Our children are a gift, given to us from the Lord to train for His service. When your children are preschoolers, it may be difficult to imagine them as adults. You are probably just looking forward to the day when they will put on matching clothes or keep their bedroom neat. But in reality, we only have our children in our home for a very short time. We only have a very small window of time to teach preschoolers a biblical worldview, so we must start young because it can be one of the most valuable and foundational beginnings to our homeschool journey.
Why Preschoolers Need a Biblical Worldview
A worldview is often defined as “a set of basic beliefs, assumptions, and values that arise from a narrative about the world” that serves as the basis for decision making. Everyone has a worldview. Even your preschooler. In a study released in 2020 by the Cultural Research Center, Dr. George Barna suggested that an individual starts developing a worldview when they are only 15 months old. The sobering part is that by the age of 13, an individual’s worldview is often pretty set for life.
As Christian homeschoolers, we want our children to develop a biblical worldview. We want our children’s beliefs about themselves and the world around them to be based on the unchanging, authoritative truth of the Word of God. Our children will constantly be bombarded with secular worldviews even at a very early age. So we need to start teaching them a biblical worldview as early as possible so they can be well-grounded in the truth.
How Preschoolers View the World
You have probably figured out that your preschooler doesn’t view the world the same way that you do. First of all, most preschoolers think very literally and have trouble thinking about abstract concepts. For example, when my brother was three, he observed a lady putting eggshells in her garden. He excitedly told my family at the dinner table one evening that this lady was going to grow eggs in her garden, and if we planted eggshells, we could grow eggs too. It took a while to explain to him that eggs don’t grow in the ground and that the woman he saw was putting eggshells in her garden to enrich the soil.
Also, it’s important to understand that preschoolers often cannot tell the difference between what is real and what is pretend. Which is probably why my four-year-old daughter was so scared of the “big firehouse dog” that appeared during a fire safety demonstration at our local fire station. She thought the costumed firefighter really was a dog.
How to See How Your Preschooler Sees the World
We as homeschool parents often have to work hard to understand what our preschooler thinks about the world around them. But sometimes a small misconception can have big worldview implications later on. Here are some things that you can do as a parent to better understand how your preschooler views the world.
- Talk to your child about his or her daily experiences.
Conversations with a preschooler may take a really long time. Your brain may have to work hard to untangle all the mixed-up time references and to provide correct vocabulary. But conversation time with your child is always worth it. Not only does it help you connect with your child, but it often provides helpful insight into what your child is thinking about.
- Pay attention to your child’s play.
Preschoolers are great mimics and often role-play situations that they have observed in the real world or have been exposed to through books or other media. If you observe your child role-play, you will likely better understand how your child is interpreting his or her experiences and observations.
Knowing Who God Is and How He Views the World
We can start laying the foundation for our preschoolers to develop a biblical worldview by first answering the questions “Who is God?” and “How does He view the world?” It’s important that our preschoolers fundamentally understand that the Bible contains the very words of God and that everything we read in the Bible is true.
We also need to teach our preschoolers that God created everything and that people are God’s special creation because God created them in His image. God made everything good, but Adam and Eve disobeyed God. They sinned, and God had to punish them. Their bodies would eventually die and their souls would be separated from God forever. Everyone who ever lived after them would be born sinners and would someday die too.
Preschoolers also need to know that God loves people. God loves us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus to die for our sins and to provide a way for us to have our sins forgiven. Although many preschoolers may not completely understand the gospel, we shouldn’t shy away from giving it to them.
Resources to Help Your Preschooler Learn About God
We should take every opportunity to teach our preschoolers about God. A lot of times, those teaching moments appear in normal conversations. They come up during our daily activities, but we also want to be intentional about our teaching as well. Here are some resources that I have found helpful:
Bible story books
Reading regularly from Bible story books will help your preschooler become familiar with the storyline of Scripture and the character of God. One of my favorites is The Big Picture Bible Story Bible by David Helm.
A Bible curriculum for preschoolers such as BJU Press’s Walking God’s Way is a great way to systematically teach your children about God and the Bible.
Theology books for children
Marty Machowski’s book Ology: Ancient Truths Ever New is a helpful book that helps children understand who God is and how we are to relate to Him. Everything Your Child Should Know About God is another helpful theology book that is written for preschoolers.
Bible memory programs
Preschoolers are capable of a lot of Bible memorization—so take advantage of it! Susan Hunt’s My ABC Bible Versesis a great tool to get you started.
Understanding God’s Purpose for Us
Our understanding of the purpose of life foundationally affects our worldview. If we want our preschoolers to develop a biblical worldview, we need to help them understand God’s purpose for us. The very first question of the Westminster shorter catechism asks: “What is the chief end of man?” The answer: “The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” And that is exactly what we need to teach our preschoolers.
Encouraging Preschoolers to Glorify God
The way our preschoolers glorify God will look different from the way we as adults glorify God. But even they as small children can glorify God through activities like memorizing Scripture and singing songs about the character and works of God and by learning how to serve others.
An older mom in my church once told me how she encouraged her young children to share the gospel with others. Every year she would lead her children in preparing a Christmas play to perform for her unsaved family members. The children would act out the nativity story and recite Bible verses and sing songs. It was a great way for them to share the truth with others.
Also, you can teach your preschooler that they can serve God by serving other people. Have them draw pictures to encourage someone who is sick or help you get ready to host a fellowship. Preschoolers can also do jobs around the church like straightening hymnals or passing out bulletins. These simple tasks can teach them the importance of serving God and others.
Developing and Reflecting Christlike Character
God created us and and we belong to God and owe God our complete obedience. In the pages of His Word, God has revealed to us His expectations. And His expectation is that even our young children learn to obey their parents (Eph. 6:1). Teaching our preschoolers to obey needs to be our priority when it comes to developing in them Christlike character.
Ginger Hubbard, who wrote an excellent book on child training entitled Don’t Make Me Count to Three, writes: “Teach them to obey ‘all the way, right away, and with a happy heart’” (p. 117). Anything less is disobedience that we should deal with. In her book, Ginger gives some excellent tips on how to deal with disobedience in a way that addresses heart issues.
Encouraging a Desire for God
Preschoolers also need to know the importance and blessing of seeking after God. They need to know that God loves them and cares about their problems. They also need to know that they can and should go to God to ask forgiveness after they do wrong.
We can help our preschooler develop this desire for God by modeling it. Pray with your child when he or she loses a precious toy or scrapes a knee. Teach your child to pray for friends who are sick, missionaries, Sunday school teachers, and unsaved neighbors. Talk with your child about the importance of seeking forgiveness from others and especially from God. And pray with your child after administering correction.
You can also model the importance of reading the Bible and applying Scripture to everyday situations. Let your child look through Bible story books while you take a few minutes to read your own Bible. And use Scripture as much as possible throughout the day so your child can see the importance of looking to the Scriptures to interpret life.
A biblical worldview is one of the most important gifts that we can give our children, but we can’t rely on diligent, intentional teaching alone. We need the Holy Spirit’s help. So pray earnestly that the Holy Spirit would give your children faith—faith to believe what the Word of God says about God Himself and the world around us.