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How to explain Easter to a child?

It’s that time of year again—the stores are filled with bunnies and plastic eggs, the flowers are beginning to bloom, and Christians everywhere are preparing to celebrate the most important holiday of the church year! 

Easter is a most joyous time for the whole family, but for some of us the question of how to explain Easter to a child can be difficult. We want our children to know the true meaning of the holiday, but often struggle with how to bring it down to their level. 

Many parents feel that the mystery of Jesus’s suffering, death, and resurrection can be over the heads of young children, but the good news of Easter is that it is for all Christians, no matter how young. Below are some tips to help you begin to share the story of Easter with children.

Use Nature to Teach Your Kids about Death and Resurrection

Even though the date of Easter changes from year to year, Easter is always celebrated in the springtime—not just because of the historical date of Christ’s passion, but also because spring is a beautiful image of rebirth and resurrection. 

As you see flowers and trees beginning to bud and bloom, remind your children that these flowers “died” in the winter, but that they are now “coming back to life.” We can illustrate to children that this “resurrection” is a good reminder to us that even though Jesus died, He came back to life.

God is the creator of all things, and we know that the natural world He created is good and can help us learn and remember truths about Him. Nature helps us teach children about the reality of Christ’s death and resurrection in a way they can understand.

Teach the Story, Not Just the Facts

Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection are important truths that teach us about the nature of God and our salvation, but we must not forget to teach our children the story of Jesus. As adults, we can often get caught up in the facts, but children need to hear the story.

During Holy Week, my parents would gather us around the living room each night before bed and read a short passage from the Gospels about Jesus’s final days on earth. Although we were very young, this was a great way for the whole family to hear the story of Easter.

I remember vividly hearing about the Last Supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus’s trial, Peter’s denial, and the Crucifixion and burial. Even as a young child, I remember being so engaged in the story that I couldn’t wait to get to Easter so I could read about Jesus’s resurrection. 

The story of Christ’s final days—His death and resurrection—is a beautiful story that is full of hope. Even young children who won’t understand all the facts can enter into the story in a beautiful way and more fully celebrate Easter. 

How to Explain Easter to a Child? Become Like Little Children 

We must remember the words of Jesus from the gospel of Matthew:

“Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” 

Matthew 18:3 

The innocence and simple faith of children are something to be admired and imitated. 

As we strive to explain Easter to the children in our lives, we should remember Jesus’s words and try to become like little children. We should try to match the joy, curiosity, and hope that our children have when celebrating the Easter holiday! 

I was on the phone with a friend last year, about a week after Easter. Her four-year-old came running into the room holding an iPad that she had been using to watch TV. The iPad had shut off and stopped working. 

When the little girl asked her mom what happened, her mom said, “Don’t worry, the iPad just died.” This sweet little girl, with childlike faith, responded, “But will it rise from the dead?” Clearly, the Easter story was still on her mind and had become a part of her everyday life! 

As we approach the celebration of Easter, let us prayerfully consider how to explain Easter to a child. Don’t be afraid to share the good news with them so you can celebrate Christ’s resurrection with joy and unity as a family.

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