The first time I caught sight of our daughter, basically a beating heart with T-Rex arms, the gravity of motherhood hit me. God planned her life before she was even a desire in my heart. It’s my job to give her spiritual life a healthy start. Talk about pressure! If you’re a new Christian mom like me, you might feel the same way. The internet is stocked full with helpful posts on how to introduce your child to Jesus. Personally, I think a child’s discipleship should begin long before their first birthday, while they are still learning the basics of eating and sleeping. In this post I’ll share a few ideas you can use to teach your baby about Jesus, right from the start.
7 Easy Ways to Teach Your Baby About Jesus
1: Make Prayer a Daily Routine
We pray every night before bed. It’s always the same routine: wash, jammy time, cuddle, and pray. At first, prayer time translated as squirmy time. This child could sit on my lap all day and night, but at the beginning of a prayer she had a sudden case of ants in the pants. Now, our goodnight prayer is a treasured quiet time for all three of us.
Don’t sweat it if you can’t get in more than a couple sentences at first. For now, our prayers are pretty short. We just thank God for all of our blessings, ask for “Daddy’s protection when he drives to work tomorrow” and for the health and happiness of our direct family members. The important thing is to make your prayers as sincere as possible. She may not understand what you’re saying at first, but eventually she will understand that when you pray, you’re actually talking to God, not just rehearsing words.
This is probably my favorite. Dig into your inner child and transform mundane activities into story time! When I’m giving Cali a bath, I tell her about how John baptized Jesus. When the cats bless us with their presence (sarcasm), I tell her about how God saved Daniel from the really big cats in the Lion’s Den. Not only does this make me feel like an awesome Mom for five minutes, it also plants the seeds of curiosity in her mind.
I have a theory about this particular type of discipleship. If we can help our babies relate Bible stories to silly real life examples now, how much easier will it be for them to do so later, when the situations are much more important?
3: Go to Church
Still trying to make it to church? Don’t feel bad. It took us 6 weeks before we walked through the doors. Between the night feedings, stress over germs, and the fact that babies have a perpetual cold, I’m surprised the building was still standing by the time we made it. Making that first trip is a very personal decision for you and your family. Still, try to make it a priority. Babies are blank slates and they only learn what you teach them. While the nursery may not be able to teach your baby about Jesus now, it can at least set the foundation for Bible school when they are older. Plus, the longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to get your baby accustomed to church later.
If you’re concerned about taking your newborn to the nursery, try taking him into the chapel with you. Before I gathered enough courage to drop Cali off at the nursery, I fed her in the parking lot and designated the sermon as nap time. It worked out perfectly. She happily fell asleep in her car seat during the worship service.
Speaking of worship… I don’t mean to brag, but I have the kind of voice that is the envy of every alley cat on the block. Or maybe you’ve seen those screaming goat videos on Youtube. It’s something like that.
If you haven’t tried singing to your baby yet, you should! She’ll listen to you sing about anything. Even before she can understand your sentences, she listens to the nuances in your voice. In addition, singing can help your baby regulate stress, memorize concepts, and bond with you. It makes sense that worshiping can be an easy, fun way to teach your baby about Jesus.
My favorite hymn is Amazing Grace. Not only are the words applicable to my personal testimony, but it serves as a soothing lullaby.
5: Teach Scripture
The Bible is crystal clear about discipling your children:
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (ESV)
Your baby’s knowledge of the Word has the potential to make or break his or her faith. Recent studies indicate that babies can piece together actual words as early 6 months .That means the time to start is now!
Let’s be honest, though. If you’re up to your eyeballs in diapers and running on three hours of sleep, penciling in devotions for your 6 month old is probably the last thing on your mind. Luckily, you don’t have to. There are so many ways to introduce your baby to scripture! If you’re a movie buff, invest in a few Christian children videos, like Veggie Tales (my personal favorite), the Bible Stories for Kids series, or Boz the Green Bear.
If want to teach your baby about Jesus without the extra stimulation, try reading a children’s Bible or short stories. My favorite so far is the Jesus Storybook Bible. The pictures are simple and vibrant, and draw Cali’s attention quickly. The stories are fairly accurate and tactfully deals with more sensitive material.
Like prayer time, it might be hard for your baby to contain the wiggles at first. Start out small. Some days you might only be able to get a page in. Don’t sweat it! Grab a fun bookmark and try again tomorrow.
6: Play Inspirational Music
Every morning I fire up Alexa and play some contemporary Christian. It’s soothing, has great meaning, and is always appropriate for little ears. Plus, the benefits of listening to music is well-documented. Studies have shown that music can enhance fine motor skills, pattern recognition, and speech development. In other words, you’re teaching your baby about Jesus and assisting with her development!
If you want to kill two birds with one stone, check out Scripture Lullabies. My mother-in-law got me into this series and it’s now an integral part of our wind-down routine. This series is great for scripture memorization and the melody is beautiful.
7: Lead by Example
This might be the last item on the list, but make no mistake, it’s one of the most important. You can teach your baby about Jesus all day and night, but it means nothing if you yourself are not a good example of Christ. I was raised in the church, yet when I gained my first taste of independence, I ran from it as fast as I could. Why? Hypocrisy. I believed in God but the Christians in my life made religion stale.
If you teach your baby in the Word yet fail to lead by example, you create a gaping hole in your child’s faith. Babies are always watching. If we speak truth but act in bitterness or anger around our babies, they will never seek God. This entails everything you do, every day. How do you react when you’re cut off in traffic? Do you shake your fist and yell out, “You turkey!” (Very specific, I know…) or do you accept the rude behavior and move on? How do you greet your husband when he comes home? Is he greeted with open arms and love or is he treated as another interruption to your routine?
Honestly, I struggle with this aspect the most. From the way I treat my husband to how I deal with stress, I am blatantly flawed. If you’re like me and worry that you’ll never measure up, all I’ve got to say is have some grace for yourself. You’re not going to always get it right, no matter how hard you try. But that’s the beauty of it. When your child sees you mess up and turn to God, he will see the greatest example of all: how Jesus transforms.
“My Power is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV)
In the beginning, you truly are just introducing your baby to Jesus. You’re laying the foundation for a deeper relationship that she will pursue as grows and learns. Most of the work revolves around your daily routine: pray, sing, tell your child fantastical stories, or listen to uplifting music. However, consider the larger commitments, such as taking your child to church, implementing scripture, and providing a solid example. Get creative. Try to remember the fun ways you learned about Christ when you were young. Some of these activities might seem insignificant, but remember, this is where it all begins. Teach your baby about Jesus now to create the foundation for a wonderful relationship later.
So, what do you think? Do you have any fun ways to teach your baby about Jesus? Share them below!