How on earth do you teach your toddler about Jesus?
Chase them round the house reading from a story Bible?
Strap them in their highchair or car seat and open the ESV?
Wait until they’re a bit older and work it out then?
Nope! A quieter day isn’t coming, so set your stall out now! Saturate their day with Jesus, in the same way that they saturate you on hair wash night – pour him in, drip him through the cracks, slosh him over the side and through the ceiling downstairs!
What does that look like in practice? Here are some possibilities, using the fixed points in your toddler’s day:
EATING – When you eat, pray. “Thank you God for our food, thank you for loving us. AMEN.” Even if they hate it, even if they don’t eat it, even if you both end up wearing it, you have food to give, you have loved your child and provided for their needs. These are reasons to say thank you!
GOING PLACES – It’s generally better if we all get outside for a bit. After you’ve finished trapping your fingers in the buggy straps or car seat clips, get some tunes on. Play Christian music in your car until your ears bleed! We love Randall Goodgame, Awesome Cutlery and Colin Buchanan. Share with me the joy of having your toddler burst into singing the “SIN” song from Sovereign Grace’s The Ology CD at the top of their voice from their Tesco trolley, or requesting Colin Buchanan’s ‘Super Saviour’ from the wedding DJ! Seriously, though, listening to Christian music together is a great way to let the truth seep into the cracks of family life and your collective long term memory. Not only in the car, but also as your kitchen disco, baking background or garden dance festival. However you want to do it, listen to some Jesus tunes.
LOOKING UP – Your little one spends a long time looking up at stuff, perhaps on the walk to the shops or on the trip to pick up siblings. They are drinking in their surroundings and amazed by what they see – the ladybird, the worm, the tree, the stick, the funny dog, the bird. Help them take it further and remember who made all these things: “God made that, he is amazing!”
BATH TIME – This is a great time for a Bible adventure! Noah’s ark, parting the red sea, Jonah and the whale, Jesus stilling the storm, walking on water or grabbing Peter’s hand. These are all ‘water’ action stories you can tell while they provide the special effects. Make chats about Jesus part of your normal routine: “Jesus is amazing”, “Jesus could tell the water what to do!”, “We are safe with Jesus”, “God rescues his people”. Bath time and Bible time in one go!
BED TIME – Read a Bible board book together. Repeat ones you love, and it might be just what you need by this point in the day! I read 2 stories to myself and my little ones repeatedly – they probably did my own heart more good than my children’s. Susie Poole’s “Whatever is lovely” helped me to have a thankful heart no matter what my day was like. Maggie Barfield’s “The forgiving Father” helped me remember God’s great big heart, which always served to soften mine. The last page, where the father hugs the son, simply says “God is like that!” It probably had more impact on me than most sermons.
So, there you go weary parent – bring Jesus into your day and he will help you through. In all the normal everyday things, soak him in to your own heart, and your child’s.