Welcome to my 10 week series of Teaching Children The Life Skills They Need To Succeed! This series was developed after I wrote the post 10 Life Skills Every Child Needs To Succeed Before Leaving The Home which has been my most popular post written on this blog.
Each week I will be taking one of the life skills and breaking it down into ways for parents to teach these life skills at home. I will do my best to include fun, practical ways to implement the life skills into everyday life and with different ages of children. (I know as a mommy of 5 how hard it is to try to cram something else into your already busy life!)
As parents, we have the privilege of being our children’s first teachers. How we live and act will make impressions on our children that will last their entire lifetime. It is a tremendous gift to teach our children the skills they will need to succeed as adults. In order to shape our children, we must live the life we are trying to teach.
The skill we are focusing on first is to love and have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This is the skill that I feel is the most important out of the entire list, which is why it first. Here are some ways to encourage our children in their own faith walk.
- Take your children to church!
The first way of helping your kids develop a relationship with Jesus is to take them to church. I know, I know! Taking kids to church can be hard work! Getting them dressed, fed, and keeping them clean until after church is over is sometimes on the verge of impossible! But, it’s not about the challenge, it’s about shaping their souls. It is worth the effort! We’re talking about eternity here so really, what teaching do we do that is more important than this?
By taking your children to church, you are not only setting an example of Christian parenting for them to model later in life with their own children, but also planting seeds for Jesus in their hearts.
- Pray as a family!
Another way of helping your kids develop a relationship with Jesus is by praying together as a family. This does not have to be complicated! Whether it is at the table, before bed, or in the car, this is a great way to help them grow in their own faith.
One of my friends prays with her kids each time they are getting ready to go somewhere in the car, another prays with her kids when she takes them to school and when she picks them up. Another does prayers and devotions before bed with her kids. Another of my friends prays with her kids on their way to events. There is no right or wrong way to pray with your kids! The important part is doing it! Do what works for your family, your kids will take off with it!
My kids like to pray the Veggie Tale prayer on Veggie Tales: Princess & The Popstar
before we eat which is simply, “God, thank you for our food. Amen”. Our youngest could say this when she was 18 months old. As they get older, they like to make up their own prayers before meals and they take turns getting to do so. It’s a big deal in our house whose turn it is to pray!
- Read Bible stories with them
Read Bible stories to them. This is a great way to introduce them to the Bible. Or if you’d rather, read straight out of the Bible. Remember to explain as you go!
My kids like to do this at bedtime but they also like to read them during the day or before nap. Some of our favorites for younger kids are, The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers (Little Blessings Line) and Day by Day Begin-to-Read Bible (Tyndale Kids).
As my oldest has gotten older we have also enjoyed The One Year Mother-Daughter Devo and as I’ve blogged about we have been really enjoying completing 8 Great Dates for Moms and Daughters: How to Talk About True Beauty, Cool Fashion, and…Modesty! (Secret Keeper (Harvest House)) in our Moms & Tweens group!
- Sing Bible songs with them.
Sing Bible songs with them. My friend, Becky wrote on my Facebook page, her granddaughter who isn’t even 2 yet knows every word to “Jesus Loves Me”. I bought the kids Wee Sing Bible Songs (Wee Sing) CD and Book Edition and even my oldest sings along in the car. This was one of the best gifts I’ve ever bought them and it was under $10! Fun, educational, and shaping their hearts! I also would much rather have them singing bible songs in the car than listening to the DVD player (even though they are usually watching Veggie Tales if the DVD player is on).
- Create Prayer Journals
*Create prayer journals. My kids have different journals depending on their ages. The younger ones have photo albums with pictures of family and the family members name written on it. Even at 18 months old, a child can look at a picture of Grandma and say a prayer for Grandma with help. (I will be posting on making one of these in the next week!)
As they get older and can write I have given them journal prompts such as, “I’m thankful for… ” or “Please help me with…” until they can journal on their own. We just made prayer journals in our Moms & Tweens group last month and the girls really liked it! (These girls are 8-12 years old).
- Talk about Jesus!
Talk about Jesus! Bringing up Jesus in everyday conversation will help your children understand that faith is part of your everyday life, not just reserved for Sundays. When they have problems at school, ask what they think Jesus would want them to do.
- Memorize scripture together.
Memorize scripture together. I wasn’t raised memorizing Scripture as a child but I wish that I would have. There have been many times in my life when having Scripture memorized would have been beneficial. Children (especially when young) memorize very quickly! Remember to keep it simple for the littles and make it fun. I know a few families who recite their current verse at breakfast and at dinner. Once it’s memorized they start another one.
- Model what you want them to learn!
Model what you want them to learn. Kids are great people readers. If you tell them not to drink and smoke, but you do it, they won’t take you seriously. If they see you reading your Bible, doing Bible studies, and singing Bible songs, they will want to do it, too.
- When they are old enough to read, give them their own Bible.
This is a gift that is a right of passage. Make it a big deal! When we bought our oldest her own Bible, you would have thought we had given her a million dollars. She has taken such great are of it and is so proud she has her own. Help your child read it and this will become a habit that will stick, especially if you are modeling it!
- Have a Mom & Me time or a Dad & Me time.
I am a huge advocate of Mom & Me time. Since my friend, Brenda and I have started our Moms & Tweens group, my tween and I have gotten closer, have a special time to talk just the two of us when we go on our dates (that has also helped at home as well). I highly recommend 8 Great Dates for Moms and Daughters: How to Talk About True Beauty, Cool Fashion, and…Modesty! (Secret Keeper (Harvest House)) if you are hesitant about doing this or aren’t sure what to do. There are prompts of what to talk about, date ideas to do together, and audio to listen before and after the dates to get you talking. Do you have to do 8 Great Dates? No, of course not! But it has been extremely helpful to me and my daughter and I have already figured out some fun dates to do after we’re finished with the book to continue our Mom & Me time.
I hope these ideas will bless your family. Do you have a favorite? Do you do something different that could benefit someone else? I’d love to know!
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