“I want to get baptized!”
Hearing this from your kid is a big moment, and you might be feeling a rush of different emotions. It’s amazing when kids want to follow Jesus and let everyone know. But it can also be nerve-wracking, uncharted territory. How do you know if your child is actually ready for something so important?
Any spiritual conversation with your kid can be tricky. There’s no magic formula to figure out if a kid is ready for baptism. But we’ve put together some resources to help you figure out if your child is ready to get baptized.
1. ASK OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS (AND LISTEN)
Asking open-ended questions is the best way to help your child express their feelings and thoughts. If you’re not sure they even know what baptism means, ask them. Here are some suggestions:
“If a person is baptized, what does that mean?”
“How long have you wanted to be baptized?”
“Why do you love Jesus?”
“What does it mean to trust Jesus?”
“What does it mean to turn from sin?”
By asking open-ended questions, you give your kid a chance to say what baptism means to them. Sometimes all your child really needs is for you to listen to what they’re thinking and feeling. By listening, you give space for God to speak to and through your kiddo.
If you’ve never done this before, it can be challenging not to lead the conversation. Try to say something like, “Tell me how you want your life to be different,” or “It sounds like you’ve given this a lot of thought.” This encourages them to keep exploring their decision, and it builds trust in your relationship.
2. BRING OTHER PEOPLE IN
Your kid might ask you about baptism because they trust you, and that’s awesome! If they have other trusted adults in their life, encourage them to talk with others, too. Maybe it’s a grandparent, a family friend, or even a Crossroads Kids Club staff member or volunteer.
When in doubt, seek others out. The more your child can talk about baptism with people they trust, the easier it is to determine if they’re ready for that step. If they struggle to share with others, they might not be ready for baptism yet. Some kids are ready to follow Jesus, but might not be ready to publicly announce it. Helping them talk about their faith with others is a great next step.
3. KNOW WHEN THE ANSWER IS “NOT YET”
Sometimes after talking with your kid, it’s clear they don’t understand yet what baptism means and why it’s important. Maybe your kid gets swept up in the moment or wants to do something because they see someone else doing it. Baptism is not always the next step for your kid to take.
A kid should only be baptized after repenting, believing, and choosing to receive Jesus’ rescue. If your kid can’t remember a time when they’ve asked God for forgiveness or started to believe, they’re just not ready for baptism yet. And that’s ok! We’ve got resources to help you figure out the next steps.
Encourage your kid to keep seeking and understanding what it means to follow Jesus. Say, “I can tell you are really curious to know who Jesus is and how to follow him, what are some questions you still have about Jesus?” or “How can you spend time learning more about Jesus?”
Whatever you decide, know that baptism is a choice that only your kid can make. We think your main job as a parent is to process with them, not convince them. In doing so, you’re trusting God to do what only he can do. This makes it even more amazing and sweet when our kid decides to get baptized, and you know it’s their choice.
If your kid is ready, check out more baptism resources here.