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Guest Post: Helping our Kids to be Spiritually Healthy



Forward by Five Monsters Paleo:


My friend Taylor is an amazing mom, blogger, and person. Since this is a lifestyle blog that advocates wellness of body, mind, and spirit, I asked Taylor if she would be interested in doing a guest post here about spiritual health from a Christian perspective.


I hope it will bless you today!



Helping Our Kids to be Spiritually Healthy

By Taylor Johnson


As parents we want what’s best for our children and desire for them to flourish in every way possible.   For example, we want our kids to be physically healthy and strong, so we make a point to feed them healthy foods that will nourish their bodies, make sure they get plenty of sleep, and grow in physical strength and coordination.  We also aspire for our kids to grow intellectually, so we teach them their letters and numbers at a young age, buy them educational toys, and help them succeed in school.  When it comes to emotional health, we make sure to tell our kids how much we love them, spend time connecting with them, and comfort them when they are having a bad day.  We also care about their social skills and give them plenty of opportunities to interact with peers and other adults through different activities. There is one aspect of growth, however, that is often overlooked in parenting, and that is the spiritual component.  Spiritual growth is important for developing a healthy life and strong moral values in our children.   Let’s look at five ways to encourage our children’s spiritual health.



 1. Teach your kids about God and His plan for their life.


Children need to understand who God is and how they can relate to Him and His world in order to grow spiritually.   From a Christian perspective, it is important that our kids know God’s message presented to them in the Bible.  This message, essentially, is this: We are created intentionally by God for a purpose and are deeply loved by Him.  Even though we are all born with a sinful nature in a sinful, fallen world, God sent His son, Jesus, to live a perfect life and to die for our sins.  When we trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He will come into our lives by His Spirit.  We can then experience a relationship with God and have eternal life with Him one day.  The best way to help our kids understand this important message is for us to read the Bible to them, and for them to read it for themselves as they get older.  This way they will fully understand who God is and His purpose for their life. 


There are plenty of picture Bibles for toddlers and preschoolers that share age-appropriate stories in fun ways that allow our children to understand God’s great love for them and how He came to save His people.   For elementary-aged children, there are engaging graphic novel Bibles and full text Bibles with graphics written in translations that are simpler to understand. 


For pre-teens and teenagers, giving them their own Bible that they help pick out is a great way to encourage them to read God’s Word for themselves.  The YouVersion Bible app is another great way for teenagers to read God’s Word and also includes Bible plans and studies they can do and discuss with peers.  


Practicing family devotions is another way to help kids learn more about God and His Word.  These can be done over breakfast, dinner, or even before bed.  Devotions cultivate great spiritual discussions and help kids to understand how to practically apply God’s Word to their lives. 



2. Show your kids how to pray.

Teaching our kids to pray cultivates a relationship with God.  Throughout the Bible, God encourages people to pray, and Jesus, Himself, even models this by going to quiet places to talk to God.  We can teach our kids to pray by praying with them throughout the day, such as meal time and bed time.  We can model different kinds of prayers for our kids, such as thanking God, praising God, asking God for help or provisions, and confessing our sins to Him.  Encourage your kids to pray on their own when they wake up each morning and throughout the day.  Let them know that God is always with them and loves to hear them talk with Him.  Let them know that God also wants to speak to them too, and He does this through His Word, circumstances, and by putting ideas and desires in their heart as they seek Him in prayer.  For more ideas to help your kids understand prayer, check out Teaching our Kids the Importance of Prayer and Four Ways to Pray with Our Kids.



 3. Make church attendance a priority.  

Being a part of a church family is important for our kids to grow in their relationship with Jesus.  When your kids see you making church a priority, they will be more likely to prioritize God in their lives as well.  Attending church will help them learn how to worship God and have the opportunity for other adults to positively influence their lives.  Attending children’s service, or youth group as they get older, will also help reinforce what they are learning from you at home.  Churches also present opportunities to attend VBS (Vacation Bible School), summer camps, and retreats that will encourage our kids in their faith as well. 



4. Train your kids how to have good moral character.

Because our kids are naturally sinful, good character will not always come naturally for them.  Jesus came as our perfect example of godly character, so the first step is to encourage them to pray and ask God to make them more like Jesus each day.  Next, teach them specific character traits that you notice they need to work on.  For example, the fruit of the spirit found in Galatians 5 talks about love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Pick one trait at a time and teach what it means, give examples, have them practice, and most importantly ask God to help it to be expressed in their lives.  Give praise when you notice your kids showing good character as this will help reinforce it.  When they are not showing good character, make them aware of their attitude or behavior, and encourage them to apologize and ask God for the positive character trait they are lacking.  When their heart is not right or not ready to change, you may need to give appropriate consequences in love to get them back on track.



5. Give them opportunities to show God’s love to others.

When kids are given opportunities to serve and show love to others, they will grow in their ability and desire to follow God and His ways.  You can encourage this by providing them opportunities to serve at church (for example: putting attendance cards on chairs before service, helping you greet visitors, or serving with younger kids in your children’s ministry.)  Find opportunities as a family to serve outside the church as well.  This could look like welcoming new neighbors with cookies, serving at your local food kitchen or neighborhood kids club, or donating toys or clothes to bless those in need.  


We all want our kids to grow and flourish in every aspect of life, and focusing on spiritual health is important to their overall well-being.  By teaching our kids about God and how to have a relationship with Him, they will naturally grow in their security, their character, and develop a heart to serve others.  They will be less likely to be affected by negative influences around them as they grow in their desire to live a life pleasing to God.


For more resources on Christian parenting, check out my blog at growingkidsforthekingdom.com.



Taylor Johnson is the curriculum developer and founder of Growing Kingdom Hearts and Christian parenting blogger at growingkidsforthekingdom.com.  She has served in children’s ministry for 15 years in many different roles, including preschool coordinator, early childhood programming director, and preschool worship leader.  She is the director of Lighthouse Community Outreach, a nonprofit ministry seeking to transform communities by providing spiritual, educational, and social support to kids, youth and families.  She has a passion to encourage parents in discipling their children as well as a passion for teaching youth in and outside the church about the love of Jesus that will transform their lives and hearts both now and for eternity.



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