Just 50% of children growing up in Christian homes will keep their faith as adults
Parents and carers are the most important influence on children developing a faith that lasts
95% of parents feel it is their responsibility to teach their children about the Christian faith and 92% feel they should be doing more.
The Kitchen Table Project equips parents for this task with the tools and support to help parents succeed in inspiring faith at home.
We cant just rely on the great childrens work that happens in our churches to teach our children about God. However important that may be, its not a substitute for the amazing opportunity parents have at home with our children. The big question is how can the church support parents in this task.
The Kitchen Table project provides a regular email newsletter with reminders, ideas and opportunities for us all to be more intentional about how we help our childrens love for God grow while they are young. The primary focus is on equipping parents with children aged under 11.
Find out more on their website here and consider making the parents in your church aware of this fantastic resource.
10 things to do at home to get you started:
1. Play with your children
Playing with our children and having fun reaffirms our love for them and enjoyment of life. It also helps develop their imagination.We all use our imaginations to picture what God is like so whether we realise it or not, this helps faith to grow!You could try this fun Prayer Jenga game as a way to make prayer fun.
2. Eat a meal together
Spending time together is so much easier when food is involved. For a toddler sitting in a highchair they get to feel part of the family, and it helps everyone with communication, including teenagers!Try having everyone in the family (including adults!) answer simple questions like:What was the best thing about your day?What was the hardest thing about your day?You could even add in an extra focus like:Did you see God in anything you did today? Or Did you talk to God about anything today?
3. Say sorry when youre wrong
Its easy for our children to think that were perfect, and that were always right! We do tend to reinforce that message. But actually showing them were not helps them to see that God loves us even when we make mistakes.Saying sorry when we over-react or make a mistake can make a huge difference to our childrens perceptions of what it means to be a Christian. We can also teach them about forgiveness by asking them to forgive us too, demonstrating what God does for us.
4. Point to God in the everyday
Creation is a great way to start a conversation about God. If you say its a beautiful day, point out a magnificent tree or are amazed at how much its raining, try adding on just a short statement like: Isnt God so amazing to have created all that? Or you could use the opportunity to pray and thank him for his creation.Simple sentences like this make God a natural part of conversation and everyday life.
5. Offer a glimpse of your spiritual life
We often have a private relationship with God silent prayers, reading the Bible alone, or singing worship songs in the car. Giving our children a little insight into what we do gives them an example to follow.Could you play worship music in the house and sing along? Could you leave your Bible out, or tell your children what you just read? Perhaps you could ask them to pray for you? You could tell them what you learnt in church so that they see how that impacts you.Showing children that God is part of your life and that you spend time with him makes God and faith seem more real.
6. Pray at bedtime
Praying for your children before they go to sleep is a great way of showing our children our faith. Encourage your children to pray, even if they do it silently in their head. And dont worry if they dont want to. Just the fact that they know you trust God enough to talk to him is helpful.Think about how you can pray more specifically than just for a good nights sleep too (we all need that!). Can you thank God for something, or pray for a situation at school?
7. Share a story
There are so many ways to share a Bible story with our children. You can just read it, or act it out, do a creative activity to illustrate it however you and your child interact best.But could you tell them why you love that story? What does it show you about who God is? Knowing that they mean something more than just a nice story really helps their understanding.If you have older children could you find an opportunity to tell them why you love Jesus? Why are you a Christian? They would love to know how you became a Christian, and your own personal story.
8. Meet up with others from church
Do you have any good Christian friends? Spending time together with your children (and theirs if they have them) can help relationships develop, so that there are others who love Jesus in their lives as well. Just having fun together and showing the love of the wider family of God is so important.And as they grow up they have other friends or adults they can talk to when youre not so popular! Ask God to show you which families could be the perfect fit for you.
9. Offer an explanation
It can be really easy to assume that children know why we do things. But have you ever explained to your children why you go to church? Why do we sing songs together? Why do we make time to talk to people and be kind to them?Often these simple explanations can make a big difference to understanding why we do what we do. It will help your children to join in and give them motivation too.
10. Find a time to pray
We know how important it is to pray for our children, but its so easy to forget and let it slide. Life gets busy, or there are more pressing crises that we bring to God.
But nothing beats praying that our children will grow up to love Jesus. Can you find a way to remind yourself to pray for them?
That might be every time you see a specific picture of them on the wall. Perhaps before you go to bed you can pop into their room and pray for them. Or could you meet with other parents and pray for your children together? Whatever works for you, whenever you can its worth it!