Religious Practices For Kids – Does This Leads To Better Well-Being?
Religion is a huge part of a child’s upbringing. It can have a huge impact on the way children grow up, their thinking and their overall approach in life. Though all religions are based on the common grounds of love and compassion for all along with belief in a supreme power, practices vary from religion to religion and even within the same religion. Most Indian families are religious by nature and strongly follow their set of beliefs and practices. So, Indian children also usually grow in an environment of strong religious practices and beliefs.
Kids keenly observe their parents and family members and try to emulate their behaviour. Religious practices are no exception to this basic nature of kids. Some children may be more attracted and fascinated by these practices and beliefs than their peers. My one-year-old has been very religious since his birth. Or so we all believe, as he has shown immense interest in the prayer room of our house as well as other homes he has visited.
He is fascinated with most things related to praying, such as religious books, pictures or idols of Gods and Goddesses, bells, lamps, candles, diyas etc. He also folds his hands with a smile when asked to pray and points repeatedly to the prayer room, asking to be taken inside. Much of his interest has been innate, and we have motivated the rest.
Benefits Of Religious Rituals At Home
- In my experience, we should encourage religious rituals at home, and kids should be made aware of the practices being followed within their families.
- It gives the child faith and belief in a higher power and makes them feel connected to people with like-minded beliefs, and provides them with the wisdom to talk to and live with people having a different set of beliefs compared to their own.
- It is essentially the duty of parents to lend the right religious knowledge to their kids. They will certainly be exposed to various faiths, practices and rituals as they grow up, meet different people and travel to new places.
- All kids should have a religious identity of their own as well as be able to distinguish well-meaning religious advice and practices from the contrary, which can only be possible with a strong foundation from their parents, grandparents and families.
Ways To Talk To Kids About God
There are many great ways to talk to kids about God. It can be in the morning during routine prayer or talking to them during day-to-day practices. Not to forget, we can narrate interesting bedtime stories to them.
- In our case, I narrate bedtime stories about different Gods and Goddesses to my child and try to make it engaging for him to understand. He listens with utmost attention even though his age limits his understanding.
- It is easier to talk to older kids about religion as they have a better understanding. They can also read books on their own and acquire knowledge through the internet. To talk to kids efficiently, sometimes parents may also need to go back to their religious scriptures and read more about how or why some practices are being followed.
- Certain beliefs may link to the time when they originated, the place where they began or may have some other relevance that may not seem valid in the present times. And, certain other practices may be symbolic of bigger beliefs. As parents, we should explain these to our kids so that they do not follow religion blindly but have a logical understanding of the basis of all their religious rituals and practices.
We should also encourage celebrating all religious festivals. It helps them associate these festivals with fun, food, and dressing up and enjoying their religious selves. Also, check these 3 Best Charts To Record The Kids Behavior.
Buy Some Religious Books
Reading to younger kids or providing religious books to a grown-up kid can teach them many wonderful stories & lessons. A simple online search can reveal multiple books with colourful pictures and illustrations for kids. While searching for my kid, I came across a few good options online.
My First Mythology Tale
This is a set of 5 mythological books. It covers interesting stories of Hindu gods Ganesha, Hanuman and Krishna, along with the evergreen Mahabharata and Ramayana that are a part of almost every Indian kids’ childhood. It has stunning and colourful illustrations to help children connect with the narrative and expand their understanding.
108 Indian Mythology Stories
108 Mythology Stories is a one-of-a-kind book that features some of the most interesting and fascinating stories from India’s mythology. These stories are given in a simple manner with stunning images to appeal to our young dynamic readers’ creativity, sensibility, and curiosity.
My Wisdom Book
Separate portions for daily shlokas, mantras, simple bhajans, and learnings for each level are divided into two age-appropriate levels—Juniors (ages 3–9) and Seniors (ages 10 onwards). The book is designed to be read by juniors along with their parents and grandparents, as well as by older children on their own.
Nava Durga – The Nine Forms of the Goddess
It’s a fantastic book. Every girl child, in particular, should read this and recognise her own strength. Beautiful images and a lovely writing style that keeps the little ones enthralled. In terms of content, print, paper, and binding, this book is of exceptional quality.
There are many books available which you can gift to kids. These books help build healthy reading habits while effortlessly providing them with religious knowledge.
- With more access to books & online content, learning about religion by parents and teaching their kids has become easier.
- You can also engage kids in painting beautiful portraits of Gods and Goddesses and scenes with religious or mythological relevance. We can also provide them outlines that they can colour and decorate. The purpose is to make the learning of religion fun for them.
- There is no right or wrong way for this; each parent can choose what and how they want to teach their kids. Kid-friendly cartoons about some Gods and mythological tales are also available. And, you can watch those with your kids on weekends or any other time suitable to the family.
- Soft toys are also available now for kids portraying God as their friend and protector. If handled well and with respect, you can also give these to the kids. Read here about Teaching Kids to Respect Other Religions.
If learnt in the right way, religion can be a backbone for healthy beliefs in children along with their faith in a strong support system from the Almighty. Let us hope each of us can inculcate the proper religious beliefs in our kids so that they grow up to be confident, God-believing, religious beings who also know how to respect people of other faiths and how to contribute their best to humanity in general. Imagine the change that this generation of parents can create for the world if we all raise our children correctly.
Praying to the Almighty to help us parents create such a good world for our little ones!