Another Year Gone: How to Make the Most of Your (Limited) Time with Preschoolers

Think about the kids who most frequently attend your church (pastor’s kids don’t count!).  

At most, you’ll probably have 60% to 70% attendance, right? If you think about that in terms of an entire year, that means they’ll be in your classroom maybe 30 to 35 hours during the year. Take off several hours for snacks, playtime, potty breaks, etc., and you might have about 25 hours a year with your youth.  

When it comes to preschoolers, that means you have 25 hours a year, at most, to make an impact.  

So, in that limited amount of time, how are you going to connect with them? Is your strategy centered on making the most of your small amount of time each year?  

It’s not about going through the Bible chronologically.  

It’s not about following a curriculum to perfection. 

It’s not about arranging every story to tie in with a theme. 

None of those approaches are right or wrong. But the key question is, “How can you be more strategic and relational?” 

Here are three questions to ask yourself, no matter how you approach the teaching: 

  1. What is the one thing you want a kid to grow up and never forget? 
  2. What other core insights do you want them to understand related to that one thing? 
  3. What is the plan to recycle those insights so kids will remember them? 

Keep this in mind as you work through those questions: It’s not really your job to teach everything that’s in the Bible to every kid at every phase. It’s your job to teach the most important things in the phase when they matter most.  

Remember, your time is limited at each phase. It’s not practical or necessary to teach the entire Bible. You have to prioritize what truths are relevant for each age group, including preschoolers.  

Jesus Himself did this when He talked about the greatest commandment—loving God. He didn’t say all the commandments were equal. He prioritized the top ones and said everything else hangs on those two.  

So, what if all your content—whether preschool or high school—hung on that one commandment? What if everything we taught was simply organized around loving God and loving others?  

How simple is that?  

Too often, we overcomplicate our teaching and try to do too much with the little time we have. It’s not supposed to be that way. 

At each phase, but especially with preschoolers, clear and simple is the most effective approach to teaching about Jesus.  

Each week, think about the one takeaway you want your kids to leave with, and how it all ties back to loving God and loving others.  

Your time is limited. But that doesn’t mean your effectiveness has to be.  

Love God. Love others.