There are three drives that are hardwired in every kid:
If you think about those drives as dials you turn to help a kid understand God, then what if you turn those dials to different volumes for different phases? It’s just like finding the right mix for a love song. Wonder is like the melody. Discovery is the harmony. Passion is the rhythm. When you get the mix just right, something magical happens; and the song connects with the heart of the listener.
Knowing what you now know about the phases, which dial do you think you should turn up the loudest for a preschooler? You will turn all three dials at every phase, but the volumes may change in order to create the right mix. Preschoolers who think like artists blend the stories they hear with the stories they live in a way that makes the loaves and two fish just as memorable as yesterday’s pizza.
They understand an invisible God they can imagine—the One who designed the animals and created the flowers. The One who made them and knows everything about them. Who keeps them safe. Who loves them.
When you embrace their physical needs, you help a preschooler know God’s love and meet God’s family.
The way God proved His love to humanity through time is similar to the way a child grows up and relates to God throughout the phases. It’s as if there is a pattern for spiritual growth working throughout the events of history the same way it works throughout our lives. Your goal is to show up in the lives of kids and teenagers, over time, to love them and help them mature in their ability to relate to God at every phase. The best way to help a kid mature in their relationship with God at every phase is to help them relate to God in their present phase.
3 Ideas to Help Preschoolers Understand God
1. Ignite their imagination
(Don’t fight it.) When it comes to the Bible, preschoolers might miss a few details, add some embellishments, or confuse the chronology. Just remember, they aren’t overthinking it. They are imagining it.
Sometimes, it’s just better to let them put a monkey in the manger scene and spend your hour talking about the wonder of Jesus being born, rather than correcting their historical, geographical understanding of Bethlehem.
2. Activate their senses
Artists learn through their senses; so, if you really want to help them relate: sing songs (the more rhyming, the better), tell stories with hand motions, make crafts, show videos, use pictures, eat snacks. (Don’t worry about creating new smells; there are already enough of those).
3. Structure their experience
Artists may have a reputation for being free spirits, but creativity sometimes flourishes with a little structure. In the same way, preschoolers will feel safe enough to imagine and wonder about their Creator when they know what to expect.
So, prepare ahead of time. Recruit consistent leaders. Keep the environment clean. Have a set schedule for your experience. Oh, and one more thing as you set that schedule, remember the attention span of the average three-year-old is about eight minutes. So, plan your time accordingly.
When it comes to leading the next generation, spiritual growth means helping kids mature in their ability to understand God. In order to grow up and know God at every phase, kids need adults to help them rediscover how to relate to God in every phase. You create a unique mix of wonder, discovery, and passion for each phase. Remember that every kid will always need all three—just maybe at different volumes.
This content was contributed by Phase. Discover all the resources available for your preschoolers in the Phase store.