You are holding your precious baby in your arms. This amazing gift from God will hopefully have almost two decades growing up in your home. At the moment, he or she can’t speak, walk or do much of anything. It’s too early to even think about teaching this little soul about God. Or is it?
The sooner you develop healthy Christian parenting habits, the more likely you are to help your child build a strong spiritual foundation. Every child is different and there really isn’t a good way of measuring when each one begins processing what is said to them. That’s why it’s so important to start teaching your sweet baby about God from birth.
So what should you be teaching a baby about God and how?
- Sing worship songs to your baby. Most parents sing to their children to soothe or entertain them. Thankfully, infants aren’t usually very vocal music critics. So sing your favorite worship songs to your heart’s content. Play them in the car or around the house. Those words will eventually register and become part of your child’s precious memories.
- Pray over your child. Remember the Old Testament stories about fathers blessing their children? One way to do that is to pray over them – out loud – while you are rocking or putting them down for a nap or at night. The words may not register quite yet, but hearing your parents pray about you to God is a special blessing for any child.
- Read to your child from the Bible. Find a baby Bible and read the stories in a condensed format with pictures. Read some of your favorite verses from a “regular” Bible. Tell your baby a Bible story. Deuteronomy has not one, but two places where God’s people are commanded to tell their children about God all day, every day. Starting when they are infants, begins a crucial family habit of Bible study.
- Take your baby to Church and Sunday School. I know. Between feedings, diaper changes and naps, your baby won’t actually be focused for more than a few minutes. But I have seen very small babies enthralled by infant Bible classes. They also love the singing in worship service and the loving attention of other members. It’s important babies know from birth that worshipping God comes first.
- Start setting a good example of godly behavior. We all get sloppy about what should be our godly speech, attitudes and actions. Other adults will rarely call us out on any ungodly behaviors. Your baby will though in a couple of years. If you have any ungodly behaviors, now is the time to get serious about stopping them. If not, you will soon be surprised to hear your toddler parrot your ungodly words and actions.
- Spend time each day actively loving your baby. Hold and cuddle your child. Look her or him in the eyes with love. Tell your baby you love him or her multiple times a day. Play with your child. Talk to your child. Listen as your child begins to babble back in a conversational give and take. All of these are active loving behaviors your child will need for the rest of his or her time as your child. They are also important building blocks for understanding God’s love as they get older.
You may believe you can postpone teaching your child about God for at least the first couple of years. Missing those first precious years of teaching your child about God can keep you from creating important Christian parenting habits. Starting now can make a huge difference in the spiritual life of your sweet baby. It really is worth your time and effort.