If you’ve been around a child between newborn to 3 yrs. old, you know the words that characterize this age group: curious, short attention spans, unable to sit still, energetic, noisy, playful, inquisitive. If you tend to think of the Bible as dry, boring, academic, serious, and complicated, then reading the Bible with your infant or toddler may seem like a practice in futility. However, if you know God’s word to be a vibrant, adventurous, humorous, inspired story of God’s redemptive love…well, then you will find reading the Bible to your little one to be a life-transforming investment for both you as the parent, and your children. The operative word in reading the Bible to the infant to toddler age group is not understanding; it’s IMPRESSION. What impression do we aim to leave with our littlest littles?
-that the Bible is the truth -that the Bible is exciting -that the Bible teaches us the character of God -that the Bible is the manual for life -that the Bible is more than a story -that the Bible is powerful -that the Bible is our authority Impression is a parent’s opportunity, understanding is the Spirit’s responsibility. Here are some ways we engage our 0-3 yr. olds with the Bible:
*Let them handle a Bible, to hold it in their hands while they listen. *Have the older children read to the younger ones. *Encourage your toddlers to sit with you, or be physically close when you read or listen, reminding them that the Word of God is about relationship, not academics. *Read narrative stories based on Scripture (like The Jesus Storybook Bible, Read-Aloud Edition: Every Story Whispers His Name) to them, but never underestimate how God can use faithful exposure to the whole counsel of God’s Word. *Listen to the audio Bible recordings at mealtime or snack time, and make it part of the family culture and routine. *Sing scripture verses set to music.