Teaching Your Toddler How To Pray
I cannot explain the overflowing joy I feel when I see Brooke fold her little hands together to pray and say “amen”. When Brooke was a baby, Kevin and I started praying with her and over her throughout the day. I wrote this post about when and how to pray for your baby and I really believe that repetition, even from when she was baby has helped her make prayer part of her day. We know that she doesn’t quite understand “prayer” fully, but we do know that instilling this value in her is something that will have such an impact on her as she grows.
I still remember all the nights my dad would pray with me before bedtime. It truly shaped my prayer life and still does today. We knew really wanted this for our children as well, so here are 3 things we have done so far to install the value of prayer in our house:
Your kids are constantly watching you and listening to you wether you realize it or not. This is why it is so important to watch your speech and your actions in front of your kids. We have tried to model prayer for Brooke so that she sees us praying. We started this from when she was a baby at bedtime. We sit, fold our hands, pray out loud and say amen.
Repetition is KEY! I highly believe this is what worked for us. Like I mentioned above, we pray almost every night before bedtime. Brooke gets a bath, we put on lotion, we put on pajamas, sometimes we read a book, then we pray, give kisses/hugs and her daddy tucks her in bed. We do this EVERY night. She knows the routine so well that we don’t even have to prompt her anymore. She will sit down in one of our laps, fold her hands and start “thank you God…” then say “Amen” at the end. Then she will give us kisses and get in bed.
Keep it Simple
Another thing we do is keep the prayer simple. At first, we started off with different little short prayers every night from her devotional bible. This was sweet and good for routine, but not really for repetition. At around 16-18 months, she started loving BOZ movies and the prayer they say at bedtime. We adopted this prayer and say the same prayer every night. This is why Brooke can start it with “Thank you God..” she will mumble the middle part sometimes and end with “Amen.” Sometimes, we add little short personal prayers on the end, but for the most part, we stick with the main prayer.
We also try to pray before meals when we can (a lot of time we eat at different times right now so that is harder). As she grows and begins to understand more, we plan on adding more personal prayers each day and explaining more and more what it means to pray. For now, we are trying to keep it age appropriate in understanding and working on instilling the foundation of prayer. I hope this helps you get started if you are wanting to work on teaching your toddler how to pray!