Monday, July 14, 2008

Preschooler's Who Love the Lord

I thought you might enjoy this article that I wrote which was published by Christian Parenting.

Get Your Preschooler Singing, Dancing and Shouting for the Lord

What is squiggly, squirmy and loud, in constant motion and full of joy and passion?  That’s right:  preschool-age children from the time they get up in the morning to the time they fall asleep at night!  Wouldn’t it be great if you could direct some of that  enthusiasm to celebrate the Lord?  Wouldn’t you like to begin early in life teaching daily routines that encourage your child to build and sustain a relationship with God?  If you are like most parents, you feel that nurturing your child’s spiritual growth is very important.  Statistics from suggest that most parents feel primarily responsible for their child’s spiritual development. Nearly 9 out of 10 parents believe they have the primary responsibility for teaching their children about religious beliefs and spiritual matters.  96% of parents of children under the age of 13 feel that they have the primary responsibility for teaching their children values.  Reese Kauffman, president of Child Evangelism Fellowship, a ministry that specializes in reaching children with the Gospel, feels that it is very important to provide a solid spiritual foundation for youth.  “There is a window of opportunity early in a child’s life when he or she is easy to reach with developmentally appropriate activities and materials about their Creator and Lord.”

What fun activities can you share with your do with your child to enrich his Biblical education?
  • Get your “groove on”- “Sing to the Lord a new song…” (Psalm 149:1 NIV).  Praise and worship music can be incorporated into everyday life.  Your child’s day can begin and end with musical routines that incorporate positive and uplifting images of God that are appropriate for children. (See sidebar for some suggestions).  As your child is getting dressed, eating breakfast or doing simple chores, he can be listening to and learning songs that make him excited about God and God’s love.  Once your child knows the words to some of these songs you may often hear him spontaneously begin singing songs that will uplift you and all around him.  Music can be used not only to teach basic scriptural truths but it can be used to teach memory verses as well.  There may be certain scriptures that you may want your child to learn and be able to draw on in a time of need before he can even read.  Having a Bible verse set to music makes memorizing easy and fun!  There are tapes and CDs commercially available or you could make your own.   Do not worry about the quality of your singing voice.  Your children will love you anyway!  
  • Dance like David- “Let them praise his name with dancing…” (Psalm 149:3 NIV).  For the preschool set, nothing goes together like music and movement.  We know from Scriptures (2 Samuel 6:14) that King David praised the Lord through dance and we can teach our children to do the same.  Once you have identified some upbeat songs that your youngster is particularly fond of, encourage them to sway, move their arms, jump and clap.    Or simply say “Now dance!” to facilitate freeform motions.  For more formal instruction, any movements that seem appropriate to the song can be incorporated into your music time and CDs and videos that will teach you and your child simple movements to kid-oriented songs are available.
  • Speaking for the Lord- “I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.” (Psalm 34:1 NIV)  Encourage your children to speak God’s words as found in the Bible.  Mini-dramatizations can be a fun way to get family and friends involved in teaching your child religious truths.  Each person is given a part to learn in a simple Bible story and with a few props, costumes and proper lighting (just turn the lights down in the room everywhere except near the “stage”) you can produce your own preschool drama.  Storytelling allows a child to demonstrate his knowledge of a Bible story that has been read to him.  After reading the child a story, ask him questions about the story. Then, encourage him to tell you his version of the story.  You may be surprised at what you hear!  Reciting short verses from the Bible will help your child with his memory and language skills while encouraging his love of God and God’s Word.  One way to make learning a verse more fun and colorful is to either purchase from your local bookstore or make on your own posters that have Scripture verses written on them and use these as props for review.  On a regular basis, at least 3 times per week, read the verse aloud to your child.  Read with emotion and emphasis, enunciating each word clearly.  Then, say one phrase at a time and ask the child to repeat each phrase after you. At the end of the verse make sure that you teach the child the source of the Scripture (book, chapter and verse).  Ask the child to say the verse louder and louder as they repeat after you.  They love to shout!   The best time for this exercise is early in the morning when the child is rested and ready for concentrating.  The more often you repeat this exercise (up to once daily) the faster the child will learn.  Do not pressure the child to actually memorize, that will come naturally as you continue the exercises.  You will be pleased at the confidence that will develop in your child as he realizes how good he is at memorizing.  
  • Sharing the fun- Children enjoy playing with peers and what a great way to reinforce what you are teaching your child at home than to have him share some spiritual fun with other children.  Attending or organizing a weekly or monthly playgroup with like-minded Christian families or enrolling your child in a well-rounded Christian preschool teaches your child that group worship and praise can happen on days other than Sunday. 

As you begin to incorporate some of these principles into your preschooler’s life, you may very well find benefits to the rest of the family as well.  It will be hard for everyone to resist all that singing, dancing and storytelling so before you know it yours will be a household overflowing with joy and the Love of the Lord.  “…But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  (Joshua 24:15 NIV) 

Additional Resources

DVD- Shout Praises Kids Gospel 2
Video- Shout Praises Kids 2
            Miss Pattycake

For a Word document copy of this article, you may click below:



Anonymous said...

Great article! I really enjoyed it. My favorite part was:

"...... After reading the child a story, ask him questions about the story. Then, encourage him to tell you his version of the story......"

We can all do this as we are doing the dishes or making lunch or taking a walk or just sitting and chatting.

God bless you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reading and thanks for the tip. I forget to make the most of "down times"!