But toddlers do know. My one year old knows how to pick clothes up off the floor. She knows how to sign about a dozen signs – and use them correctly to ask for what she wants. Today, she even remembered a sign I taught her weeks ago and hadn't used it since. They know more than we give them credit for.
So, what can parents do to teach them about God during this time? I'm no expert, but I thought I'd share with you somethings that we do with our children at this age. I hope, and pray, that you would be willing to share the things that you do with your littles.
1) Prayer. Don't just pray with them – teach them a simple prayer. This is where signing comes in handy. Before they can vocalize their prayer, they can sign it. Usually, I take her hands to sign, but sometimes I encourage her to say her own things and she will sign 'dog' or 'wind' without being prompted. I'm not sure how much she is understanding that she is talking to God, that may come later, but she is getting into the habit of daily prayer and thanksgiving to God.
2) Read books. We don't read to our little one as often as I'd like, but we try to make a point to read Bible stories whenever possible. My oldest knew nearly every story in the Bible by the time he was 5 or 6. We also have a daily Bible reading as a family. Hearing the Word read – or reading it – every day is so important! Children need to know that feeding their souls is just as important as feeding their physical bodies.
3) Teachable moments. I try to make a point to talk about God throughout the day. When we see a pretty sunset, I mention that God made it. Anything in the world can be related back to God's creation. Our table couldn't be possible if it weren't for the trees that God made and provided for us. Talking about God as easily as breathing from such early ages creates a faith in them.
4) Sing with them. Our 1 yr old loves “Jesus Loves Me” and “This Little Christian Light of Mine”. I love to see her face light up when she hears us begin singing them. Singing scriptures or another 'teaching' song like the books of the Bible are helpful to teach facts and help memorize as well.
These are just a few things I can think of at the moment that we do with little ones around the house during our day to teach them about God. Please share in the comments things you do with your toddlers.