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Preschoolers: Shaping Little Hearts- Part 2

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The Boyer Blog: Preschoolers: Shaping Little Hearts- Part 2

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Preschoolers: Shaping Little Hearts- Part 2

Teach Doctrine Early

David Barton, from WallBuilders, tells how in the 1800s, our country used the catechism to teach kids doctrine. Kids really can learn! We haven’t done that, but we have used books by Carolyn Nystrom: What is God? Who is Jesus? What is the Bible? A couple of our kids were actually prompted to ask Jesus into their heart after reading the answer to What is a Christian? It was put so clearly, in simple terms little ones could understand. Another resource that we used with little ones every day is a devotional for preschoolers called Leading Little Ones to God. (Included in Preschool Resource Pack)

Each day I spent special time with each child. Now, that sounds like a lot, but at nap time I would put everyone down and then call the little ones up one at a time to spend maybe just five minutes with them alone—they knew they would have that special time with Mom every day! We worked on Bible verses, or read a Bible story. Just knowing they would have that time with mom gave them a sense of security. In Deuteronomy we are given special times in which we should teach Scripture: when we lie down, rise up, walk by the way, and sit in our house. We have used bedtime and nap-time as key times to teach our children Scripture. Especially for the children who don’t fall asleep right away, Bible tapes have been an important resource. My husband made these for our children, and it would be great if your children’s dad could make the tapes or CDs by reading Scripture aloud, but if not, just buy some Bible CDs and play Scripture at naptime and bedtime. Your little guys and gals will learn passages of Scripture! When Josh was seven he was listening to the book of Matthew. You could start a verse in Matthew anywhere and he could finish the verse. He couldn’t quote the reference, but he could finish the verse! Just the other day Rick was doing Proverbs in family devotions. He would start a verse and Tuck (11) would finish it! Rick would start another verse and Tuck would finish it. Rick said, “Tuck, how do you know those verses?” Tuck said, “Well, I heard them on my Bible tapes at naptime.” It’s an easy thing that does not require your constant involvement, and Scripture is what changes their lives and makes them more like Jesus.

You know, God’s Word never returns void. We’ve had very few problems with nightmares in our children. They’re listening to God’s Word as they go to sleep every night, and the last thing you think about before you go to sleep is what your mind tends to dwell on. My first son’s wife said, “Boy, your family is so intimidating! Every time a situation comes up someone has a Bible verse to apply to it.” That’s from listening to their Bible tapes! And a side benefit of you taking time to teach your kids God’s Word is that you’re learning it too. People ask how mom has time to sit down and learn Scripture. I don’t for myself, but when I’m teaching it to my children, it all works together. Joshua 1:9 promises we’ll be successful in everything we do if we meditate on God’s Word.

Another resource we’ve used from Thy Word Creations is a CD and accompanying book that puts a section of Scripture to music and then also shows how to personalize the book for each child. We play them at naptime and bedtime. I think there are ten different sections of Scripture they’ve put to music so two- and three-year-olds can walk around the house singing passages of Scripture.


Teach an Appreciation for Music

We bought hymnbooks we use for family devotions, letting the children choose hymns every night. It’s so good for your kids to learn the songs of the faith. Joni Earekson Tada has put out a wonderful set of books called Hymns for a Kid’s Heart. They tell the stories behind some of our favorite hymns and include a CD.


Teach Your Children the Character of God

The character of God includes character qualities that we must learn to understand and implement in our own lives. Try to put the character qualities in your kid’s language. I wrote down some character qualities for a mom:

Flexibility is not being too busy to stop folding laundry and go see the ant Tuck just dug up.

Generosity is sharing the last piece of cake you’ve been waiting to enjoy in a quiet moment because Laurie just joined you on a swing. This is an opportunity to show her that she’s special to you.

Gentleness is putting your arm around your son and reaffirming your love for him when he just made a really bad decision that you advised him against, and he’s sorry for it.

Gratefulness is thanking God for the privilege of parenthood, and acknowledging that it’s a picture of our relationship with our heavenly Father, not a hindrance to serving Him.

Humility is admitting you blew it when you lost your cool at the first look at the lemonade spilled all over the kitchen floor—sticky!

Joyfulness is realizing God has given me everything I need to live today in His victory, and that He turns our greatest sorrows into our deepest joys.

Those are just a few examples. We do those for our kids—personalizing character qualities on their level so they can understand what they mean.

Perhaps you are familiar with Bill Gothard’s Character Sketch books. He uses animals and a person in Scripture to demonstrate character qualities. We used the pictures out of these books to make quilts, letting our children color the pictures. Every day we would go over a different trait. For instance, “Endurance is setting aside privileges which weaken me or others.”

Teach Your Two- and Three-Year Olds Bible Verses

With our little ones we started by taking a 3”x5” card and illustrating a verse. For instance, “What is the candle of the Lord? It is the spirit of a man.” “What must we do to have friends? Act friendly.” “Who controls the kings and Daddy’s heart? The hand of the Lord.” I would go over these verses with my two and three-year-olds every day, starting out saying the verse myself, then having them repeat it, and then getting to where they could say that day’s verse, as well as review the verse from the day before. By the time I got to the end of our pack of verses the children had learned a lot of Scripture and knew how to apply it. They are now available as Making Wise Choices Flashcards. The If/When pack guides them in situations that they might encounter, like what to do if you’re tempted to be afraid. On the back it gives the verse for that. And the Character-Quality flash cards have verses about obedience, kindness, and gratefulness, which are three that our kids really needed. We also have Proverbs Flashcards, a set with practical application of verses from the practical book of the Bible that Solomon wrote to instruct his sons. These flashcards are included in our Preschool Resource Pack.

Next week we'll conclude this series. You certainly do not have to do things just the way I have done them- but I do hope you will be inspired to actively implement God and the Bible into your little preschooler's life, and that my experiences will give you the encouragement and some resources to begin. They really do soak up so much during this time!

~Marilyn



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1 Comments:

Anonymous Erin said...

Marilyn,
Thank you so much for all your hands-on ideas and for recommending other resources. I often hear a lot of theory and not practical application. So THANK YOU!!! I'm excited about implementing some of these with my 3 little ones!

August 27, 2010 at 4:59 PM  

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