My five-year-old daughter asks the most interesting (and hard!) questions about God. Why isn’t He married? Is He very stretchy? Because how else could He fit into everyone’s hearts at the same time? Does He eat? Will there be unicorns in Heaven? And so many more questions that leave me looking to the heavens asking God to come help. She loves her questions, but one thing I never want her to question is the love God has for her.
I’ve been thinking about it even more as Valentine’s Day approaches. The gushy, sparkly holiday gives us the perfect chance to show our family and friends some extra love. My parenting philosophy is to use as many everyday occurrences as possible to point my children back to God, so why not use the holiday of love as a reminder to point them to the overwhelming love God has for them?
Little ones sometimes need more practical things that they can see or touch to help them understand the intangible. Read on for a few real-life ways to help your little ones see His love.
Remind them that creation is for them.
My daughter loves the color pink. One day we were driving and she gasped in awe as she noticed the sunset had turned the sky completely pink. I told her that God made all the sunrises and sunsets, and maybe He made this pink one just to make her happy! Since then she notices every pink sunset and thanks God for making it just for her.
What is something in nature that your little one loves? Frogs, the autumn leaves, mountains, clouds? God made the world for us to enjoy, and He was thinking about your little one’s delight as He was forming creation. Encourage them to enjoy it and see it as a sign of His love!
Talk about His blessings openly.
The week we moved into a new home, we were surprised and blessed with an entire van-load of groceries. I’m talking canned goods and boxes stacked all over our kitchen floor. It was such a blessing, and we still have pantry items stashed all over the house to make room. As I was unloading everything, I saw my daughter staring at it all wide-eyed. So I used the opportunity to talk about the blessing and how it helped us. I explained that now we didn’t have to buy all these groceries, and we could use that money for something else like clothes.
We talked about the person who blessed us, but we also talked about how all good things come from God. Sometimes His love can look like cans of green beans or boxes of macaroni and cheese! Every time we opened a new can of green beans, we could talk about how God loves us and cares for us.
As parents, we don’t always think to talk to our children about the small ways that God blesses us in our everyday lives, but setting the example to thank God for every small gift is invaluable!
Remind them of His love in the hard times.
It’s been a long time since I was a kid, but I definitely still remember that it can be hard some days. Everyone is telling you what to do and when to do it, and it seems like you mess up a lot. My daughter becomes heartbroken when she gets in trouble for something that she did wrong. Even at the young age of five, she wants to be perfect and never fail. (I can relate! Ha!)
At her lowest moments, I try to be quick to remind her that God loves her just as much in that moment as He does at any other time. The crazy thing about God’s love is that she could never earn it or deserve it: He gives it freely and unconditionally.
When she’s beating herself up about mistakes, we pray and ask God to come into her heart and make it new. We ask Him to make her feel better and show her how much He loves her. I think it’s important for children to know they are loved by Him at their best and their worst moments!
Feed them with Worship and the Word.
Our children are little sponges. Their hearts soak in way more than we realize. If we want them to feel the weight of God’s love for themselves, then we have to give God open access to speak to their hearts. Read the Bible to them, read Bible stories, play the Bible through speakers in their room, create a worship music playlist for them, act out Bible stories in their playtime, and regularly take them to church.
God is already drawing their little hearts to Him. Let’s give Him plenty of opportunities to speak!
These are just a few of the many ways we can point our children back to God’s love. If God instructs us to come to Him like a child, then we know that He has an indescribably special place in His heart for our children. In these formative, crucial years, let’s speak His life and His love into our little ones!