Something funny happens when we’re around preschoolers.
We tend to both underestimate and overestimate them. Have you ever done this?
Maybe you think a four-year-old is too young to make his own peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but expect him to keep his emotions in check at all times. We’ve sure gotten those mixed up before.
There’s something about the in-between age of preschoolers that make them seem both big and little. And if we’re not careful, we may wrongly assume they’re too young to understand spiritual matters. Why not wait until they’re older, right?
Here’s why: Preschoolers, with their minds full of wonder and imagination, are primed to begin a relationship with an awe-inspiring God.
Let’s look at five ways you can help them to make the connection to preschoolers in your ministry and home.
How to Make God Real to Your Preschooler
Introduce the preschooler to Jesus.
Every preschooler we know loves a good story. From movies to books to evenings at Grandpa’s house, you can count on a three- and four-year-old to take in, relive, and reimagine the tales that he’s told.
You can let your preschooler loose with the fascinating stories found in the Jesus Storybook Bible, each one written with kids in mind and the goal to show how every event will point to the love of the Father and the coming of Jesus.
Focus on a few simple truths.
Your preschooler has a lifetime to unearth the complexities of the gospel. For now, start with the good news that matters most: God made you. God loves you. Jesus wants to be your friend forever.
Look for ways to weave the spiritual world into real world conversations. When he’s scared, talk about the peace God offers. When something awesome happens, pause together to give God thanks. Encourage him to keep trying at tasks that are difficult–reminding him that with God all things are possible.
Live as an example of God’s love.
Have you ever noticed how eager your preschooler is for your attention and approval? He may outright beg you to look his way and congratulate his efforts. That’s because he’s hoping you’ll help him answer a deep-seated question, “Am I okay?”
He needs to know that you love him no matter what–even when he’s got a bad attitude and makes more messes than masterpieces. When you set boundaries and provide loving discipline, you not only answer his question with a “Yes!”, but you also paint a picture of the way God loves each and every one of us.
Let him play an active role in learning.
Preschoolers are an energetic bunch. When it comes time to teach, you might (might) hold their attention for a solid eight minutes; but don’t be surprised if they’re up and running long before then.
To really drive home the lessons, engage his senses. Bring out goldfish and croutons as you talk through the miracle of Jesus feeding the multitude. Let him race around the room while you listen to a song about the never-ending love of God. In this phase, play equals learning.
Answer his God questions with confidence.
Sometimes the answer you’ll give is, “I don’t know.” And that’s okay. You can learn more about what he’s asking together. Other times, you’ll get to share an example from the Bible or a personal story of God’s love from your own life.
Yes, your preschooler still walks the line between fantasy and reality. So, even when you talk about death at his great-aunt’s funeral, he may still wonder if he can climb a ladder up to Heaven to see her sometime. Breathe easy. Continue to build a strong foundation, and trust that he’ll figure things out more as he grows.
This content was contributed by Phase. Discover all the resources available for your preschoolers in the Phase store.