The first thing that needs to be acknowledged with this all important question is that you can. Adults are notorious for not giving young children enough credit for what they can learn, remember, and recite. Sometimes it take a 2-3 year old child to fire off the correct answer to a difficult catechism question before others can be convinced of a child’s ability and the possibility of any adult being capable of teaching God’s Word to a child. So then, whether you are a parent, grandparent, a future parent, or a Sunday School teacher of small children here are a few basic tips to apply when trying to teach a young child God’s Word.
1) One verse at a time. Although a child can learn and understand God’s Word, too much can overwhelm them. Do not get greedy. One verse at a time. One truth at a time. It may be a phrase of a verse. Take a small portion and be patient with it over time.
2) Repetition. We all learn better this way. Pick a verse or a truth and make it a daily engagement. Do not be too quick to pile it on. The more repetition and time, the better a child will learn it and never forget it.
3) Use music and songs. Most of us would not have known our ABC’s as early if it were not for the “ABC song.” Take a verse and put it to a song. You can make one up yourself, or use some of the great resources that exists now that have take Scripture and put it to song for kids.
4) Teach the reference. Make sure as you teach the verse or phrase of a verse, you get into the habit of having a child recite the reference of that verse. For example, if you teach your children, “Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right” you do not want to run the risk of that child concluding that is a command you made up (which would be easy to think for a parent to do on that one). Instead, teach the reference is Eph. 6:1, which is found in the Bible and comes from God. God is the ultimate authority in that command, not the parent. This is more important to teach them than we often realize.
I know, nothing earth shattering here. But do not underestimate how much these little things matter in the teaching of our little ones. Remember, now is not the time you reap. Now, you sow. Just realize there are numorous examples of children who become an adult and thank their parents for teaching them God’s Word at such a young age. Discouraged and tired parents of young children…this really happens. Press on.