Today’s guest post is from a good friend of Trevor and his family. Jenae is a stay at home mom putting her Masters degree in Education to work for other parents. She realized what a high calling it is to stay at home with your children and decided to start a blog to help other parents in the beautiful endeavor of being your child’s first teacher. The blog has really taken off and has been a huge blessing to many parents (both working and stay-at-home). She has been a huge part of Trevor’s family celebrating Advent and so we asked her to share some of the ways she celebrates with her family.
A few years ago, my husband and I decided that we wanted to make a big deal out of Christmas. Not a big deal out of Santa and all his reindeer, toys, and presents (although we do a little of all those things too)…we wanted to make a big deal out of celebrating the birth of Christ. We want Jesus to be the emphasis of December in our home (and every day, for that matter). Celebrating Advent seemed to be the best way to prepare the hearts and minds of our two young sons for the day we celebrate Christ’s birth.
Although it isn’t technically the start of Advent, we begin our Advent activities each year on December 1st. Throughout the past few years, we have done a variety of different things to engage our children (now ages 3 and 5) in Advent. Nowadays it is easy to find lots of ideas for Advent with young children. Here are just a few resources that we have found helpful for our little family.
:: Truth in the Tinsel: This jam-packed little eBook is an excellent way to incorporate hands-on crafts into our celebration of Christ’s birth. With 24 daily readings and an ornament to make each day, we found this to be a wonderful, concrete way to experience Advent with preschoolers and school-age children.
:: Advent Boxes: My mom and I made these little boxes a few years ago based on a gift that was given to my family when I was young. From December 1-25, your child gets to open a tiny present each day. Each small box contains a tiny symbol of Christ as well as a scripture and explanation. Although many of the symbols don’t revolve around the Christmas story, all of them revolve around Christ. Go here to print out the daily scripture and discussion as well as labels for the boxes (finding the small trinkets might take some work…and a few visits to Hobby Lobby). 🙂
:: Felt Advent Calendar with the Nativity Scene: This is new to us this year and would be excellent for toddlers. Basically, you just build a nativity scene on a felt wall hanging by adding one element each day (donkey, wise man, Mary & Joseph, etc). You can find the free template and instructions for making your own here, or you can purchase it pre-made and ready to go here.
:: Why Christmas? We’re using this for the first time this year! This devotional book includes two pages to read with your child every day from December 1st through the 24th with a short narrative, a relevant scripture, discussion questions, a Christmas carol to sing together, and memory verse for each week (you can also find the Kindle version here). We are planning to read this each night at bedtime when we normally read our Bible stories.
Last year after spending the majority of December focusing our family on Christ, my husband and I both felt renewed and refreshed spiritually (despite being physically exhausted from all the craziness of Christmas). We felt that we prioritized our relationship with God more than we had in a long time. Our children also gleaned some important truths about Jesus and our Advent pursuits drew us closer together as a family. It doesn’t get much better than that!
“Helping you be your child’s first teacher…”