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Bring the little children

Most parents want to raise children who will be healthy and well-balanced physically, emotionally, intellectually and socially. But do we ever stop to think about a child’s spiritual development and how parents can help it grow?

That’s where the Kitchen Table Project comes in!

This new initiative from Care for the Family looks to encourage, support and equip parents to nurture their child spiritually at home. We aim to raise awareness of the influence parents have in helping children’s faith develop, and show ways in which faith can be brought into everyday life. And it’s never too early to start! The earlier parents become aware of the key role God has given them in developing spirituality in their children, the easier this is to integrate into everyday life.

Recent statistics show that just 50% of children with Christian parents will grow up to have a personal faith of their own as adults[1]. We know that there are no guarantees, but we hope that by encouraging parents about the ways in which they are already laying the foundations of faith, we will also be able to equip them to be more intentional about nurturing their children spiritually.

Bringing faith home

We asked parents, children’s workers and church leaders what they think about bringing faith into the home. The findings show that many parents feel they should be doing more, but don’t really know where to start or feel confident to do it.

But research shows that even very young children have an inherent tendency to believe in God and are able to connect on a spiritual level even as young babies and toddlers[2]. There is an amazing opportunity at this young age to introduce our children to God and tell the wonderful stories of his goodness. You don’t have to be an expert, and there are really simple ways in which God can be part of life at home. Here are three ideas that work really well for younger children:

1. A warm family environment

Parents can be encouraged that just by telling children you love them, spending time with them and giving them security, they are able to build secure trusting attachments with others – including God.

2. Real life

Showing children our own authentic faith even when they are tiny can make a big difference. As toddlers, children have perfected the art of copying what mum or dad does, so if they see them praying out loud or singing a worship song, they will see that as part of life and something they can do too.

3. Talk about faith

Psalm 78:4 says, “We will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders.” Little ones LOVE stories! Whether these are Bible stories read at home or in toddler group, or stories of things that God has done in our own lives or the world today, talking about God has an impact!

What can I do?

We know that in order to share this message with parents we really need help from those who can encourage them. Church leaders, children and youth workers – and toddler group leaders!

Sign up to receive our monthly email that delivers relevant information, articles, resources and ideas around this topic of raising faith. Take a look at our Raising Faith event, book and DVD Sessions designed specifically to equip parents in this vital role. Run an Inspire session, which is a great starting point for parents to gather together and start talking about how we do this in our homes. And follow us on social media @ktpcampaign for daily inspiration, ideas and resources.

If these resources aren’t relevant to your role at this time, could you pass them onto someone else in your church or community? We’d love you to help us tell more people about the Kitchen Table Project!

We’re very excited to see Christian parents inspire a faith that lasts.

Sign up now for updates and read the Care for the Family research findings.

[1] Voas, D. and Watt, L. February 2014. The Church Growth Research Programme Report on Strands 1 and 2. Numerical change in church attendance: National, local and individual factors. [online] [accessed 3 January 2017].

[2] Barrett, J.L., 2012, Born Believers: The Science of Children’s Religious Belief, Free Press, New York.