Do you need help teaching and modelling christian values to children? As a christian mom to 3 children, my goal is to have each of my children grow up to love and follow The Lord.
As a younger mom, I had no clue how to raise a christian child and often felt like I wasn’t doing enough.
My oldest is now 14 and I’ve realized that teaching our children about God doesn’t have to be complicated. But that doing small things every day can make a huge impact.
Since I struggled so much with this, I wanted to share with you some strategies I’ve used to teach and model christian values to my children.
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14 Strategies for teaching and modelling Christian values to children
Teaching children about the significance of prayer and incorporating it into everyday life is a cornerstone of instilling Christian values.
It’s important to help children understand that prayer is not merely a ritual, but a way to communicate directly with God. It serves as a means for expressing gratitude, seeking guidance, requesting protection, and simply taking the time to foster a personal relationship with Him.
Making prayer a regular feature of your daily routine helps children see it as a natural and essential part of life. One way to do this is by establishing set times for prayer throughout the day.
It’s crucial to encourage children to pray for their personal needs. This can range from help with schoolwork to healing from an illness, or peace about a situation that worries them. By doing so, they learn to trust God and depend on Him in all circumstances.
Equally important is teaching children the value of intercessory prayer, which involves praying for others. They can pray for a friend who is sick, their teachers, their siblings, or even people in countries they’ve only heard about. This helps them to develop empathy, broaden their worldview, and realize the power of prayer in the lives of others.
Ultimately, the goal is to instill in children a habit of prayer, helping them understand that they can turn to God in all situations and that their prayers, big or small, are heard by Him.
Teaching the Importance of Prayer:
- Communication with God: Explain to children that prayer is our direct line of communication with God. It’s how we talk to Him, thank Him, and ask for His help or guidance.
- Expression of Faith and Dependence: Teach them that when we pray, we express our faith in God and our dependence on Him. We acknowledge that we need His help in our lives.
- God’s Command: Share with them that the Bible instructs us to pray. For instance, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 urges us to “pray without ceasing.”
- Power of Prayer: Help them understand the power of prayer. James 5:16 says, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
2. Bible Reading:
Integrating the regular reading and discussion of Bible stories into your family’s routine is a pivotal part of nurturing a child’s spiritual growth and understanding of Christian values.
The Bible, being the living Word of God, is filled with a wealth of narratives, parables, and teachings that offer timeless wisdom and guidance.
Reading Bible stories to children, particularly at a young age, introduces them to the key figures, events, and teachings of the Christian faith.
It’s a wonderful opportunity to acquaint them with the life and teachings of Jesus, the miracles performed by God, the faith of the patriarchs and matriarchs, and so much more.
But beyond mere reading, discussing these stories in an engaging and interactive manner can bring the Scriptures to life, making them more relatable and understandable to young minds.
Encourage your children to actively participate in these discussions. Allow them to ask questions about anything that intrigues them, puzzles them, or seems unclear.
Remember, the goal of reading and discussing Bible stories with your children is not only to educate them about the Christian faith but to instill in them a love for God’s Word, a habit of seeking wisdom from it, and a desire to live according to its teachings.
3. Family Devotions:
Designating a specific time each day or week for family devotions is an essential practice in cultivating a Christ-centered home.
This time serves as a cornerstone for fostering spiritual growth and unity within the family. It’s an opportunity to step away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and come together as a family in a shared pursuit of spiritual nourishment and growth.
Family devotions can follow a flexible format based on your family’s needs and preferences, but generally, they involve a few key components: reading Scripture, discussing its application, and praying together.
These elements help create an atmosphere of learning, reflection, and connection with God and each other.
Remember, family devotions don’t have to be lengthy or overly formal. What matters most is the consistency and the intention behind it.
Even a few dedicated minutes each day or a longer session once a week can have a profound impact on your family’s spiritual journey.
Over time, these shared moments can become treasured family rituals that nurture your family’s faith, create lasting memories, and shape your family’s identity in Christ.
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4. Model Christian Behavior:
One of the most powerful ways to teach your children about Christianity is by embodying its principles through your own actions.
Children, especially when they’re young, learn extensively by observing those around them.
Your behaviour serves as a living example of what it means to be a Christian, making you the primary model of Christian values for your children.
