Friday, June 14, 2013

Prayer with babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers

Keeping in mind the principles from the last post – that we want to pray with our children and model that it’s normal – it makes sense that we want to model prayer from the earliest stage. I remember walking with our babies to their cots at night, praying ‘with’ them at the end of day – often they were simple “thank you for my day and please help me sleep well tonight” prayers, sometimes there was a bit more.

We started to get into the habit of saying grace as soon as they were starting solids (I never thought of saying grace before a feed – perhaps I should have!)

With toddlers, we often prayed for emergency vehicles with their sirens on: “Please God thank you for the ambulance drivers, help them to drive safely, get to the people in need, please help the doctors at the hospital to be able to help them get better and please help them all to learn about Jesus.”

We always found the end of the day to be a good time for prayer. It was also bible time and both naturally fit together. It is calm time and a lovely way to finish the day together.

Once our children could recognise people in photos (maybe from 6-12 months), we had a ‘prayer diary’. It was a simple A4 sheet with photos.

It was set up for the days of the week, with three categories for each day: family, extended family/godparents, ministry/other.

This has worked for years. In fact, until they could read independently, this has been the way we prayed with our children. As they got older, they loved helping organise it – choose who was on which day and it helped with learning to recognise everyone’s names in print as they were written underneath their photo.

Our youngest, age 5, still uses this as she is not ready to progress to written prayers yet.

I have included a table of it, so you can see an example.  It is a very bland example - usually it is a colourful photo display with everyone's real names.  However, since I felt I could not put up all these people's photos & names without permission, I have just given you an edited version.



Child 1

Child 2

Child 3

Family / Friends
Uncle & family
Aunty & Uncle & family

Child 1's godparents

Child 2’s godparents      
Child 3'swgodparents

Other family

Teachers and school
Daddy’s work.




Compassion children
Church & 
Friends  at church.

This is the one of the ways we have found that works well for us with little ones.

Next time - prayer with more confident readers.


Petrina said...

Both posts in this series have proved helpful so far, thanks :) I've been intending to do a prayer diary for our kids (18mths & nearly 4) but haven't quite known how to start. Now I do :)

Wendy said...

Glad to hear it Petrina, hope you have fun making your prayer diaries, and then use them lots to pray!

Anonymous said...

I like this idea! Our family has a "prayer bag" which has business card sized photos of family, friends, activities, etc. our kids (under 5) like the lucky dip approach and their prayers are thank you and please prayers prompted by the card. However I like the diary as it's more intentional. Enjoying your posts.

Wendy said...

I like the 'lucky dip' idea too - could be good for changing things around a bit. Thanks Anon.