Parenting preschoolers is an amazing, rewarding, and exhausting endeavor. The ages of 3-5 years old is a time of incredible growth in so many ways.
These tiny humans have their personalities taking shape as they develop one milestone after another: learning to share, learning to use the potty, learning their ABCs, learning to understand and manage their emotions, learning to use their imagination, and maybe starting school for the first time, all while their bodies are almost doubling in size.
There is also something else growing in them: faith. God desires for our children to know and love Him through Jesus. Jesus said “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as them.” Matthew 19:14
God loves our kids with an everlasting love, and He wants them to experience this now. Right where they’re at. So how can we help our little ones grow in their faith? How can we take unseen abstract concepts like faith, sin, love, and Heaven and make it understandable to our little ones?
Here are a few ways you can get started in sharing Jesus with your preschoolers:
1. Live your faith out loud.
“Let your light shine before others” Matthew 5:16
Wherever you are in your spiritual growth, make sure your kids see it. Let them catch you reading your Bible. Pray out loud in the car on the way to school. Talk about how and why you give to the Lord. Little kids are always watching us and learning when we aren’t even trying to “teach” them anything.
2. Make time to worship as a family.
“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” Romans 10:17
Going to church regularly and making corporate worship a priority is a great place to start. You may also consider reading an age-appropriate picture Bible regularly together, listening to worship music together (both kids and grown-up worship music). We also like to watch “Saddleback Kids Church at Home” each weekend, and our kids get to teach US what they learned in church.
3. Model the Gospel.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us” 1 John 1:9
Again, kids are always watching and learning from us. One of the best opportunities to teach kids about Jesus is to show how you respond when you make a mistake. Yes, parents do make plenty of mistakes. Maybe it could go something like this:
Oh no. I just lost my patience and yelled in frustration when _______ did ______. That is called sin, and I don’t feel right about it in my heart. Sin makes me feel far from God and this person I yelled at. But good news! Jesus loves me and can help my heart feel clean again! I’m going to pray right now and then make things right with ______. The Holy Spirit is in me and helps me know the right choices to make, and I will ask Him to help me with that next time I feel frustrated.
Modeling who Jesus is to us can resonate in our children’s hearts as the Father is drawing them into their own beautiful relationship with Him.