The Bible instructs us to “love your neighbour as yourself” (Mark 12:31) and to “be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). These and other Christian values can be effectively taught when they are consistently demonstrated in your daily life.
Showing love in your interactions with others is a practical way to exemplify the love of Christ. This can be as simple as offering words of encouragement to someone who is struggling, helping a neighbour with their groceries, or spending quality time with your family.
Let your children see you acting in love, and explain to them why you do so.
Remember, children often mirror the behaviour of their parents. Therefore, living out your faith authentically and demonstrating Christian values in your actions can have a profound influence on your children’s understanding and practice of their own faith.
More than any sermon or Sunday school lesson, your day-to-day actions speak volumes about your faith. And through this, your children can learn that Christianity is not just about beliefs and rituals, but about a transformative way of life guided by the teachings of Jesus Christ.
5. Church Participation:
Active participation in church services and activities is a fundamental practice in fostering a strong Christian family.
Attending church services together offers numerous opportunities for spiritual growth and learning.
During the services, family members can join in corporate worship, listen to the preaching of God’s Word, and participate in communion.
These experiences can foster a deeper understanding of Christian doctrines, inspire spiritual conversations at home, and provide a platform to discuss and reflect on the sermon’s teachings as a family.
Beyond the weekly service, churches often host a variety of additional activities and events. These can help to broaden your family’s understanding of Christianity, allowing you to put your faith into action, serve others, and build relationships with fellow believers.
For children, being part of the church community can be especially beneficial.
Many churches offer age-appropriate groups and activities designed to engage children and youth. These might include Sunday school classes, youth groups, Bible camps, or special events.
Participating in these activities can help children deepen their faith, learn more about the Bible in a kid-friendly environment, and develop friendships with peers who share their beliefs.
Involving children in age-appropriate activities not only keeps them engaged but also helps them develop a sense of ownership and belonging within the church community.
As parents, it’s also beneficial to get involved in church activities that cater to your interests and gifts. This could be joining a Bible study group, volunteering in a ministry, or serving in a leadership role.
Your active involvement sets a positive example for your children, showing them that church is not just a place to attend, but a community to be actively involved in.
Remember, while attending church and participating in its activities is important, the goal is not merely about fulfilling a religious obligation.
It’s about creating a lifestyle that revolves around worship, learning, fellowship, and service—values that are central to Christianity. It’s about building strong faith foundations, nurturing a vibrant faith community, and living out the teachings of Christ as a family.
6. Service and Charity:
Involve your children in acts of service and charity, both within your church community and in the broader community. This teaches the value of helping others and shows God’s love in action.
Teaching children about service and charity is an ongoing process. Be patient and consistent in guiding them, and over time, they will internalize these values and carry them into adulthood.
By nurturing a spirit of giving and empathy, you are helping shape a brighter and more compassionate future for your children and society as a whole.
7. Christian Media:
Use Christian books, movies, and music to reinforce Christian teachings. There are many age-appropriate resources available.
Listen to Christian music or songs with uplifting and faith-based messages. Singing along or dancing to these songs can be a fun way for children to memorize Bible verses and spiritual teachings.
Use the stories or themes from Christian media as a springboard to explore deeper theological concepts. Discuss the lessons learned and how they apply to real-life situations.
8. Discussions About Christian Values:
Regularly discuss Christian values, such as honesty, kindness, forgiveness, and faith. Use real-life situations to explain these concepts and their importance.
By engaging in open and meaningful conversations, you can deepen their understanding of these values and demonstrate how they apply to everyday life. Here’s how you can expand on this idea:
- Honesty: Emphasize the importance of honesty in all interactions. Explain that honesty builds trust in relationships and allows others to rely on us. Use real-life examples, such as the consequences of telling the truth versus lying, to illustrate the value of honesty. Encourage your children to be truthful even when it’s difficult, as this reinforces the integrity of their character.
- Kindness: Discuss the concept of kindness as a fundamental Christian virtue. Teach your children to show compassion and empathy towards others, including those who may be different or facing challenges. Encourage them to perform random acts of kindness and consider the positive impact such gestures can have on someone’s day.
- Forgiveness: Explain the significance of forgiveness in Christianity. Use age-appropriate examples to demonstrate how forgiveness can heal relationships and bring peace. Teach your children that forgiveness doesn’t excuse harmful behaviour, but it frees us from carrying the burden of anger and resentment.
