Your 4-year-old sings nursery rhymes at the top of her lungs, has all her favorite books memorized and loves to color and craft. Why not use her love of singing, memorization and art to engage her in worship? In doing so, you'll be helping her understand that worship and praise is something that every person -- no matter the age -- can actively participate in.
Music is pretty much a given in most worship settings, but are you being sure to include your preschooler in this part of worship? Teaching songs at home that are often used in worship or likely to be used at certain services during the church year (such as "Silent Night" on Christmas Eve) allows your preschooler to become part of the joyful noise. Teach her simple, kid-friendly songs at home such as "Jesus Loves Me" or "This LIttle Light of Mine" so that she can worship and praise God through song even when she's not at church.
Even 2-year-olds can be taught to memorize prayers. If there is a prayer you use regularly in church -- such as the Lord's Prayer -- say it at home each night with her so that she learns the words and joins in the next time you say it at church. Teach your child to praise God through her own personal prayers, too. At the end of each day, ask her to list three of her favorite memories from the day. Lead her in a short prayer praising God for these special happenings, and before you know it, she'll be praying these praises on her own.
3. Special Tasks
Even preschoolers can use their gifts to be a part of worship. This doesn't mean your 4-year-old needs to give a personal testimony about God's love at church, but it does mean he might be able to lay down palms at the foot of the cross on Palm Sunday or recite a Bible passage for the congregation with his Sunday School classmates.
Provide opportunities for your budding Picasso to enhance worship with his artistic abilities. Perhaps he is able to help you cut out and assemble pictures for a banner to be used for a specific time of the church year. Purchase a candle-making kit from the craft store and make a few votives for your church's altar during the candlelight service (be sure to clear this with the pastor or worship leader, first, in case they aren't so into your rainbow colored concoctions). If you have signed up to bring flowers to church, let him help you pick wildflowers or arrange the ones you purchased from the store.
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