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Encouraging spirituality: how can I make sure that my child grows up with a spiritual foundation?

Most parents would like their children to grow up with a sense of spirituality, however, when you’re trying to explain abstract concepts like spirituality to a toddler, you can it quite tricky. There are a few ways you can ensure that your child grows up with a good spiritual foundation though.

First of all, you need to clarify your own beliefs. Even if you’re not religious, there’s a good chance you have a few spiritual beliefs of your own. If you are not a regular attendee at religious services, even if you are a believer, will you start going for your child’s sake? All of these questions need to be answered before you start thinking about how to teach your child about spiritual matters.

Start talking to your child about God, and your spiritual beliefs early on. Even though he or she probably won’t understand what you mean, it’s a good basis for future spiritual teachings. Build spirituality into your day. Whether it’s a quick prayer before dinner, or a simple ‘God bless you’ at night, it helps to reinforce the idea of a higher power to a small child.

Making spiritual teaching fun is another way you can make sure your child learns about God at an early age. Buy books that relate to bible stories or spiritual themes, or play religious themed music. You can also involve your toddler in family traditions, like visiting the church or synagogue on special days, or helping you to set up the nativity scene for Christmas.

Answer any of your toddler’s questions as truthfully as you can, but don’t pretend to have all the answers. If your child asks about heaven, for instance, tell him or her what you believe, not that every other belief is incorrect.

Remember, at the same time that you are teaching your child spirituality, you should be teaching religious tolerance too, as it will certainly be an important and valuable lesson later in life.

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