For Parents of Infants and Toddlers

Resources to help you welcome your child into a community of faith

Getting Ready for Baptism:

We have copies of the book of this title in the office; just ask Ellen or Pastor Michele for a copy.
It is an updated look at what baptism means today, for those preparing for baptism - whether parents or children, adults or congregations, and even clergy. Written from a variety of UCC perspectives by the Stillspeaking Writers' Group. Includes clear, accessible answers to frequently asked questions, and thoughtfully addresses issues such as "When, Where, and How Old?" and "Explaining Baptism to Children." 21 pages.

 

Another helpful resource is the book:  Our Baby's Being Baptized, Marilyn Perry, ed. 

Available through amazon.com
The story of a child's baptism in simple clear language to help children ages two to eight understand what happens and why it's such an important ceremony.

This is what is happening when your infant/toddler/preschooler joins you in worship:

  • Faith is being formed without words; everything these children experience with their senses and bodies are laying the foundation neurologically for an adult faith to grow.

  • The child experiences what it means to belong, which is central to spiritual growth: this is my church family; I am special and welcomed here; I recognize these people as those who care about me and care about something bigger than me. This sense of belonging is planting the seeds for a love of worship as they grow older.

  • Trust is developed when nurturing emotions are shared. Trust is the precursor to a strong faith and sense of hope.

  • The child feels the rhythms of God: parents' heartbeats and breathing, words and song, standing and sitting, sound and silence.

  • Through constant exposure to language, infants and toddlers learn their native tongue; in the same way, exposure to worship on a regular basis allows them to learn the language of faith.

  • Infant and toddler rhythms are different from those experienced in worship; however, with regular exposure to worship and patience on the part of adults, these rhythms will become internalized as the child grows, especially with the rapid development of the brain during the first six years of life.

  • Worship rituals such as lighting candles, changing liturgical colors, and praying together show the child that these are special, sacred, and set apart from ordinary life experiences.

  • The adults around them, whether they know it or not, are reconnecting with the source of faith through the presence of the infant.

What parents can do at home:

  • Read simple Bible storybooks to your little one, such stories of God’s creation, families, Baby Jesus, and Jesus with children. Hearing about God and Bible stories, both in worship and at home, lays the foundation for more mature theological understandings as they grow older.

  • Talk about God and Jesus in your daily conversations; remind them that God loves them and loves us all.

  • Use words such as God, Jesus, Bible, and prayer so that they become a part of his/her vocabulary.

  • Include your infant/toddler/preschooler in family prayers, devotionals, and religious holiday celebrations.

  • Invite them to “talk to God” with you.

  • Talk to your pastor about ways to develop your own faith as you set an example for your child.

More at home ideas for preschoolers, ages 3 to 5:

  • Engage your child in "playing church " at home using blocks, dolls & figurines, Duplos, etc. to help them develop a sense of and love for worship and encourage faithfulness.

  • Encourage their questions about worship. If you don't know the answers, have your child ask Pastor Michele or Ms. Debbie on Sunday.

  • Include simple hymns and church songs among the secular songs and recordings your child listens to at home and in the car. Here are some wonderful CDs & songbooks of Christian/Bible songs for children to sing along with:

             Wee Sing Bible Songs and Wee Sing More Bible Songs (songbooks can be ordered separately)

  • Act out Bible stories with your child. Bathrobes along with towels tied with old pantyhose for headdresses make easy Bible character costumes. Invite your child's imaginative suggestions! Here are some favorite stories that lend themselves to budding actors and actresses:

             Birth of Jesus: Luke 2:1-20 and Matthew 2:1-2, 9-10             

             Jesus and the Children: Mark 10:13-16             

             Palm Sunday: Mark 11:1-10             

             Easter: John 20:11-18             

             Creation: Genesis 1:1-31               

             Noah: Genesis 6:8-10, 17-22

  • Click here for a "Parents Guide" to help you bring your family closer to God at home in simple yet effective ways.    Note: This resource may appear to be for families with older children; however, many of its suggestions may be easily adapted for families with very young children.

  • Click here for more about helping children grow in worship.

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