If you’re just joining us, this is a six-part series on the blog. You can catch up on posts one, two, three, and four. Next week, I’ll be wrapping up the series by talking about how to specifically pray for your children in their day-to-day and for their future.
Today, I wanted to touch on something that seems pretty small in the big scheme of the day, but can make a huge impact on little hearts.
Hymns & Praise with Little Ones
“Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:18b-19 (NIV)
One of the easiest ways to help your children remember something is to make up a song about it, right?. They learn their ABCs that way and goodness knows, they can pick up every annoying Disney song within 5 seconds of hearing it (seriously, Elsa, let it go already!). So, why not let songs help our children better understand the character of God and the meaning behind Jesus’ death and resurrection as well.
Right around the time Finn was about a year and a half old, I stumbled upon Listener Kids on Youtube and taught him that version of Jesus Loves Me (If you follow me on Instagram, you can see a video of him “singing” it on the Oct. 4, 2014 post).
Shortly after that, we also taught him the first stanza of “Amazing Grace”. We kept it very simple, but we felt it was important to get those two truths in early—Jesus loves us and God has grace and mercy towards us, even though we’re sinners.
As the years have gone on and I’ve noticed how easily the kids pick up what we play on the radio, I’ve been really convicted that we should be listening to more songs about God—songs about His promises to us, His faithfulness, our need for a savior, how our sins are covered by His blood.
I feel like it must be stated that we are pretty laid back about what our kids listen to. We like all kinds of music in our house and obviously don’t play anything inappropriate around the kids, but they listen to a wide variety of music.
I don’t want anyone to dismiss what I’m saying here by thinking we’re only playing old-fashioned hymns as a way to be more spiritual. Under God’s grace we are free to listen to anything we want. However, I do find it to be really helpful in times of distress or when I want to bring peace into the house to have songs playing in the background that remind us of God’s truths. It just tends to make everyone calmer and reminds me that any strife or difficulty we’re having in the day is only temporary.
The other day, I caught Finn singing “O Come to the Altar” to himself while he was playing. Ryan has only played that around the kids a couple of times but Finn had learned the chorus. That provided more evidence to me that we need to be even more intentional about the songs we play around the house or while running errands.
Like I mentioned, we enjoy a wide variety of song styles, but here are a few of my kids’ favorites that they ask for at nap time, bedtime, or in the car:
- Feel It by TobyMac (This is on repeat in the car most of the time)
- Softly and Tenderly performed by Joey and Rory (this plays at naptime/bedtime)
- Come Thou Fount performed by Hillary Scott (I often rock Lydia to this one for her nap.)
- Trust and Obey, I Stand Amazed, & What a Friend we have in Jesus all performed by Chelsea Moon and the Franz Brothers (I typically play this while I’m doing things around the house and they are playing).
- How Great Thou Art performed by Carrie Underwood (because c’mon, she rocks it!)
- Anything by Jeremy Camp
I would love to hear from you all on this subject. What are some of your favorite hymns, psalms, or worship songs? Comment below and share your most cherished songs from when you were a child or that you shared with your children.
The Shaping Little Hearts series first appeared on the Little Paper Crown blog.