Friday, February 1, 2013

Training my Toddler in Truth

"Reading" books is a favorite pastime



My daughter kills me with cuteness. At eighteen months, she is talking like nobody's business. She knows about 50% of the lyrics to "Row Your Boat;" can tell you what noises a cow, dog, cat, monkey, rooster, sheep, horse, and lion makes; and identifies objects such as clementines, teddy bears, and pancakes with fairly clear English.

This coming from the babe born 13 weeks early. We didn't know if she would ever catch up to her peers, so to see her excelling in language development is beyond encouraging!

I've taught her to habitually say "please" when she wants something, and we are working on "thank you"- she can say it, but she does so reluctantly and begrudgingly. Even now her sin nature is actively asserting itself ;). I've started to point out colors, and we work on counting {though she hasn't gotten past three}.

Working so hard to teach her these basics has caused me to feel convicted about the lack of spiritual training I'm imparting. What are colors and numbers without knowing the God who created them?

More importantly, how can I teach my little girl the important truths of God's Word, when her understanding is so limited and she is still so young?

As I muddle through this question, day by day, I've come up with a few basic ideas to answer it. I'm still wondering, however, and unsure of the depth of the solutions I'm finding...

Incorporating prayer into our daily routine. We pray as a family at dinner time, and lately I've been trying to remember to do the same before breakfast and lunch {terrible that I forget, but it's the truth!}. When my daughter says "Amem," it usually means she wants to eat, so I guess the habit is rubbing off a little :). I also am making it a point to pray together before bed time. I want her to learn to pray by hearing Mommy and Daddy pray. I want her to get a glimpse of who Jesus is through listening to our conversations with Him.

Reciting Scriptures out loud. I repeat so many nursery rhymes and songs throughout the day, and S really does pick up the words. Why not do the same with Scripture verses? It seems like the most basic one, so I've been reciting John 3:16 to S at different periods of our day. She says "John," and that means, "Do it again Mommy!", so on we go. She will repeat the occasional word after me- "life," "Son," etc. She certainly doesn't know even a percentage of it by heart, and I realize she doesn't understand the meaning of it, but I want the pieces to be there for the day she can finally put them together.

Reading my Bible and Bible story books. Oftentimes S is awake and playing nearby while I read my Bible in the mornings. If she wants attention or interaction, I read my daily passages out loud. Sure, she has a short attention span, but it can't hurt her to listen in and out of snippets. We also have several Bible storybooks which I try to read from each day. Side note: I must say I'm disappointed with the vast majority of children's Bible books! I find that many of them take way too much artistic license with the text, and apply stories in a way that seems somewhat in congruent with Scripture. Do you know of any solid ones which you could recommend? I am definitely interested!

So this is me, clumsily attempting to teach my little one about the Lord.

I'd love your feedback! How do you intentionally train your toddlers in the truth?

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