Ideas to get under-5s chatting to God
Even if you love the idea, it can seem hard to work out how to help your child chat with God if they're still young.
Here are some ideas and suggestions to get you thinking about what you might like to try with your child. You might want to read and process them on your own or with others who you've done the Parenting for Faith course with. Many of them will also work well with older children or those with additional needs. Use them as a starting point and adapt for your child, as you will know best what will work for them.
1 They don’t have to do it in their heads
Most little ones find this concept tricky. Instead, you could get them to whisper their answers into their hands or into a pillow or cushion. My three-year-old likes to make a ‘God tent’ by hiding under the covers at the bottom of her bed to chat to Him. Experiment with what works. Curious as you may be about their answers, try to reinforce that they are talking to God without you hearing, rather than them responding to you directly.
2 It doesn’t have to be verbal
Chat is about communicating with God but that doesn’t have to be through words. They could draw a picture of something they want to share with Him or make it out of playdough. Just like you, God is a proud parent who wants to see their new skills, so they might want to show Him how they’ve learnt to clap their hands, how fast they can zoom on their scooter or the funniest face they can make. Just remember to keep directing it as communication with God, not a performance for you.
3 Weave conversational prayer into whatever you’re doing
Lots of their life is spent playing, so talk to God about what they’re doing with their toys. Focus on things that interest them and that they can see. Whilst pushing the buggy you can point out flowers and ask them to tell God which one they like best. They can tell God which Paw Patrol character they’d most like to be or what makes them laugh about Peppa Pig whilst they’re watching it.
4 Good, bad, happy, sad are all perfect prompts.
Sometimes more complex emotions are tricky to understand for little ones but especially good or bad moments can be great prompts to chat to God. They peed on the potty, great, tell God. They got a new toy, let’s show God what it can do. Their playmate snatched a toy, let’s tell God how that makes them feel. They fell over and bumped their knee, let’s show God where it hurts. You get the idea.