Once a year the Christian church takes time to specifically remember the death and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The expressions of this celebration (because it is a celebration) has been over-taken by commercialism and the secular world. But it doesn’t have to be so in your family. Listen in as I talk about how you can use Easter as a prompt to encourage your children’s faith journey.
The primary purpose of any celebration is to remember the deeds of the past and to teach our children. Whether you call it Easter or call it Resurrection Day – we have an opportunity to talk to our kids about some of the most foundational beliefs for our faith. Are you ready to do that?
Some people start with Lent – 40 days before Easter, but sometimes Easter creeps up on you and all of a sudden it is Easter and we scramble to make it significant. The reality is – that culturally we have a set date each year for Easter, but as Christian parents, we can keep on talking and teaching beyond that date. So if you aren’t prepared to do much before Easter – do it after.
I remember one such year for us – we used the actual church weekend to kickstart our deeper studies that continued into the weeks beyond. Pretty much, the church calendar as such is really just a prompt to talk about what is really important.
Disciple your Children at Easter
If we are going to take the opportunity that Easter celebrations gives us to teach or encourage our kids the first step is to take time to think about what your children already know, understand, and believe – and what do they need, right now, this year, to deepen or strengthen that. They may well know the story and the words about Jesus, the cross, and the empty tomb. But do they know why that all happened? Do they know God’s big plan that started at the Fall? Do they know how that relates or impacts them personally? Have they been challenged about what they are going to do about Jesus? It may well be the year to have a very pointed conversation with your child.
The 2nd step is to find the resources and ideas that will help your child where they are at.
And the 3rd step is to find time in your days to spend time in God’s word together.
One of the principles that we parented by was to elevate the good. This means that we spent more time instructing on the positive side of things than we did in warning against the negative. At Easter, this means we spent more time focusing on Jesus than we did on the Easter Bunny (or its existance) and chocolate.
It is important to keep Jesus the main point as we consider Easter. This may sound rather obvious and yet if we take a close look at the activities that we get involved in and the conversations we have, we do have to ask ourselves if Jesus really is the centre.
There are two ways that we can encourage our children in the Lord:
- Intentional times of Instruction
- Devotional Living
Intentional times of Instruction
This is when we set time aside to teach our children from the Bible. This could look different in different homes; we had Family Devotions and a Bible study time.
Family Devotions were a time when we read scripture, discussed it and prayed. I did very little preparation for our Devotions times though we usually used a family-friendly resource. Family Devotions were about hearing the word of God, and responding. It was a time when the children heard my first responses to God (as a model), they could then feel safe in sharing their own heart and they learnt to pray aloud in a group.
Bible Study time was different. When we sat down for Bible Study I had a specific truth or concept that I wanted my children to learn. My objective was short and to the point. I had resources and activities that supported the key idea that I wanted my kids to understand. In a sense Bible study time was more about knowledge than heart response, though whenever the Bible is read, there is opportunity to hear God speak to your heart.
With Easter in mind there are many truths to consider when planning specific lessons for your kids.
- Jesus coming was God’s plan from the beginning
- The resurrection is only the beginning, what happens after the resurrection
- What does the cross mean to us today
- As Jesus prayed: No my will but your will God. Is there times when that is what we have to pray?
- The Last Supper and Communion, what’s that about
- All the things that Jesus did in the last week – what can we learn from those things?
- The disciple’s response to Jesus during this ‘Easter’ week – how can we learn from them?
The second way we encourage our kids in the Lord is Devotional Living. Devotional Living is a phrase coined in Creative Family Times (Hadidian and Wilson) and I quote, “Devotional Living is when we use our everyday experiences to teach a spiritual truth.”
I found that though there were many off the cuff type of opportunities through the day where we can connect life with our faith in Jesus, Easter actually gives us an opportunity to think about things we want to say, so that when we have a moment we have the words.
For example – as you walk in the door and people take off their shoes – or wipe their feet – you can have a quick conversation about Jesus washing his disciples feet – or even at the dinner table you can start the conversation by saying – you know, today, when we all came in and we had to take off our shoes, back in Jesus’ day things were a bit different – do you know what they did after they’d been to town for the day? …. And you lead into the story.
