Tuesday, May 27, 2014

4 Things To Remember When Reading A Children's Bible - Toddler Tuesday

This is the first "Toddler Tuesday".  Once a month on a Tuesday I will post ideas relating to teaching toddlers the Bible.

1. Don’t Feel Silly 
When sitting down to read my toddler from a children's Bible I would at times feel silly.  Just 5 minutes earlier my child was doing something really foolish, like playing in the toilet. Now I'm talking to her about God?  Adults have a hard time grappling with these topics, how is she going to understand?  But then I realized that I don’t need to feel silly teaching my toddler about such big issues.  She won't understand everything right now, but she can start to know a loving God.  She will have a lifetime of growing in understanding of God.  That beautiful journey of understanding can start right now at 1 and 2 years old.  Why wait?
"but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 9:24 ESV 

2.  Rightly Divide God’s Word
I have also learned to not feel silly checking the actual Bible to read what the real record says.  The children's Bible might have a simple 4 line rhyme, and I wonder "Is that what the Bible says?"  But then I would feel silly cracking open my Bible to check on something I was reading to a toddler. Shouldn't I already know about Noah's ark? 
"Be diligent to present yourself approved unto God, an unashamed worker, rightly dividing the Word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15 WT
Checking what the Bible actually says is being diligent in teaching your child. When simplifying what the Bible says, we use less words and simpler words.  This takes more reading and scope on our part to make sure we are being accurate in what we are saying.  If you have a children's Bible that you read regularly to your child, prepare by reading the Bible records and even read other Bible reference materials that relate to that topic. This will help you to be accurate in your simple explanations to your child.  

3. Toddlers Read Books Differently
Sitting down to read a children's Bible with your toddler does not always look the same as reading to an older child. There may be times you sit down and read it cover to cover, but most often it will be more fluid. Sometimes you might only read one page. Sometimes you might read the same page over and over again as your child shows interest.  You might talk about all the people in the picture.  You might encourage your child to interact, "Point to Noah".  Or you may sing a song that relates to what you are reading.  
From the book “Reading with Babies, Toddlers, and Twos” Susan Straub and KJ Dell’Antonia have this list.

Fun Things Babies Do While You Read
-Fall asleep
-grab the book
-pull your hair
-hold the pages so you can’t turn it
-sit on the floor and look at you like your out of your mind
-tear the page
-throw the book on the floor
-point and demand “what’s that” of every object on the page
-babble out their own stories while you read
-open and shut the book over and over for a little “peek-a-boo”
-listen happily for two pages, then head off- and get upset if you stop reading!
While it might be typical for a toddler to throw a book on the floor or tear a page, our response to their actions can start to teach our child a reverence for God's Word.  We can teach them to have gentle hands.  We can teach toddlers to not tear, throw, or roughly use the Bible because it is God's Word.  This starts to teach an awe and reverence for God. 

4. Have a Spot In Your Home For the Bible
In our home we have a basket where we put our children's Bibles at a spot in reach of the children.  It has been so much fun to see my girls seek out looking at the Bible.  This often leads to them asking me to read to them.  

By putting the Bible in the same spot, a child can seek out the things of God on his or her own. Our children hear us talking about the Bible and see us reading our Bibles. They want to imitate us. They can have a love and excitement for the things of God also. What a beautiful way of life.

*Bonus* 5. Enjoy!
Some of my favorite moments as a mom have been seeing my girls start know our Almighty, loving God.  

Related Posts:
God's Word is For Toddlers
Resource Recommendation: Baby's First Bible

© Brigette Hill, 2014

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