How to Talk to Your Kids About Religion?

Congratulations: your child has finally reached an age where you can communicate with them directly. When they first learn to speak, it will take forever before that mouth ever stops moving again. With all that gabbing comes conversations of every topic, essential or otherwise. The more they witness in the world, there’s one discussion you may dread having: talking to your kids about religion. Your trepidation may not come from disinterest or disgust but rather doubt that you can convey its importance well. If adults struggle to grasp the concepts of faith, how could a child?

Rest assured: you’re not alone in your nervousness, but nor are you incapable of tackling the challenge. If the little children came flocking to Jesus, He could provide a plan to equip you when yours follow suit.

When to Talk to Your Kids About Religion

Let’s take one concern off of your plate: the perfect time to talk with your kid about faith does not exist. Choosing one time, day, or age over another does not guarantee success. Does that mean all attempts to do so are doomed to fail? Of course not – it only lessens the stress by leveling the playing field. All conversations have the opportunity to prosper. That does not, however, mean they possess an equal opportunity to prosper. Children will more readily retain and comprehend information at specific points. Honing into these openings can make for compelling, meaningful conversation.

Between the ages of 4 and 6, children will start taking notice of essential topics like religion. Speaking to them at this point will allow them to voice their thoughts and remain open to yours without difficulty. Any earlier, however, and their brains may not have developed to a viable point for such an in-depth subject. Before you talk, be sure that your child has eaten and slept well. If not, you may find them nodding off or eyeing the cookie jar halfway into your explanation.
No matter how much you may try to schedule it, be aware that you’re not the only one in control here. Kids can start these conversations at any point in time. Prepare yourself as soon as possible to prevent any unexpected circumstances.

Where to Talk to Your Kids About Religion

Even once you work up the nerve to talk, you may have no idea where to converse. Holding these discussions in the right place can increase your child’s retention and attention rates. Take them somewhere familiar, somewhere that makes them feel safe. This instinctual comfort will cause you both to drop your guards and open opportunities for honesty. Refrain from explaining religion for the first time in public. Not only will you feel as though every eye is on you, they very well maybe. Our modern-day world deems faith as a controversial topic, and some would silence its spread.

You never know who may want to interfere with this conversation. With such a sensitive and integral subject, it’s essential to protect your child from unpleasant interactions. Private settings also allow children to feel comfortable speaking their minds without an audience. Kids and teenagers alike fall prey to peer pressure, especially in public. Confidentiality gives them the confidence to speak without inhibition. Even if you have the ideal destination in mind, your child may circumvent your schedule with an ill-timed question. Be ready to hold discussions wherever you go or to redirect them when in inopportune environments seamlessly.

Why You Should Talk to Your Kids About Religion

You have to pour into this conversation; you may wonder whether it’s worthwhile. While children undoubtedly need to accept the faith of their discretion, that does not discredit the contributions of their parents. Do you remember Solomon’s wisdom from Proverbs 22:6?

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Even kings of old knew that childhood influences determine adult decisions. As parents, our impartation can directly impact the outcome of our children’s lives. It is not our mission to enforce our ideals on our children. However, we are responsible for showing them the paths towards health we have walked – faith first and foremost.

Information bombards our children daily from every source: news, neighbors, schools, social media, you name it. With so much negativity conveyed to them, wouldn’t we want to provide them with something eternally, unshakably positive?

How to Talk to Your Kids About Religion

With the timeframe, place, and purpose all determined, only one thing remains to decide. We must strategize how to break down something as all-encompassing as a religion for someone still learning to read. Every child has distinct preferences, personalities, and learning styles. Identifying what puts your child at ease can help open the door for deeper conversation. Utilizing their learning style makes sure the subject matter sticks.

It may disappoint you to know that no one-size-fits-all formula exists for talking to kids about faith. The good news is that parents don’t need a formula because they understand their children better than any statistics could. If you’re still unsure, there are general guidelines to utilize so that conversation flows smoothly.

Use Age-Relevant Language

Scripture tends to include language that can make even adult heads spin, and the concepts therein provoke question after question. Instead of quoting word-for-word, present the essence of your faith in words they know and use daily. Boiling religion down to its basics can scare those of us who take our faith seriously. After all, it means everything to us for a reason, and we want our kids to comprehend its impact. Presenting a bite-sized gospel can seem insulting to someone we consider our Savior. Presenting a bite-sized gospel can seem insulting to someone we consider our Savior. Think back to when you first accepted Jesus into your heart. No new believer understands the entirety of the Bible right off the bat. All you needed to understand was your need for Him and His love for you – and so do your kids.

child reading bible

Use Tangible Examples

With over 65% of the population classified as visual learners, your kid will need more than words to comprehend everything. Why not bring Scriptures to life through the world around them?

For example, let’s take the Creation story. Yes, you could tell your child every painstaking detail about how God made the land, the sea, and the animals. But instead of imparting information, why not deposit your child straight into the center of the story?

Taking your child to their favorite park could give you all the material you could ever hope to work with. Let a pond illustrate the third day, a bird illustrate the fifth, and they themselves the subject of the sixth day. This takes faith beyond the bounds of fiction and brings it into reality at a level they understand.

Ask Questions

Any parent has probably experienced an endless onslaught of inquiries from their kid. One study claimed that children ask an average of 73 questions per day. Why not turn the tables for once? By the time you’re talking to your kid, their minds will have already started mulling over what they’ve witnessed. Not every child, however, will ask their questions outright.

That leaves the responsibility to us. Throughout the conversation, stop and ensure they understand what you’ve discussed. Their responses may cause you to recognize gaps in your explanation you wouldn’t have otherwise noticed. Should they confront you with a question you can’t answer, don’t make something up or shut down their curiosity. Instead, offer to find the answer afterward and set a time to revisit that topic. Admitting shortcomings and encouraging honesty reassures kids that their lack of understanding is natural, but they can overcome it.

Exemplify Faith Yourself

When we know we want to hold this discussion, we can feel the pressure to explain everything at once. Take that burden off of you now – all can come to light over time. The best way to prevent information overload is to integrate conversations into everyday actions. Incorporating religion into your daily life provides kids with a springboard for curiosity. These actions can organically lead to open conversation because faith is already a natural part of their family.

When children start to notice you praying, worshipping, and reading your Bible, don’t ostracize them – invite them in. Kids inherently want to earn their parents’ approval, to feel they belong in their family. Bringing them into the fold gives a positive first impression of religion instead of having it hurt them. Whenever these opportunities arise, please take full advantage of them. Walk your child through each action so that they feel confident in doing so alongside you. More importantly, explain the purpose behind the practice.

Should I Talk to My Kid About Other Religions?

When the role of religion has defined your life, you can desire to ensure your child follows in your footsteps. Opening their eyes to other lifestyles can seemingly influence them to pursue them instead. However, blinding them to broadened horizons can inhibit their influence and potential for personally choosing Jesus.

No one can dictate another person’s journey towards or away from the faith. Ignorance has never helped steer people away from evil, or else the Bible would never speak of sin. If Paul’s first-hand understanding of the Jewish people helped fuel his passion for them, why deprive our children of insight? Given the onset of social media and our ever-expanding cultural norms, kids will encounter other religions one way or another. Sheltering them from reality will only hinder their interactions with others. Informing children about other faiths can help them connect with otherwise-unrelatable friends, classmates, and neighbors. Recognizing a common thread between them promotes empathy and discourages bigotry.

If Jesus Himself had compassion for people of every creed, knowing full well they did not see Him as their Savior, should our children not do the same?

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