This may sound like a strange topic but I know it’s something that I was very much unaware of how to navigate. Obviously I can’t remember back to when my parents introduced me to Jesus (I can barely remember what I wore last week) so it was something I was totally unprepared for or more so unaware of what to do. My family and I attend church regularly (multiple times a week actually)- we’re heavily involved in different departments so since birth Ava has always been at church and exposed to what it means to worship and pray etc. In the almost-two years of her life she has learnt so so much from walking to talking, eating, likes and dislikes, how to articulate people’s names and identify objects- toddlers are sponges so I knew I needed to make some intentional efforts to start introducing her to this God that we serve and love.
A friend of ours gifted Ava, at my baby shower, her first Bible Words book. It’s a picture Bible with a few short stories and pictures with words to help educate kids- this is Noah’s ark, this is baby Jesus, this is the sun etc It probably wasn’t until she turned about 18 months that she was actually interested in the story lines. I won’t lie and say this book is her go-to for story time but she does pick it every few days. If you’re based in Australia Koorong have some great Kid’s Bibles. I love going to their store and showing Ava the various Bible’s and books. If you are going to buy your child one I would recommend taking them with you and gauging their response to the book- the feel of it, the pictures, read them a short excerpt and see if the language is engaging. We have this one by Sarah Vince.
Start Bedtime Prayer Time
We have started to do a little prayer time with Ava before she gets her bottle in bed. We will ask her what or who she wants to pray for (if you watched my insta stories a few weeks ago you would know that her prayer request one night was “Pet’s- the movie”.. I prayed for all the pets in the world that they would be good and have a great day tomorrow..” We were secretly dying on the inside from laughter. The other night her prayer request was for her Nanoo- it was so strange as we don’t see Nanoo very often but she wanted to pray for him- I led her in a prayer that God would work on his heart and that he would know that we loved him (and we loved his truck that went beep beep as added by Ava)- It was quite a tender time.
If you attend a Church with a Creche or Sunday School- send your kids!
Our Creche at church starts at 2 years old but they have let Ava slide in considering she is almost two. The church we used to attend when we were living in the States has a Creche/Sunday School for kids from the age of 1! I can’t speak for all church creche’s but I know the one Ava attends during our Sunday Services teaches her about the Bible and Jesus. They sing along to Christian music videos and soundtracks – thankfully it’s not just a babysitting service.. not that that would be a bad thing when it comes to 1 year olds and trying to keep their noises to a minimum during a service (ha). However, with that being said..
Let your toddlers experience church!
I have been there and done that (and am still there a bit) when it comes to toddlers and noise and church.. it’s just a really bad mixture. I think the default for many parents is to hang out in the foyer or in the mother’s room (I see it a lot on instagram surprisingly)- while there is a time and a place when yes, your child just needs to roam in the foyer or is super overtired (you just know those times are going to end in you sprinting from one side of the church to the other with a screaming child) but I think we can get into a rut of “containing” our toddlers at church rather than letting them “thrive” and experience church. The Bible says that when two or three are gathered together He is there with them, in the midst of them- I don’t know about you but that makes me yearn to have Ava in those church services where we know His presence is. I want there to be a familiarity for her of the presence of God and the unity that comes with worshiping with the church which can only be done if we are intentional about exposing them to our church services. Ava loves to sing along and dance (albeit a ballerina dance) to our songs- I often see her in the arms of someone with her hands raised singing and clapping along- the book of Proverbs says “train up a child in the way they should go..” There is something sacred and Holy about experiencing the presence of God with your children.
So while I’m no expert I hope I’ve given you a few ideas on how to be more intentional about talking about Jesus with your toddlers! If you have any other good ideas that I haven’t covered I would love to hear from you!