I hate to break the bad news to the Easter bunny, but Easter is not about the bunny. And it’s definitely not about the eggs.
We enjoy these things every year in our family, but we also strive to teach our kids the true meaning of Easter.
Simply put, Easter is about life. As believers, we celebrate the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.
But how do you explain these things to young kids? What is death and why did Jesus have to die? For preschoolers and young kids, the abstract understanding of life and death is difficult for their concrete minds to grasp.
That’s why we want to give you prayers, conversation starters, and activities so you can discuss the Easter story with your children in a way that is intentional and organic. These ideas are designed to be “easy” because they fit into your already busy schedule. You can do these as you wake, as you drive, during dinner time, and as you get ready for bed (as described in Deuteronomy 6:7).
If you’re interested in a complete Easter plan for your family, read until the end of this post.
- Pray with Your Children in the Morning
For kids, repetition is key. Choose one of the prayers below to pray throughout each week or choose one prayer to pray the entire month. Tailor them for your children to remember. You could also memorize and pray the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13).
- “Dear God, help me to learn what it means to know Jesus and follow Him” (Rom. 6:4).
- “Dear Lord, just like Jesus, help me to love and forgive those who pick on me or hurt my feelings” (Luke 23:34).
- “Dear Jesus, give my heart ‘great joy’ just like the disciples after they saw Jesus alive again” (Luke 24:52).
- Engage Your Children with Drive-Time Activities
Whether you’re commuting or waiting together, use an activity throughout the week to talk about Easter.
- Find the Cross – As you drive with your children in the car, look for a cross. Count how many crosses you can find as a team, or make it a game and keep points. Count two points for an actual cross on a church or side of the road and one point for something that looks like a cross (i.e. a broken fence post). Use the game as a conversation starter to talk about the Easter story.
- 20 Easter Questions- One person thinks of something or someone that has to do with the Easter story (i.e. palm branches, a cross, Peter, Judas, a tomb, etc.). Everyone else in the car takes turns asking yes or no questions, like “Is it round?” or “Was it made of wood?” Once 20 questions have been asked, each person takes a turn guessing what it is.
- Tell a Dinnertime Story
Use the following prompts to invite your children into meaningful conversations around the dinner table:
- Tell your kids about Easter traditions you had growing up. Do you have a specific memory or tradition that really stands out?
- Everyone takes a turn answering the following two questions: What do you know about Jesus? What does He mean to you?
- Answer any questions your children have about the resurrection story. Don’t discuss it all in one night, but take time to discuss each part of the story and do so on different nights to spend time helping them learn the various parts of the story leading up to Easter. For example, you can talk about the Last Supper, the garden of Gethsemane, how Jesus was buried and the tomb guarded, and those who saw Jesus alive after He rose from the dead.
- Ask Bedtime Questions
Before you say goodnight, ask a question and connect with your child on a heart level:
- Describe what it means to be alive. What feelings do you have when you think about being alive?
- In the Easter story, Jesus goes back to heaven. Tell me, what do you think heaven is like?
- What would you like to do this Easter to celebrate that Jesus is alive? (Perhaps it becomes a new family tradition.)
- What is one thing you don’t understand about Jesus?
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Many parents struggle to teach their kids about the true meaning of Easter—they lack the time, a plan, and they often don’t know how to talk about Easter in a way that their kid will understand. That’s why we want to provide an Easter guide for parents! Is this something you’d like? If so, let us know in the comment section and tell us which would be most valuable for you: morning prayers, drive-time activities, dinnertime stories, or bedtime questions.
Joshua Straub, Ph.D. serves as Marriage and Family Strategist for LifeWay Christian Resources and is the President and Cofounder of The Connextion Group, a company designed to empower families to live, love, and lead well. He is author/coauthor of four books including Safe House: How Emotional Safety is the Key to Raising Kids Who Live, Love, and Lead Well. Josh and his Canadian bride, Christi, reside in Nashville with their son, Landon, and daughter, Kennedy. You can watch Dr. Josh + Christi live each week on Facebook Live talking about marriage and parenting in the 21st century.
Christi Straub, M.A., M.B.A. is a native Canadian, wife to an American, and momma to two feisty preschoolers. She and her husband Josh are the cofounders of The Connextion Group, a company designed to empower marriages and families. Passionate about families in her generation, Christi writes and speaks on helping moms discover their identity and have marriages they’d wish on their children. Her honesty, wittiness, and transparency are contagious. She is also the producer and co-author of the video curriculum The Screen-Balanced Family: Six Secrets to a More Connected Family in the 21st Century. When she and Josh aren’t working together, they’re playing trains or having tea parties. (And trying really hard to put the phones away.)