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10 Practical Ways to Introduce a Child to Jesus

Updated: November 20, 2017 Guest 18 Comments
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Do you desire for your kids to know God? Here are 10 practical tips for parents who want to teach their children about Jesus and build their faith from an early age.

Do you desire for your kids to know God? Here are 10 practical tips for parents who want to teach their children about Jesus and build their faith from an early age.

Guest post by Jessica Smartt

Full disclosure: Right now, my weary, eight-month-pregnant self is plopped on my couch. It’s 7:30pm, the kids are in bed, and boy, I am tired. Long-day, toddler-chasing, bone-tired.

I sit writing this post on introducing your child to Jesus…and as I reflect on my day, I can’t help but feel a little uneasy…hypocritical even.

The thoughts start coming: Have I taught my children about Jesus today? Have I showed these little ones I love them? Have I taught them anything meaningful??

And suddenly, today’s prayers seem extra-routine, the hugs too sparse, the whole drawn-out day a smattering of missed opportunities.

It’s hard, isn’t it, showing little ones Jesus? I love Jesus. I know in my heart of hearts He is all that matters. I long for my children to share this love – more than anything I long for this.

But yet I struggle – how do you introduce a child to Jesus, in a way that lasts, in a way their little hearts understand?

Here are 10 ways for Christian parents to teach their children about God!

It was this angst that led me to write what’s now my most popular post, How To Introduce Your Child To Jesus. People read it, and pinned it, and were still hungry. And so, a year later, I’ve released my first e-book – on this very same topic.

Because it’s hard. Because the answers aren’t clear. Because we moms are holy, but human. Inspired, but imperfect. Because sometimes…we need a little guidance.

I wrote this book not because I’m an expert, not because it comes easy to me, but maybe precisely because it does not. I’ve labored to come up with some answers, with some practical helps, with some very do-able things that all of us parents can do – even on little sleep, even when we’re still learning.

Here are a few of these tips:

1. Let your kids see your Real Faith.

Real Faith is messy. It feels guilty after losing a temper. It worries when kids are sick. It wanders during the day, even forgetting to thank the Giver of all the gifts. So, don’t feel pressure to be “perfect.” Instead, be real with God – in front of your children. Are you worried? Tell them, and pray. Are you exhausted? Tell them, and pray.

2. Apologize often.

How powerful this is, and we forget it! I can still hear my mother’s voice in my head: Mommies make mistakes, too. Do you forgive me? It’s counter-intuitive, but seeing my parents’ humble requests for forgiveness was a powerful statement to me of their character, and their love for me.

3. Find a good kids’ Bible, and read it routinely.

We’re so fortunate today to have access to many excellent children’s Bibles. (Not all on the shelf are good, but many are. I review my favorites in my book.) God’s word, above all, is the source of all truth. It brings hope and light to the darkness! Show them His word.

4. Spend time playing Legos, and combing Barbie’s hair, and giving back scratches.

In other words: If you don’t have a positive relationship with your children, your religious talk might be harder to accept.

Introduce your children to Jesus by praying with them and letting them see YOU pray throughout the day!

5. Replace a some “secular” books, movies, songs, and toys with some high-quality Jesus-centered ones.

If our kids are not hearing about Jesus, they’re probably not thinking about Him much, either. Through Jesus-centered songs, stories, and movies, we can draw their thoughts towards Him. Of course, many “Christian” kids’ books on the market aren’t all that great…but many are. I have a list of my 25 favorite resources in my e-book. Erin also has a great roundup of spiritual gift ideas for kids, as well as Resurrection-themed Easter basket ideas here and here.

6. Spend time on your own with the Lord.

Easier said than done, right? We all instinctively know we need to do this, but it can be hard! Here are a few tips:

  • Be gracious to yourself when your quiet times falter (because they will at some point if you are a tired and busy mommy), and don’t let guilt keep you from coming to Jesus, even if it’s been a month since you’ve cracked a Bible. Start now, where you are.
  • Be with Jesus during the day, while the kids are there. Pray out loud for your needs. Talk to Jesus when they’re listening. Read a verse out loud. You can learn while they learn.

7. Talk about Jesus often with your kids.

When I started brainstorming for my book, I easily came up with over a dozen ways we can talk about Jesus with our kids – just in normal, everyday conversation. It’s just a matter of being aware of those ways, and doing it!

8. Bring them to church, and let them see a little bit of real church.

I know this is a personal decision for many families: nursery vs. “big church.” And boy, is it hard to have little ones in the pew with you! But we have seen positive rewards with letting our little ones be squirmy next to us. It’s something I recommend, even if it’s just for a small portion of the service. Kids watch us worshiping, see that God is holy, and important, and see that our faith is important to us.

9. Remind your children often, I love you so much, and God loves you, too.

This is something I learned from my very-wise mom, who often gets frustrated with complicated Sunday school curriculum. When they’re so little, she says, they just need to know two things: God made everything, and God loves them. What a relief, huh? Give your little ones a hug, and tell them, God loves you so much, do you know that? This little phrase, with a hug…so powerful!

