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Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and we have been focusing on thankfulness in our home. There are all sorts of ways we have been incorporating thankfulness into devotions with my toddler. However, babies can be a little trickier. I mean, what can a baby do? Well, here are a few ways we have introduced praise and thankfulness to our littlest family member this year.
Reading is so beneficial to littles of all ages (really people of all ages!). Even tiny babies can benefit from the brain stimulation of reading. This year we have been reading “Tiny Blessings for Mealtime” by Amy Parker. This sweet book is a prayer with beautiful illustrations giving thanks for all the wonderful things mealtimes bring.
Another favorite is Psalms of Praise: A Movement Primer this book is an awesome way to start reading actual scripture to your littles without it being awkward. Praise is saying thanks to God, so this book makes it easy to make this a natural part of your family from a young age. I suggest this book to everyone, because the beautiful illustrations make it perfect for young babies, but will grow with them as your toddler learns to move and work on those large motor skills. Also Psalm 139:14 was the first verse Vale memorized, simply because we read this book so often.
Finally, I’m Feeling Thankful a Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood book has been a wonderful tool for discussing thankfulness. For those that have not discovered the beautiful world of Daniel Tiger, it is loved by littles, but also give parents tools for discussing life with their little ones. This book is no exception, giving parents words to have conversations about thankfulness with their small children.
One of the key things I want my babies to know is that God made them. They are precious and loved, and we thank God for them. So a fun way to explore thankfulness can be by exploring Psalm 139:14 “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Set your baby in front of a mirror (awesome tummy time hack), and read them the verse. Then simply play in front of the mirror with them. Self-awareness and eye-tracking are just a couple of the skills they gain through this exercise. For more ideas on how to explore this verse, check out our God Made Me devotion.
Bundle up and take a nature walk, or simply a walk around the block. Talk to your baby about what they see, hear, smell, etc. Thank God for the things you see. Say it out loud so your baby can hear you. Talking to your baby helps develop speech.
Put some pieces of nature (pine cones, chestnuts, leaves, popcorn kernels, etc). In a sensory bottle. Talk about what your littles sees and hears. Talk to your child about those items God created.
If you have been following along, it is now secret I love foot print crafts. The main reason is because footprints are pretty easy to capture on little babies. Just stick their foot in the ink pad, and print. Little hands like to be curled up into tight fists, but little feet are open. Also, footprint art is a great alternative for toddlers that rather not get their hands messy.
For this turkey art, I simply:
1. Printed Naomi’s food on a piece of paper with brown ink.
2. Cut out the footprint and added a turkey face.
3. Glued feathers to the back.
4. Glued the turkey to another sheet of paper and wrote our Bible verse for the month on it.
*You could write anything you want on this craft, or use it to make a sweet card for grandparents or other loved ones.
**Pro tip: wet wipes make for easy clean up when using ink. Keep them on hand.
If you have never tried praying with your little, meal times are a great time to start making it a part of your rhythms. If your baby has started eating solids, or started sitting in a high chair during meals, take a moment to pray before the meal. It doesn’t have to be fancy. You can simply say “Thank you for this food, Amen.” It may feel awkward at first, but once you find your rhythm it will become natural, and soon your toddler will be the one eager to pray at meals.