. It's never to early to start teaching your children about the love of Christ. Your children are so luck to have a mama who is willing to do so!
S.B. answers from Redding on February 17, 2010
There is no need to worry about when or how to "introduce" your children to religion.
Religion is a very personal thing and we all celebrate it differently, but I really think you should go to amazon.com and get the Little Golden Books.
There is "My Little Golden Book About God", "My Little Golden Book of Prayers"....there are quite a few. They are really sweet, kind of nursery rhymey and the pictures are absolutely darling. Your little ones will enjoy you reading them, even the baby. There are so many good books, but the Little Golden Book series doesn't get into religion or what it means or the differences between them. They are about God watching over us and being thankful for everyday things. I think they are perfect for little children. They are just super sweet, in my opinion, and it's never to early to read them. Check them out. They are not expensive at all.
My 24 year old daughter still has hers, inscribed with the dates they were given to her as a baby.
There was never a formal "introduction" necessary.
Best wishes and blessings!
B.R. answers from Sacramento on February 16, 2010
Check out a local Christian Bookstore. There are some that are specifically Catholic, but if you don't find one of those, any Christian bookstore will carry story books and children's Bibles that you can read from to give your baby an introduction to the basic Bible stories. Start teaching your child to say a prayer with you before eating meals, and at bedtime. As you go about your day, talk about God in a natural way... for instance, perhaps you are looking at a picture of something in nature... or the actual thing. Say something like "God made the flowers so beautiful." You could also find some CDs of children's religious songs and play them during the day. If you are comfortable with your own religion, it shouldn't be difficult to share with your child. The things you will want to be sharing with your child at this age aren't going to be all that different from the non-denominational beliefs of your husband. You and your husband may also want to find a church where both of you will be comfortable worshiping God together and take your child with you to attend whatever they have in the way of a nursery or preschool teaching experience.
D.J. answers from San Francisco on February 16, 2010
It is never too early to teach your children about prayer. You can also read to them from the Bible or share Bible stories with them. There are great books out there that tell the Bible stories with pictures.
I have three children and have always prayed with them and read Bible stories with them. It is so great when they start to pray on their own.
C.B. answers from San Francisco on February 16, 2010
You could start out with reading from a children's bible book and perhaps getting a CD of children's bible songs.