KINDERGARTEN: TALK ABOUT CHURCH

Why this is important:

Talking about church serves to connect church and home. Discussing later in the week what was talked about in class or worship service can really help to reinforce the lesson.  Talking about church in your home makes faith something that isn’t only at church, but that is also lived out in your life.  

What to do:

Just talk and listen!  Make a point to have lunch together after church.  Talking relatively soon after church assures that their memory is as fresh as possible.  Depending on the child, they may share all the details about class or none.  Keep asking.  Avoid questions that can be answered with “yes” or “no.”  Our goal is to move past spiritual education to spiritual formation. What things did your child hear or see in Bible class? What things do they wonder about? Encourage your child to speak honestly and freely about what they experience and any doubt or questions they may have. 

Obstacles:

Finding time to do this regularly is always a challenge.  If Sunday lunch does not work, you could choose one or more of these often under-used times to speak with your child about God and Jesus: car time, snack time, bedtime, mealtime, special-treat time, and one-on-one time.  Find ways to make simple things like eating ice cream into a special moment for your family.   You are guaranteed to have distractions (and even other things that your kids will want to do) while you talk about church. By establishing a routine, your child will come to expect this special family time, and you will have made it a priority.

Ideas and examples:

After church, ask about the lesson from your child’s Bible class.  Pull out the handouts your child received in class.  See if looking at the handout prompts your child to share.  Your child can either summarize the story or you can.

It is also important to talk and ask questions about your children’s thoughts on the worship service or Bible hour, a video shown, a song, a Scripture, communion, giving, etc.  Select a small part about worship or class and have a talk about it.  Ask things like:  Do you know why we sing songs?  Do you like singing to God?  Why?  What is your favorite song that we sing?  What do you think is God’s favorite song?  This way, they begin to think about church, and what it is about. 

1ST GRADE: PRAYER

Why this is important:

Prayer time may be the most important time that you spend with your child.  If done consistently and well, they will likely cherish it for the rest of their lives.  Once this foundation is built, our hope is that it will  grow over time .

What to do:

Make time to pray with your children and family. Help your child understand that God hears us, loves us, and wants for us to tell him everything. He wants to hear our fears, thanks, our love for Him, our desires, our confessions, our needs. Explain how God answers every prayer, but in His way and not always instantly or the way we desire. 

Obstacles:

There will be times when you don’t want to leave your relaxing seat or the project that needs to be done by the next day to tuck the children into bed.  You may have just sent your child to bed after he/she spent the entire day not listening to you or having a bad day in general.   Just remember how important this time is for your children’s faith development as they learn to rely on God.   In spite of a bad day, you can use this time to re-engage in a positive way by assuring them how much you and God love them regardless of what they do.  This time can also be discouraging if your child doesn’t want to talk or isn’t the talkative type.  Find something about prayer time that they will like.  For example, scratch your child’s back while you talk or ask them to tell you something funny that happened that day.  Your child may need to have you just pray over them as well if they don't want to talk, and that is okay too. 

MAKE THE MOST: 

Make the most of the time you already spend together by creating some routines in your daily life. How can you bring joy and love to your child each morning? Make the most of the time you spend in the car. (Perhaps you want to make this a no screen zone). As you drive around town, talk to your child, share stories, ask questions, listen. Pay attention to what your child hears, your conversations, the music in the car. Make family meal times sacred time. It can be hard to get everyone together to eat. It's a lot less about the food and a lot more about connecting, establishing values, and communicating character and love. Prioritize your bedtime routine. Bedtime may be the perfect time to have your Bible Story & bless your child. The conversations you have at bedtime are an incredible opportunity to connect to your child. 

RESOURCEs:

One of the BEST parenting articles I've ever read: http://foreverymom.com/mom-gold/9-things-your-kids-need-but-wont-tell-you/

Along the Way: Conversations About Children and Faith, by Ron Bruner and Dana Pemberton

Joining Children On the Spiritual Journey: Nurturing a Life of Faith, by Catherine Stonehouse

Hands Free Mama, by Rachel Macy Stafford

Spiritual Parenting: An Awakening for Today's Families, by Michelle Anthony