Teaching a toddler how to pray does not have to be a hard thing to do but it can be one of the most beneficial tools you can place in your child’s hands as well as a process that can give you the most heart-melting memories!
Here are a few points I found helpful when teaching my son how to pray.
Model How To Pray
When our children are young, they are like sponges that soak up what they see their parents doing. You see it when your child holds their hand up to their ear and pretends to talk on the phone or when they pretend to make cups of tea or coffee with a cup during bath time.
It is the same when it comes to praying. As they listen to you pray they will begin to understand they too can simply talk to God. They will also pick up on when and where you pray so do not be shy about praying in the car, or at the breakfast table, or when you hear good or bad news. Your child will start to understand that God is ready to listen to us whenever and wherever we are.
Keep It Simple
The goal is for our children to chat to God, right? Are they praying one sentence? Great. Are they copying your prayer every night for a year? Fantastic. Are they insisting they want to talk to God about your pet cat? Amazing.
Short, sweet, simple prayers from your child’s heart will always trump fancy phrases or formulated prayers.
My son started to pray by listening to me from the moment he was born. After a while he started to say Amen at the end of the prayer. Then I encouraged him to copy what I said with a simple pray like, “Dear God, thank you for the sunshine today. Amen.”
It then progressed to him wanting to say his own.
Talk About It
Another hint I found helpful, is to talk with your child about what you will both pray about before you pray. It lets them think about their day and what they want to thank or ask God for. Then they have those ideas and the words in their head before you both start praying to God.
These are three simple ways to begin to encourage your toddler to pray to God.
No family is the same and no two children are the same. How you teach your toddler to pray may look completely different to the next family but the main thing is that your heart desires to raise your child up to know who God is.
We are so fortunate to have a God who is able to take our small attempts to serve Him and infuse them with the power of His Holy Spirit.
So don’t give up. Even when you can’t see the growth, keep praying for your children and with your children.