- Faith: Discuss the meaning of faith as a foundation of belief and trust in God. Share stories from the Bible or personal experiences where faith played a role in overcoming challenges or finding strength. Encourage your children to pray and nurture their relationship with God, fostering a sense of security and hope.
10. Celebrating Christian Holidays:
Celebrate Christian holidays like Easter and Christmas, and take the time to explain their significance. This can also include observing Lent and Advent, depending on your tradition.
These holidays carry significant religious meanings, and incorporating them into family traditions can help instill faith and spiritual understanding in children. Here’s how these celebrations teach children about God:
- Easter – The Resurrection of Jesus: Easter is a time to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. By explaining the Easter story to children, parents can introduce the concept of Jesus’ sacrifice for humanity and the promise of eternal life. Teaching children about the significance of the empty tomb and Jesus’ victory over death helps them understand the core message of Christianity – the hope and redemption that comes through Christ’s resurrection.
- Christmas – The Birth of Jesus: Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus, and it is one of the most widely recognized Christian holidays. Teaching children the nativity story, from Mary and Joseph’s journey to the birth in the stable, offers an opportunity to explain the miraculous event of God becoming incarnate in human form. Children learn about the concept of God’s love and the gift of Jesus to humanity, emphasizing the idea that Christmas is not just about receiving gifts but also about giving and expressing love to others.
11. Memorizing Verses:
Encourage your children to memorize Bible verses. Start with simple ones and gradually move to more complex verses. This will help them internalize God’s word.
As they commit these verses to memory, they develop a deeper connection with the Scriptures and internalize the teachings and values found within.
Remember to be patient and supportive during the memorization process. Every child learns at their own pace, so celebrate their progress and focus on nurturing their love for God’s word.
By encouraging them to memorize Bible verses, you are helping them build a strong foundation in their faith, fostering a lifelong habit of engaging with and internalizing God’s word.
12. Christian Education:
If possible, consider Christian education options, where the curriculum will align with your faith and values.
Christian education plays a vital role in teaching children about God, instilling biblical values, and nurturing their spiritual growth. It provides a comprehensive and intentional approach to integrating faith into every aspect of learning.
By immersing children in a Christ-centered learning environment, Christian education goes beyond mere academic instruction. It nurtures their hearts and minds, preparing them to live as faithful followers of Jesus Christ, and empowering them to make a positive impact on the world around them.
The values and knowledge imparted through Christian education serve as a strong foundation for a lifetime of spiritual growth and service to God and others.
13. Practicing Forgiveness:
Make forgiveness a part of your family culture. Let your children see you forgive others, and explain why you’re doing it.
Practicing forgiveness is a powerful way to teach our children about God’s nature and the central message of Christianity. It allows children to understand the significance of love, compassion, and reconciliation, fostering a deeper connection with their faith. Here’s how forgiveness teaches our children about God:
- God’s Forgiveness in the Bible: The Bible repeatedly emphasizes God’s forgiving nature. Teaching children about stories like the prodigal son, the woman caught in adultery, or Jesus’ forgiveness on the cross highlights God’s boundless mercy and grace. Through these stories, children learn that no mistake is too great for God’s forgiveness.
- Imitating God’s Character: The act of forgiveness mirrors God’s character. Encouraging children to forgive others is an opportunity to model God’s love and compassion. It teaches them to be more Christ-like and to embody the values central to Christianity.
- Understanding Grace: Forgiveness is an expression of grace – the unmerited favour bestowed upon someone. By forgiving others, children come to understand God’s grace in their own lives, realizing that they too have received forgiveness despite their imperfections
14. Encouraging Faith Questions:
Let your children ask questions about faith, God, and the Bible. Be open and honest with your answers, and use these questions as teaching moments.
As parents or mentors, it’s important to be patient and understanding when children ask questions about faith.
Sometimes the questions may be challenging, but embracing them with empathy and providing thoughtful responses helps children navigate their spiritual journey with confidence and authenticity.
Ultimately, fostering an environment where children feel free to ask questions helps them develop a deeper and more meaningful relationship with God, laying the foundation for a lifelong pursuit of faith and understanding.
Remember, the goal is to guide your children in their faith journey, not to force it. Allow them to grow and explore their faith at their own pace.
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