10. Tailor your teaching to your child’s personality.

In my book, I outline seven common personalities in kids (the defiant child, the fearful child, the difficult child, and others). There are particular ways that each child needs the Gospel. There are no guarantees, unfortunately, that our children will follow Jesus. But it’s helpful for me to think about their own little personalities, and brainstorm how each child needs Jesus.

10 Practical Ways to Introduce a Child to Jesus. I bet you never thought #2 or 4 could point your kids toward Christ!

What’s your biggest challenge in teaching little ones you love about Jesus?

Jessica Smartt

Jessica Smartt is a former middle-school teacher who lives in beautiful North Carolina. You can find her blogging at www.smarttereachday.com where she enjoys poking fun at the everyday challenges of motherhood, sharing delicious allergy-free recipes, and rejoicing that God still loves her no matter what phobia she has recently developed. She is blessed beyond belief with two Smartt little boys and a husband who can fix anything. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, or her blog.

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Reader Interactions

18 Comments

  1. Julie July 29, 2014 at 9:25 AM Great list! I think apologizing often and spending time with your child are especially important. In my church children are welcomed and even expected to be in the pews during sacrament meeting/sermon. Nursery doesn’t begin until AFTER sacrament while the adults go to Sunday school. My daughter loves nursery, and she will randomly sing some children’s hymns, it’s amazing! (My husband sings hymns to her during bedtime). reply to comment
  2. Heather @ My Overflowing Cup July 29, 2014 at 1:03 PM This post is spot on! My children are teens now, but I wholeheartedly agree with what you have written. My Pastor often says, “It’s not what’s taught, but what is caught”. Our children are watching us. They need to see and hear our love for Christ in our everyday living, not just our church attendance. We need to show them real faith, not the movie version of faith. Thank you for this post. Your book sounds wonderful! reply to comment
  3. Katie Bennett July 29, 2014 at 4:10 PM I really enjoyed this post. Thanks for the insight and encouragement. Introducing our children to Jesus is truly such a privilege. I would say my biggest challenge is making sure they develop an accurate perception of Him. reply to comment
  4. Lisa @ This Pilgrim Life July 30, 2014 at 9:34 PM First, can I just say that the first picture is incredibly adorable?! Second, I really enjoyed all your ideas on introducing our children to Jesus. I think that if we ourselves are talking about Jesus and spending time with Him in His word, then the outcome will be a natural overflow into our conversations with our children. I will second your suggestion to let your children be a part of church with you. We attend a family integrated church so nursery isn’t even an option (!!). As hard as it can be sometimes, I have learned that a season of training and consistent practice can lead to children who are able to sit and participate in church. One of the biggest things is just to not give up after a couple of difficult services. It is such an encouragement and a blessing to see my sons listening to their dad (and others) preach and to hear them repeating back words and phrases that they hear. This has already led to discussions about the Bible and they are just 4 and 2. I also have a little baby girl who spends part of the service napping in a baby-carrier and part of the time playing with quiet toys on the floor. I could go on…This is an awesome topic! I look forward to checking out your book 🙂 reply to comment
  5. Katherine January 7, 2017 at 9:44 PM Iam a grandmother to twin 2yr old girls,iam teaching them to pray for meals and try to pray with them.I need to do mo with the girls.thanks for good info. Gid bless reply to comment
  6. Katherine January 7, 2017 at 9:47 PM Great article.learned alot of good info to help my twin grandaughters. reply to comment
  7. Kim January 22, 2017 at 7:47 AM What is a good bible for a 7 year old. Like thru the bible in a year. All I’ve are bible stiries reply to comment
  8. Patrice Heppenstall August 29, 2017 at 10:37 AM would like to buy the e-book, but link doesn’t work. any suggestions? reply to comment
  9. McKenzie August 31, 2017 at 11:00 AM This is such a great post. I really like your first point about letting your kid see real faith. Thank you for sharing this! reply to comment
  10. Mattie April 25, 2018 at 8:32 PM Great post! Super helpful for this first time mama! reply to comment
  11. Teresa Walker July 12, 2018 at 9:29 AM Wonderful post Erin. Looking forward to sharing with my grandchildren and other’s. We are all still children…really. This could apply to all I think. God bless you. reply to comment
  12. Tamiko October 18, 2018 at 2:59 PM Hello,
    I was just skimming through, looking for some insights on teaching my grand daughter about Jesus… and I came across your sight. I noticed this page dates back to 2014… so I”m thinking. ok… the last baby is four years old now:). I love what I see here, however I do not have the time at this moment to discover what else is here, so I’ll come back, in the meantime I hope that you are doing well, I am truly inspired because you have done what I have dreamed to do , but found it difficult to pursue… (writing books. blogging ect). You see I was and still am a stay at home Mom I was a military wife (my husband has now retired) who raised 10 children, six of which are young adults, So I just wanted to say , do not be weary in well doing for in due season, you shall reap if you do not faint. reply to comment

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