Parents often panic when their children start to ask questions about spiritual topics. As parents, we’re often caught off-guard and left feeling guilty that we didn’t initiate the conversation sooner. However, there are a few tips that can make discussing spirituality and faith with young children a bit easier, even for parents who consider themselves religion-free.
This does not mean that a conversation has to be opened up with your kids about God. That is a personal decision within your own family. Spirituality is broadly defined as “an inner belief system that the universe and people are connected in ways we cannot see.” Parents do not have to have all the answers. Encouraging spiritual exploration and having open conversations about spirituality is a great place to start.
Discuss Spirituality vs. Religion
If you don’t go to church, your kids will likely ask the question “why do my friends go to church?”. It is important to provide your kids with an answer. Some parents explain that these places are specifically designed for worship, while others explain that God can be found anywhere. It is also important to teach your children that no two families are exactly alike. Each family has its traditions and values that differ from each other.
This is a tough one for parents who want to have all the answers. Sometimes kids will pose questions that you as parents simply do not have the answers to. One of those dreaded questions is about what happens to a certain family member when they die. A lot of parents cringe when they hear this question. However, it is important to acknowledge that you can tell your kids confidently that you are not sure and provide suggestions about what people believe. This is important because you are being truthful with your kids. Encourage them to come to their own conclusions by asking what they think.
Read Together Frequently
Not only is reading great for your child’s developing brain, but most children’s books have underlying themes of kindness, fairness, and faith. Ask your children questions throughout the story to see if they are picking up on these themes, and be sure to model these lessons in your daily life.