Singing with grandchildren can be done anywhere and anytime. I love singing with my two grandsons. Ibrahim is four and Adam is two. I care for them one day a week and I try to teach them a new song each week. I choose simple songs with lots of repetition. I sometimes teach the chorus of a hymn such as “Go Tell It on the Mountain.”
I use a simple method to teach the songs. I say, “Today we are going to learn, “The B-I-B-L-E”. Then I sing this simple song. Then I sing it again with motions of some sort such as clapping hands or marching in place. Then I ask them to sing it with me. The younger grandson is just learning to talk so he does not yet really sing. He likes to do the actions and every now and then will get out a word. Throughout the day, I repeat the song when walking to the park, when Ibrahim is sitting on the toilet, and before naps.
Some examples: - We read a storybook about fish and I taught them the song, “I Will Make You Fishers of Men.” - Every day at lunch I light a candle and sing “This Little Light of Mine” before we say a prayer and eat. After two months, the boys are beginning to sing it with me. - While walking to the park, I sang, “This is the Day that the Lord Has Made.”
If you do not know any children’s Bible songs or forgot the ones you learned, you can use the internet to help you out. If you search for children’s Bible songs, you will find several sites where you can find lyrics, download songs or just listen and sing along. A couple of my favorite sites are http://childbiblesongs.com/index.shtml (to find lyrics to songs) or www.sundayschoolsources.com/songs.html (to hear a person singing the songs with no accompaniment)
Singing binds words and melody together into hearts as well as minds. When the words come from the Bible or are about God and Jesus, the impact is even more powerful. When I was a child in Sunday School, I loved to sing the Bible songs with actions. It was my favorite part of Sunday School but the Sunday School program that my grandsons attend does not have music time. As a grandparent, I can pass on the faith in an easy, relaxed way through singing.
Diane Shallue is Director of Christian Education and Small Group Ministries at University Lutheran Church of Hope, and lives in Blaine, Minnesota.