Just because communication with babies isn’t easy doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Babies can take in way more than we give them credit for being. I read a study the other day by French neuroscientists that claimed “babies at age 5 months have the ability to perceive objects in adult-like ways, even though they cannot tell us.”
I encourage ministries to look at infant/nursery age level as more than childcare, but an amazing time of growth for a child’s first steps in understanding God’s love. Think about it this way — what’s the earliest memory you have? In that memory were you walking? talking? doing something on your own?
You learned certain skills and concepts before you could even remember specific events. Although you didn’t form long-term memories, you never forgot certain lessons you learned at such a young age. That’s how transformational the stage from birth to 2 years is. And that’s how important your ministry is.
One of the best ways to communicate God’s love is through touch. Here are a few ways to use the power of touch with the babies in your ministry.
3 Ways to Use the Power of Touch with Babies
Pop quiz: What’s the better way to calm a fussy baby-simply holding them while sitting or carrying them while walking around the room? The research is in and experts say walking while carrying fussy babies is the way to go. Next time you need to help a child relax, pick them up and walk together. Why not set up fun and colorful picture windows to walk to around your room? Babies will love the ride while looking at different pictures of God’s creation.
2. Let Them Touch.
It’s key to allow babies to explore on their own and experience things in tactile ways. For your youngest kids, come up with some one- or two-line simple
sentences to use with their toys as they touch them. (“The toy sheep is soft. God made sheep!” for example.) For toddlers, as you tell them about the Bible, use sensory items to help reinforce the lesson-a spray bottle for Jonah, feathers for the birds around Noah’s Ark, or a piece of furry fabric when talking about how God made all the animals. Hands-On Bible Curriculum does an incredible job with this for the Toddlers and 2-Year-Olds by using Bible Storyboards to help Scripture come to life.
3. Speak Their Language.
While we are on the topic of using our hands, remember that kids can start to learn sign language at a very young age. Why not take the time to start
them teaching signs that relate to important spiritual concepts? Gently guide babies’ hands to help them get the hang of doing the motions. Here are a few to get you started:
- Jesus: touch your middle finger to opposite palm; repeat with your other hand.
- Bible: hold your palms a couple of inches apart, with fingers spread and your middle fingers slightly inward. Rotate your palms in a staggered circle, then close fingers together and align your pinkies to make a book shape.
- God: hold your palm straight vertical, fingers together, thumb towards you. Bring your palm from above your head down the center of your face.
- Love: hug your chest.
- Church: Cup your left hand upside down in front of your chest. Make a C shape with your right hand, and set it on top of your left hand.