Abstract
As infants develop, they need to establish trust, and that is where parents or teachers come in to help their children develop spiritual trust. Therefore, trust is identified as the fundamental component of every relationship. Besides, it is trust that is noted for making one feel secure as well as safe. As infants begin maturing into young toddlers, various behaviors need limit setting. Some of them include nurturing of individual sensitivities and emotions since they help the child have a better understanding of feelings and thoughts of others. Religious instructions given to a child is identified as being different from their spiritual development. It is expected that when teaching children about Christianity, this concept should be an organized practice. Different stages of spirituality development help people in incorporating Christ into children’s personality and social world. The spirituality development stages are known for building upon each other in a child’s life, and they always overlap as will presented in this research.

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Trust is identified as the fundamental component of every relationship. Besides, it is trust that is noted for making one feel secure as well as safe. As infants develop, they need to establish trust, and that is where parents or teachers come in to help their children develop spiritual trust. Moreover, tenderness and contentment along with love and acceptance support developing and infant’s person-hood. As infants begin maturing into young toddlers, various behaviors need limit setting. Some of them include nurturing of individual sensitivities and emotions since they help the child have a better understanding of feelings and thoughts of others. Furthermore, these are the times when teaching children Christianity as they develop becomes essential. Different ways can be used in teaching infants about Christianity at various development stages for their spiritual growth.

Religious instructions given to a child is identified as being different from their spiritual development. It is expected that when teaching children about Christianity, this concept should be an organized practice. Besides this is the only way of making sure that children develop discipline for various beliefs about humanity, self, and God. A child’s spiritual development involves the integration of their faith, self-worth, and values along with meaning (Richert & Granqvist, 2013). These are recognized as intangible elements like belief about self. A child’s Christianity belief as a religion can be part of what one believes about oneself and others thereby making it a factor that makes up a child’s spirituality. One can foster a child’s spiritual development by first having a better understanding of the difference between spiritual growth and religious instruction of young children.

Different stages of spirituality development help people in incorporating Christ into children’s personality and social world. The spirituality development stages are known for building upon each other in a child’s life, and they always overlap. It is evident that there is no absolute age when a child is expected to begin learning about Christianity. However, what matters when to teach children about Christianity is when a parent is sure about the child’s maturity and readiness. Besides, when a child is ready for religious teaching, it will be seen from their ability to comprehend particular concepts and teachings like expressiveness, cause and effect, as well as me and others (Richert & Granqvist, 2013). These concepts are essential in the advancement of children’s religious belief from stage to stage.

A child’s spirituality on Christian upbringing is undoubtedly developed simultaneously over time with physical and mental growth since development stages do not have much impact. A child’s spiritual dimension is recognized as the integrator of every contributing factors like social, psychological, cognitive and emotional, thereby providing a foundation that builds who a child will become. Affective dimension is considered as a child’s first spiritual development stage. In this case, we identify that affective dimension such as love and affection for an infant during first few months are critical to their development. Furthermore, other aspects of spiritual growth are built from an affective dimension that is recognized with giving a gentle infant touches, demonstrating love and acceptance, and showing care and concern (Mir, 2012). Children learn about God’s care and love from the love of their parents. During this stage, parents are to make their children understand that God is careering, concerned, and trustworthy thus it is who people find contentment. Some of the Christian stories told to children in this stage include those of creation as in the Bible and others that demonstrate God’s care on people who trust him like miracles of Jesus and ravens feeding Elijah.

Cognitive development is also part of spiritual growth. In this stage, as the infant grows into a young toddler, it is the role of parents to correct their behaviors together with setting the limits as they nature children’s emotions and sensitivities. In this case, nurturing the child’s feelings using religious instructions is essential. For example, telling a child about Naaman’s story from the bible which shows obedience because he is healed for following God’s instructions and bathing in river Jordan (Mir, 2012). The social and emotional dimension is also considered as an essential spiritual development stage for a child. There are always changes in a child’s mindset, willing-fullness, and behavior as they enter the autonomy stage. Their thoughts begin to impact how they understand others, and that is why framing the picture of God in a child’s mind is necessary for this stage.

Self-conception dimension stage as part of spiritual development involves different relationships that create a loving and accepting environment capable of influencing a child’s values, meaning, and self-worth. The concept of one’s self is instilled in a child right from infancy (Myers, 2013). Therefore, a Christian parent will emphasize to their child the idea of self-worth. Some of the Biblical stories worth telling a child, in this case, are those of self-sacrifice, selflessness along with the submission. A suitable Biblical story in this case for selflessness is that God gave Jesus who was his only son to die for humanity.

To sum up, understanding the difference between spiritual developments along with religious instructions of children assists in the understanding how to foster spiritual development of children. Moreover, it also helps in guiding along with informing children through the process of religious instruction. It is worth noting that despite the adverse lifestyle, opinion from other people, and financial burdens, a child’s spiritual development rests on the parent’s shoulder. Mothers’ play significant roles in nurturing their children into understanding Christian values and making them grow spiritually.

    References
  • Mir, S. (2012). Religious Diversity and Children’s Literature: Strategies and Resources. Connie R. Green and Sandra Brenneman Oldendorf. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, 2011. 260 pp. Religion & Education, 39(3), 338-340.
  • Myers, B. K. (2013). Young children and spirituality. Routledge.
  • Richert, R. A., & Granqvist, P. (2013). Religious and spiritual development in childhood. Handbook of the psychology of religion and spirituality, 2, 165-82.