Creating a Christ-Centered Life for Babies and Toddlers

SYLVIA McCRORY     JUNE 2020

So, you have a new baby in the family. Advice has no doubt been pouring in from all the well-meaning friends and family, who seem to think they know more than you about caring for your baby.  Believe me, no one, other than God will know more about your baby than you.

Or maybe you have a toddler who is beginning to show their independence.  Your toddler is probably letting you know they have a mind for themselves and are choosing to make their own decisions. Rest assured they are not choosing to rebel at this young age, they are only learning how to separate from parents and become an individual.

If you have either a baby or a toddler in your home, now is the time you must establish your Christ-centered home, in order for your child to grow up naturally living and feeling the power of Christ, in your home.  This is not to say if your children are older this can’t be accomplished, it can, it may take a little more effort on the part of the parents. But it is important to have a Christ-centered home, no matter the age.

As parents, we want step by step instructions, or a manual for raising our children.  Unfortunately, this is not possible, but I am attempting to give some important ideas and guidelines.  Keep in mind, there is nothing to guarantee our children will turn out perfect.  But children living in a Christ-centered home have a much better chance of following God than their counterparts.

  1. Keep your eyes on Heaven

With age comes some advantages.  One of these, is the ability to look back, at the things I wish I had done differently.  But another, just as important advantage, is the ability is to focus more on Heaven and less on earth.  I understand the difficulty parents have today trying to keep their eyes on our heavenly home. Friends and family tend to be consumed by the worldly passions and material possessions. With the constant influx of media pouring the importance for the best education, the necessity for living in the best neighborhood, and the requirements for acquiring the top gadgets, technology, and toys. It is no wonder parents succumb to the earthly life. 

There is nothing wrong with desiring the best for our families.  The problem lies in getting waylaid and distracted by the stress of trying to live the life the world demands.

It’s quite amazing to me that Christians who believe in God, and believe Jesus died on the cross for us, then rose again after three days, and is residing in Heaven, are so fixated on earthly goals.  Take a look at the timeline below.

If you take a minute to look at it, the top timeline shows how small our time on earth is compared to eternity. And eternity goes beyond this timeline and all the timelines we could possibly draw.  The second timeline shows the magnified view of our time on earth.  The point of these drawings is to emphasize the number of years we spend preparing for our short earthly life.  Our time should be spent preparing for the work God has in store for us while we are on earth and dreaming of eternity with Jesus.

  1. Live like Jesus is your guest – in the room with you.

Aren’t we on our best behavior when we have guests? But when we imagine Jesus is living with us, walking with us, listening to our conversations, watching TV with us, searching the internet with us, would we live any differently than we do now? Have you ever thought how you would speak to your spouse or your children if Jesus were physically present, in your home? Or what about, what TV shows would you watch, which books would you read? What would your conversation be if Jesus were your houseguest? We should live that way every day.  Jesus is with us always.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”       Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)

  1. Have dinner together as a family.

As children get busy with activities, be sure you adjust your schedules so you can eat dinner each day, as a family.  There will be special occasions when it is not possible to eat together. That is understandable. What is not understandable, is to start letting this slide, and without realizing it, you are no longer eating together.  Be on your guard.  As much as you love your family.  Protect them and understand this is important for everyone in your family. 

Dan Kindlon puts it this way, in his book, Too Much of a Good Thing, “My research shows that children in families that eat dinner together at least a few times per week tend to be less depressed, have less permissive attitudes toward sex, are less likely to use drugs, and are more likely to work to their intellectual potential in school. These shared meals, especially when they permit open communication and mutual enjoyment, can be he glue that holds families together and that provides children with a sense of security and belonging that reduces harmful risk taking and promotes better mental health.”

 

  1. Be consistent, don’t be afraid to set limits.

Children want and need limits, although it may not seem like it. Research reveals children raised without limits are more insecure, prone to drug use and become sexual activity at earlier years than children raised with limits. If you are afraid of making your children unhappy, then “get over it”. Our job is not to please our children. Our job is to please God. He has allowed us to raise these precious children in the way of the Lord.  We are to prepare our children to do the work of the Lord.

Saying “no” to our children is absolutely one of the most loving things parents can do. Living in way of the Lord, means to live as a servant, not as an entitled, spoiled, self-centered person.

And whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.       Mark 10:44-45 (NIV)

  1. Allow them to be bored.

It has only been recently, that our culture views boredom as something negative. Boredom was a choice, in the past. Parents were not expected to entertain children every minute, and children understood this. Children were expected to entertain themselves, and children knew their limits. Parents were not fearful of children doing dangerous stunts, or playing questionable games. Instead, children amused themselves with “make believe” plays and shows, or making “mud pies”, or exploring the backyard collecting four-leaf clovers. We have taken this away from our children.  We have also robbed them of the opportunity to be creative.

 

It’s not hard to have a Christ-Centered home.  It just takes effort and determination.  Yes, there will be friends and family living a worldly life who attempt to lure us into their lifestyle. However, as long as we keep our eyes fixated on Jesus, we will make the right decisions for our families.

 

 

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