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?
We are very excited to be able to tell you about a brand new initiative for Christian parents coming in January, which we wanted you to be the first to know about.
This new adventure from Care for the Family will look 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. 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
Over the last 18 months we have been asking 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. 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!
Please sign up to be the first to hear more about what the campaign looks like and how you can get involved. We will be developing more resources to help talk to parents about passing on faith and we’d love you to tell the parents you know to be on the look out for what comes next.
We’re very excited to see Christian parents inspire a faith that lasts.
 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]www.churchgrowthresearch.org.uk/UserFiles/File/Reports/Report_Strands_1_2_rev2.pdf [accessed 3 January 2017].
 Barrett, J.L., 2012, Born Believers: The Science of Children’s Religious Belief, Free Press, New York.