As the primary educators of our children, parents have a really awesome task of being the first ones to announce the Good News to them.
This process can happen the minute the child is born and at every milestone as they grow. When we teach the Faith there will always be a variety of methods depending on the time, culture, and audience. But the central message stays the same: Jesus.
But it seems like it’s not very often we actively consider how we are (or are not) evangelizing our children at each stage. One exciting (and stressful) age that has tons of potential is toddlerhood. They naturally absorb everything happening around them and learn fast! The toddler years are the perfect time to start planting the seeds of faith.
Here are five simple ways you can start inviting your toddler into a relationship with Our Lord:
1. Pick him up and walk over to a crucifix at home. Point and with a cheerful voice tell him “look! There’s Jesus. He loves you so much! Can you blow a kiss to Jesus?” Do this with images of the Blessed Mother as well.
2. Read a (very) short Scripture verse directly from the Bible and then kiss the Bible once you close it. Invite her to kiss it as well and say “we show reverence because this is the living Word of God.” Even if she doesn’t understand it yet, this practice of reverencing the Scriptures will be ingrained in her from her earliest memory.
3. Teach him the Sign of the Cross. Don’t worry if it’s just a tap on the forehead. You’re building a habit and being a witness each time you do it even if it isn’t perfect yet.
4. Stay late after Mass and bring her up to the sanctuary and point out Jesus in the tabernacle. This is another great place practice the Sign of the Cross or to blow a kiss. The simple gesture will help her see there is something special and set apart about that space.
5. Be sincere and love your child. The greatest form of evangelization is to be a living example of God’s love to your child. Take the time to learn about healthy and Christian parenting practices and put that into loving action.
And at the end of the day, trust that God has made you the father or mother of your child for a very specific reason. Your unique personality and gifts are what God wanted for your child to learn and grow in the faith. Choose love and be at peace knowing that He didn’t choose another parent or set of parents for your child – He chose you! Now, go love that toddler and lead them to Jesus!
What would you add to this list? How have you evangelized your toddler?