As a mom of three littles any given day can be full of dress-up, bug collections, fort building, or family dance parties. Or, on hard days, maybe it’s just full of Sofia the First and coffee (just for me of course). Each day, I wake up with a desire to reflect God’s character to my littles. I remind myself of the verse “The Lord is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. But he does not excuse the guilty” (Numbers 14:18). This helps to get me focused to be a mother who is patient, full of faithful love, abounding in mercy, and someone who teaches their children the truth. Honestly, some days are better than others, and somedays I don’t even make it to breakfast without losing my cool. Being a parent of littles can get overwhelming quickly, so these are some strategies I learned along the way to help me focus on what’s important – pointing my kids toward Jesus.
1. Utilize the tools your church provides
I am so thankful to be a part of church that values teaching the next generation about the love of God. Being a parent of preschoolers, I can be confident that they are beginning to learn about God and beginning to worship him. At Parker Hill, we use the Orange Curriculum because it fits into the model we follow as a church. “Orange is a strategy that combines the critical influences of the church and home to incite wonder, provoke discovery, and fuel passion in the hearts of the next generation” (Thinkorange.com).
· Parent Cue - At the beginning of each month, the Parent Cue is sent home with your child. It looks like a laminated placement with activities to do with your child on one side and an overview of what your child will be learning that month on the other.
· Social Media - Follow Parker Hill on Facebook: Parker Hill Mungu Land and on Twitter: @ParkerHill_Fam. Posted here are the stories your children watch weekly, links to purchase the songs as well as encouraging blogs.
· Join a Group - Isolation is a breeding ground for self-doubt, disappointment, and resentment. Surrounding ourselves with other believers who are going through similar life circumstances is important. Join a group to connect with other parents. Breathing Room is a group that meets bi-monthly for just moms and Parker Hill offers community groups as well.
2. Establish routines to worship and learn about God together
· Repetition is important – At this age, repetition is important. How many times do we have to tell our kids to put their shoes away before they actually do it on their own? The same is true with teaching them about God. We have a unique opportunity at this age to develop routines that bring God into our everyday life. Some ways we do that in our house are prayer before meals and bedtime, singing and dancing to worship music together after dinner, and doing the Parent Cue together at breakfast. We are trying to use the key times we are together as a family not only to connect but also to learn about God and worship Him.
· Speak the same language – At Parker Hill we hope that preschoolers learn these three basic truths before they graduate on to Elementary.
Jesus loves me
Jesus made me
Jesus wants to be my friend forever
I try to use this same language at home when we read a bible story or when answering spiritual questions.
3. Be an example
Practice it in your own life – preschoolers are great imitators! We can show them what it looks like to follow God. Just like with most things during this stage, they come naturally to your child as you practice it in front of them. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy. Show your preschooler that a relationship with God is a natural, consistent part of your everyday life.
· Consistent church involvement - I appreciate how my husband values consistent attendance and serving at church. Honestly, it can be hard to get three little people dressed, fed, and out the door. On these days, especially, I appreciate how my husband gently reminds all of us that is important to worship God with others and that it is important to be involved in serving those outside our family.
· Continue to grow ourselves - Without consistent growth in our own lives, our relationship with God can become stale. I like using the SheReadsTruth App because I can do it on the go. Being an attender of Parker Hill also allows you a membership to RightNowMedia where you gain access to hundreds of studies and devotionals. Another option, if you like following along with the sermon series, you can also sign up here to get daily devotionals from Parker Hill sent to your email. It can become easy to use the excuse, that as a parent, we do not have time. Instead, try to use this as an opportunity to show your child what you do to build your personal relationship with God. It may be that you were only able to read the bible for 30 seconds before your 2 year old knocks over an entire cup of milk all over the kitchen, but small steps forward are still progress.
Written by Meghan Willis. Meghan works in Family Ministry at Parker Hill. She and her husband, Ben, have three kids, Brady (6), Tessa (3), and Annie (9 months).