You may remember, but I shared a story recently about Little Kevin and time out. He has been testing us lately, so we decided to give time out a try. With Brooke, it took a few times to show her how it was done. We sat with her, taught her the rules of timeout, and it just worked. Brooke always responds really well to time out or sitting her room to calm down a minute. So, I assumed Little Kevin would require the same.
However, we were in for a surprise. We told him he had to go to time out. He immediately went over to the wall, sat down, faced the wall and pouted just slightly over his shoulder. He sat there quietly until I told him to come here. Then, he said “sorry” and gave me a hug.
I was in awe. How does that happen? How did he just know what to do? Then, it hit me. His whole life, he has seen this process with his sister. He knew it well. He exactly what to do.
The same is true to shepherd your toddlers heart. It doesn’t just happen with one bible story or one prayer. It is thoughtful, intentional actions throughout their lives. Now, we still consider ourselves “newbie” parents since we only have a 3 1/2 year old and 1 1/2 year old, but these seven things have really been working for us and we are already seeing great fruit so we wanted to share them with you.
Every night, since our babies were really little, we have always had the same routine. We have bath time, then pick up toys, and read our bible. When Brooke as little, I came across The Baby Bible Storybook and it has been the biggest blessing. I highly recommend this bible for toddlers. It is VERY interactive and helps teach you as the parent how to engage with your child during a bible story. It also has a little prayer after each story that is so cute. These stories are very simple and help give a good base to your toddler that is very age appropriate. We read one page a night and Brooke has a few of the stories memorized now. It is very cool to see how it is being instilled her. (There is a girl version and a boy version of the storybook)
After we read our bible story, we say a prayer together as a family. Our kids both love the BOZ movies, so we started off with a prayer from this video series every night. Lately, we have been alternating between this BOZ prayer and the Lords Prayer. Brooke has both prayers memorized now at just 3 years old. She LOVES saying them and is so proud to do them by herself. We also let Brooke tell us any special requests she might have or let her prayer for anyone she wants. As Little Kevin gets older, I’m sure he will chime in as well. Right now he just folds his hands and says Amen.
After prayers, we put Little Kevin to bed and work on a verse of the week with Brooke. Brooke started Awanas at church when she was two and has been memorizing verses since turned three. It blows our mind how much she can memorize and retain each week. All we do is say her verse of the week a few times each night before bed. She normally has it memorized after a few nights.
Meal time prayer
We also encourage meal time prayers as a family. I have even caught Brooke making Little Kevin fold his hands while she says them before breakfast. Its so cute!
Now, our family LOVES music. We love pop, country, rock, etc. However, I have noticed that what we listen to in our home and in the car matters. We still have “Trolls” dance parties and our kids love the “Thunder” son and “Baby Shark”, but I play mostly Christian music in the car and lightly throughout the house during the day. I just love that are able to hear truth through music in their day.
Time to Teach
This one is harder than implementing a routine. It involves taking time to actually teach your child biblical truths. I say this is “hard” because I feel like I struggle with this one the most. You can’t give you kids what you don’t have. I can’t teach my children truth if I am not filling myself with God’s word and presence. This requires me actively pursing my relationship with God and sharing it with my children. It takes me seeing an opportunity to talk to my kids about kindness and grace and forgiveness. It takes slowing down your day. It takes seeing the world through their eyes. There is no guide book, or set of rules. Its thoughtful moments with your kids as they arise.
Live it out
Then, even more so, LIVE IT OUT. Its you showing your children Christ every day through your actions. Just like Little Kevin learned time out. Its an every day teaching of character. Its showing them that despite a bad day, you can show kindness. Its helping them navigate sharing with others. Its teaching them how to have a giving heart. Its so many things wrapped up into one.
Pray for God’s grace and guidance as you walk through shepherding your toddlers heart. Its not easy, but so worth it. You already have everything you need, Christ. Show them His love.