Pray for wisdom and insight as you ask yourself: What is going on in my day that if I talked about it, my child would learn something about Jesus.
- God’s love for them
- Jesus’ death and resurrection
- God’s forgiveness and new life
- Denying Jesus and what we feel about peer pressure
- Disappointment – when things don’t happen like we expect
We also created specific activities that gave us the opportunity to specifically about the cross and resurrection. 3 of our favourites were:
- Resurrection Rolls or Resurrection Cookies (I’ve lost our recipe but you can find them by Googling. Basically, when these are cooked (both the rolls and the cookies) you have a hollow or empty roll and cookie – which give syou the opportunity to talk about the empty tomb.
- Jelly Bean Poem that tells the Gospel. For many years, our kids put together the Jelly Bean Poem and a bag of coloured jelly beans to give to all the kids at our Easter Sunday service. You can get a copy of that by downloading the Heart Booster Easter Edition.
- Resurrection Garden (Once again, Google it and be inspired to create a table centerpiece together with your kids that becomes a real conversation starter – not only for your kids, but anyone who visits you during these few weeks.
If your kids are older here are 6 conversation starters you can prep for – these can be the starting point for a Bible reading and study time, or simply a conversation around the dinner table (they could also be the questions your young children ask you):
- Why did Jesus have to die?
2. What does the Cross mean to me, living my life today?
3. How does the Resurrection make a difference to me and my life?
4. If Jesus is King – what does that mean? Is He King today?
5. What is so important about the Last Supper and Communion?
6. Why do we call the story of Jesus – Good news?
Don’t let your kids just know the story – they need to know what it means and what it means to them, and how they are going to respond.
Heart-focused Action Step
To be honest, the best prep you can do is to be able to answer those questions for yourself and then to be able to articulate your faith – your knowledge, understanding and belief – to your children.
It isn’t a matter of being a scholar – you don’t have to be able to preach a 3 point sermon about these things. But you do need to be able to talk to your kids. This might mean you need to do some reading, do some study, find some videos online that can help you explain, or find the words to talk to your children.
So in summary to be prepared to use Easter time as a heart and faith-building time in your child’s life you need to be prepared in two ways:
- Know where your child is at spiritually
- Know what they need in order to grow
- Find the resources that will help you help your children
- Make the time to make it all happen
- Most of all, study your faith yourself so you know how to talk about what you believe, why you believe and how you have responded to Jesus.
It is never too late to prepare yourself to share such an important thing with your kids.
Parenting Resource for You
I have a free Heart Booster printable for you that covers some of the things we’ve talked about. For years I’ve shared the Jelly Beans Gospel – it is an activity that we usually did on the Saturday so our kids had something to share with their friends that was Gospel-focused, not chocolate. So I have that activity set up ready for you to print off so your kids could do the same. But this year I’ve also included some family conversation starters that you can use either as conversation starters or even as Bible study questions. Just sign up for Heart Boosters and the Easter Version will be sent to your inbox.
Free Parenting Resources
Family Devotional Activities for Easter
Our Children need to Meet Jesus – and We Should Make the Introduction: As Christian parents we want our children to love Jesus and follow God’s word so we have to be wise in how we teach our children about sin and mercy and grace.
Jesus is our Example as we Disciple our Children: As we follow the Great Commission and make disciples for Jesus in our family – we need to keep our eyes on Jesus.
When you Teach Bible Lessons, Teach from your Heart: When we teach our children Bible lessons from our heart, instead of from a lesson plan, we make life-giving connections for them.
How to Teach Kids who Live in a Christian Home about Jesus: For kids who grow up in a Christian home they need to know that being a Christian is a relationship with Jesus – it isn’t about doing good.
Easter Lessons for Older Kids: Even though our teens may know the basics about Easter we need to keep taking the opportunity to strengthen their faith.
Hi there! I'm Belinda and I'm glad you are here!
I am a family life coach and help parents to raise their kids with faith, values and life skills in a way that is intentional, relational and heart-focused. Read more on the About page
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