Helping babies and toddlers get to know God from Christian Today
As a mother to young children herself, Anna Hawken is passionate about helping Christian parents share their faith with their little ones.
While there is plenty of support for the physical nurturing of babies and toddlers, the mother-of-three wonders whether their spiritual wellbeing is being overlooked.
That’s why Hawken, as Ministry Lead for Parenting for Faith, a ministry of Bible Reading Fellowship, is inviting parents and carers to join an online course that has been specially designed to help them introduce their under-5s to God.
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We love helping others and believe that’s one of the reasons we are chosen as Ambassadors of the Kingdom, to serve God’s children. We look to the Greatest Commandment as our Powering force.
Anna speaks to Christian Today about why parents shouldn’t wait to start their children on their faith journey, and what churches can do to support them.
CT: From your own experience as a mother with young children, why do you think it’s so crucial that we start the spiritual formation of our children from babyhood onwards?
Anna: I think it’s useful for the parents as well as the children because there is no magic age where they suddenly start understanding about God. I think there can be a tendency in the Church to think that there’s a certain point, like maybe when they turn five or start school, where children will suddenly start to be able to experience God or understand when their parent talks about God or interacts with God, and I just don’t think that’s true.
Any parent will know from their own little ones copying their words or actions that they are watching and listening and taking everything in. Babies are very sensitive and aware of atmospheres and what’s going on. They pick up on our emotions and everything that’s happening around them, and we will miss out if we wait until they’re older before we start teaching them about God. There’s no right age to do that and we run the risk of waiting forever and finding that, before we know it, they’re already six or eight or 10 years old and we still haven’t started!
So I would encourage all parents to get into the habit of sharing a bit of your spiritual life with your child, finding ways to include them in it, and giving them opportunities to connect with God right from when they’re tiny, because that’s going to carry over into the rest of their lives.