Interacting with babies
Babies are fantastic. At no other time in a child’s life is he constantly exploring and figuring out the world around him. As babies’ Bible teachers, how we interact with babies is crucial in how they begin to understand God’s plan for them. Here are some simple tips to make the most of your time with babies.
- Maintain the right ratio. Believe me. I’ve talked with enough children’s ministers over the years to know that it’s not always easy to make sure every babies and toddlers room in your church is adequately staffed. For young babies, though, maintaining a one-on-one baby to teacher ratio makes sure each baby has the full attention of a Bible teacher.
- Engage the baby with age-appropriate play. Very young babies like to explore different textures and sounds, such as a softly tinkling bell or rattle. Toys that light up, whirl, or respond to baby’s touch work too. You simply cannot go wrong with books either. Just understand that babies are going to place objects in their mouths—it’s simply their best way to “explore” new objects. Keep non-toxic wipes handy and make sure to disinfect toys after the babies have left.
- Turn routines into moments of Bible story interaction. Sing this week’s Bible story song as you feed or change the baby. Say the Gospel Gems, Key Passage, or Main Point as you bounce a burping baby on your knee. Simple statements about the Bible story or God’s love for the baby are sufficient to expose babies to God’s Word from birth.
- Watch for cues of overstimulation. Babies have short attention spans, and sometimes the toys, sights, and sounds that work for one child are way too much for another. Simple cues that a baby is overstimulated and needs a break would be if the child is turning her head away, arching her back, crying or fussing, and/or even hiccuping. If you see these cues, set the toys or book aside and rock or sing gently to the baby.
Interacting with young babies is trial and error; what works one week may not work the next. Each week, be flexible as you prayerfully prepare to interact with the babies you teach.
For more information and tips for teaching babies, check out these links:
Babies, Toddlers, and the Gospel
Babies and the Bible