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Ten Commandments Lessons for Preschoolers

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr

Teaching your preschooler about right and wrong might include one or more lessons on the 10 Commandments. He’s probably too young to understand adultery or worshiping idols and you may find him asking interesting questions. He might even wonder why he has to clean up his room or take the dog for a walk on Sunday if he isn’t supposed to work on that day!

God Gives the Law

After you read Exodus 20:1-17 or the 10 Commandments for Kids (see Resources) to your preschooler, you might ask. “Let’s go through each commandment and talk about what they mean. If you don’t understand, you can ask me and I’ll try to help you understand.” The simplified 10 Commandments will be easier for your preschooler to understand and remember. You might point out commandments that your child will easily understand and find relative to her, such as honoring parents, taking care with God’s name and not lying or stealing. You might help her make a scroll with the 10 Commandments on it for her room or put them on cardboard tablets.

Moses Gets Angry

After God gave Moses the 10 Commandment tablets, Moses broke them in a fit of anger because people were already breaking the laws. You might ask your child, “How do you think God feels when you disobey his law? Does it make Him sad or angry?” After your child has a chance to think about why Moses got angry, you might talk about Jesus’ reaction to those who sin. You might say, “Jesus says we should stop breaking the law when we realize we are wrong.” You could follow that with the Lord’s Prayer. “Jesus showed us in the Lord’s Prayer that we should ask for forgiveness when we do something wrong. Would you like to ask God to forgive you for something?”

Why God Gave the Law

Galatians 3:19 and Romans 5:20 say that God gave mankind the Law so that man would understand that he needed Jesus. You might ask your preschooler, “Do you ever do anything wrong?” When he admits that he does, you might say, “God sent Jesus so we would see someone who obeyed all of the 10 Commandments all of the time. Do you think that would be hard? Because of Jesus, you can ask God to forgive you and promise not to do it again. God not only forgives you, He forgets you ever did something wrong. What do you think about that?”

Jesus and the Law

Jesus said that all of the 10 Commandments could be simply put as “Love God and love others.” You can help your child learn that short phrase. You might ask her, “What are some ways you can show God you love Him? Can you think of ways to show others that you care for them?” You might read him the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 to provide a clear picture.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

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