Up to this point, teaching your preschooler has been easy, right? While there is a lot of text in the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Creed, we also recite those things quite frequently. For the most part, the words are not abstract thoughts or concepts; they are concrete. A preschooler can grasp them. But the last three of the Six Chief Parts of the Catechism are not as easily understood by preschoolers.
The Sacrament of Holy Baptism
When Dr. Luther prepared the Small Catechism, he had families in mind. We see under the heading of every section, “As the head of the family should teach it in a simple way to his household.” What is wonderful is that Luther understood how things like Holy Baptism, Confession, and the Sacrament of the Altar would be more challenging for the head of a family to teach to his household, so he drove them back to the Scriptures where these things are instituted and taught. Baptism is explained in four parts, and each part is supported with Scripture.
Here are some tips for helping your preschooler learn all about Holy Baptism.
Read to your child from the catechism.
Repetition, repetition, repetition. We have repeated ourselves numerous times on this blog (see what I did there?) about the importance of repetition. The same is said for this text. Read to your child the four parts on the Sacrament of Holy Baptism often. This will help him or her start to remember the words.
Read stories about Baptism to your child.
Using a great resource, such as The Story Bible, read to your child stories about Baptism that include pictures. In The Story Bible, you could read John Prepares the Way of the Lord on page 295, the Baptism of Jesus on page 297, and Philip and the Ethiopian on page 431.
Celebrate your child’s baptismal birthday!
Every year, bring out the candle you were given when your child was baptized and light it. Help your child to learn about the significance of his or her Baptism. Talk about what it means to be a baptized child of God. If you have pictures or video from the day, bring them out as well!
We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4 ESV
Sit close to the baptismal font when your church has a Baptism.
Get to a spot where your child can see the Baptism happening. Be ready for questions such as the following:
- What is happening?
- Why are they pouring water on the baby’s (or adult’s) head?
- Have I been baptized?
Teach your child about making the sign of the cross.
When we make the sign of the cross when we hear the trinitarian invocation—In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit—we take time to remember our Baptism. Your child may have asked you why you do this action or why other people around you are doing it. This is a great time to teach them about what it means. The book Whisper, Whisper: Learning about Church has a great little rhyme to help teach your child how to make the sign of the cross.
Whisper, Whisper, make a cross:
Forehead, tummy, side, across.
Consider using some helpful resources as you teach.
There are a lot of good resources to help teach your young child the faith. Here are some that are specifically made to help you teach about Baptism.
- Follow and Do: Holy Baptism—The Follow and Do series teaches young children about the Six Chief Parts of the Christian faith, combining the teachings in the catechism with practical application for all aspects of daily life.
- Whisper, Whisper: Learning about Church—Rhyming text, in-sanctuary tips, and engaging, colorful illustrations help children up to age 4 understand the rituals and routine at church. Optional activities are provided to help children focus their attention and to remind them about their behavior. Parents can use this engaging book in the home on Saturday evening to prepare children for Sunday morning. It can also be used in the pew before service or included in children’s church “quiet” bags. Whisper, Whisper makes an ideal addition to new member/baptismal packets.
- My First Catechism: An Illustrated Version of Luther’s Small Catechism—Introduce children to the teachings of Martin Luther with My First Catechism: An Illustrated Version of Luther’s Small Catechism. This keepsake-quality book uses accounts of biblical characters joined with engaging artwork to help children relate the meaning of the Commandments, Creeds, Lord’s Prayer, and more to their lives.
- Sing the Faith CD—Words paired with music are more easily learned and remembered. With Sing the Faith, the words of the Small Catechism are set to original tunes in order to teach and aid memory of these important words.
This is not a comprehensive list, just some thoughts and ideas. What are your ideas? We’d love to hear from you below! God’s blessings as you teach your children the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3).Click Here to Download Small Catechism Flash Cards
The quote from Whisper, Whisper: Learning about Church is copyright © 2015 Mary J. Moerbe. Used by permission. All rights reserved.