TEACHING OUR KIDS TO LOVE OTHERS THIS MONTH

Love is in the air…or maybe just in the Target dollar bins. Seriously, it’s exploding hearts everywhere! Valentine’s Day is coming up and for some of us it’s a time for a special date night, some extra goodies for the kids and more pink all around. Honestly, this holiday has never been a big deal for our family. We skip the date night, we let the school parties provide the candy for the kids and we shout out an extra “I love you” on Valentine’s Day. And maybe we eat some conversation hearts too. Other than that, we don’t do a whole lot. But recently I’ve been thinking that with just a little bit of intentionality, the “love” month could give us a great opportunity to teach our kids about love.

So of course, I went to Pinterest to see what others had done. Oh the cuteness! It’s hard not to do every adorable heart craft with my kids. I loved this one where you write encouraging comments on a heart each day and put them on your kids’ doors. But I also know that doing something daily is not realistic for us. I also don’t want to just do crafty things, but really help the kids think about love in a new way. After some thought (and picking my husband’s brain), we realized that we needed to start by asking and answering an important question…

“What does the Bible say about love that my kids don’t know yet?”

After some debate, Ben and I came to this answer. The Bible teaches that love is shown…not just said. Saying “I love you” is nice, but showing your love for another person is an entirely different thing. God clearly tells us how He shows us His love…

“God demonstrates His love for us in the this: while we were yet still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

And Jesus tells us that the Greatest Commandment in all the Bible is essentially how God wants us to show love back to Him in return.

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Luke 10:27)

Show God love. Show others love. After we decided that this was going to be our teaching goal for the month, we came up with our “Loving Others Plan” for the kids.

The Plan
Step One: The Question

The first step is asking the kids a simple question, “How do you know when someone loves you?” We did this the other night and if you’ve never asked them this question, take the time to. I loved hearing their answers…they cheer you up, they snuggle with you, they do things for you when you don’t want to do them, they buy you gifts, they give you hugs and kisses, they draw you pictures. I especially loved hearing my daughter’s answer about knowing how her brother loves her. She said, “He lets me sleep in his room at night.” Such sweet memories for them. After letting them talk and be silly with their answers, we shared Luke 10:27 with them (mentioned above). We explained that while it’s nice to say “I love you,” God teaches that it’s better to show our love. All their examples were of showing love too!

Step Two: The Verse

After initially sharing the Luke 10 verse with the kids, we wanted to make sure we continued to reinforce it all month…showing God love and showing others love. So we posted it on our chalkboard in the kitchen for us to see all the time. We will weave it into our conversations at meals and memorize it together.

Step Three: The Activity

Now it’s time to let the kids put their love into practice! Every week this month we will let them choose fun ways to show love to different people in their lives. This will be the best part of it all…seeing how they choose to love someone. It’s so much better than me telling them what to do.

Here are the four groups of people we will focus on (one each week this month). I’ve listed a few examples of what they could do…

  • Love God: pray, read the Bible
  • Love Family: do someone’s chore, draw a picture
  • Love Friends: write a note, make a gift
  • Love Neighbors: bake cookies, deliver a small flower

The beauty is that it doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. It’s from the heart and my kids are focusing on loving others a little more intentionally this month. I plan on doing it with them too!

I will post each week on Facebook and Instagram how our family loves God, loves our family, loves our friends and loves our neighbors. If you’re family does it too, be sure and tag us!

Question: What do you want your kids to learn about love and how are you teaching it to them?

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