We'll read her Bible and ask her questions or talk about it before we pray. Sometimes she prays, sometimes we pray but it's always a positive time. Doing this, I can already see the positive effects, even at four years old.
Jesus isn't a little cartoon character you play with until you grow out of it...well, He shouldn't be. When you're talking to kids about Him, inevitably things have to get serious. You talk about death, pain, suffering, and sin.
We try to be straight forward and age appropriate with Hannah, but it's difficult when she starts asking tough questions later, when the information sets in and she sees it applying to life. Even though it's difficult, I'm glad that she speaks up and try not to look too rattled when she does.
BUT, there is a huge part of me that is scared. She getting bigger and someday she's going to be a teenager. The older kids get the less they want to talk to their parents about anything. How do we prevent that? On one hand, we want them to consult us, on the other, we can't hide our panic when they do!
Working with junior highers is fun. In the early stage of adolescence, they are still very much dependent on adults - stuck in between being a kid and a rowdy teenager. This, in my opinion is a perfect time - and the end of the era where they DO want parents around - to connect with your middle schooler.
IT IS NOT...Let me repeat that...NOT too early to start talking to your kids about sex, drugs, profanity, pornography, and puberty. It's not too late to start talking about how to be a good friend, treat people with respect, and how to act like Jesus.
I just finished a book that I want to recommend to all Junior High Parents to read WITH their kids. Our kids want to talk to us, but if you sit them down one day and tell them you want to have "the talk," they're going to run screaming and tell their friends how lame you are. It's so much easier to have an "open window" to start a conversation. Be looking for them ALL the time. Here at Nexus, we always do our "love, sex, and dating" talk in February - perfect open window for you to instill YOUR thoughts on the subject and get a feel for how they think about it.
By reading this book together, "Surviving Middle School: A Hilarious Guide That Will Help You Avoid Being a Dork" by Rick Bundschuh - you're opening windows. The guy is funny, straight forward, and completely age appropriate. Not only will your kids be amused by it - but so will you. It even addresses social stuff - and we all know how awkward the junior high years can be.
Get this book. It's a perfect way to start the school year. The chapters are short and easy to read AND the book comes with a cool music CD. You can buy the book for $10 here.