Just over ten years ago Naomi and I became first-time parents. We are now the happy (and tired) parents of four children. It feels to me like there is always someone awake in our house! At the bookshop people often ask me for recommendations. Here are some of our go-to resources for new parents.
When our first child was born, my dad gave us a set of Big Bible Storybook CDs. Night after night we have played them on repeat for our kids to listen to. The stories are short, just a few minutes each, and there are almost 200 different Bible Stories on 6 CDs! They are narrated in a gentle English accent. By the time our older kids started reading Picture Bibles, they already knew most of the characters and were already piecing together the storyline of the Bible. I’m looking forward to introducing our new baby to these same CDs this year.
When I first saw this book by Nancy Guthrie I thought it was called Praying through the Bible with your Kids - which is a very good thing to do! But this book is called Praying through the Bible for your Kids.
Nancy has written a year of daily devotions and prayers to help us prayer for our kids. One friend of mine said, not only did she start praying regularly for her kids, but this book also changed how she viewed and related to her kids. While she was praying for God to be at work in the lives of her children, God was at work in her - changing her heart as a parent too! It’s never too soon to start praying for your children.
Everyone a Child Should Know provides a wonderful introduction to our fellow pilgrims from church history. This beautiful hardback picture book features short one-page biographies from church history, accompanied by very cute illustrations. We meet Missionaries, Musicians, Poets, Preachers, and Social Workers. Even when your kids are little, reading this book out-loud is a reminder to us parents that all kinds of people can be friends with Jesus. As your children grow - no matter how normal or strange – they are still loved by God and can use their unique God-given personalities to live for Him. This is a wonderful book to keep on the dinner table alongside a picture bible.
Susan Schaeffer Macauley was raised in L’abri, Switzerland by her parents Francis and Edith Schaeffer. In the 1980s she wrote For the Children's Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School. It remains a modern classic.
New parents might think a book about education won't be relevant for another five years, but the wisdom in this book shapes how we relate to our children from the day they are born. Susan introduces us to Charlotte Mason's philosophy of education, especially the idea that ”Children are Born Persons”. We are parents to our children, but they are not mere possessions or pets:
“We are human beings, persons, created to live. To have life more abundantly. Wonder together; grow together. Together share the struggles of knowing that we cannot perfectly follow God’s law. We are fellow-pilgrims. We walk side-by-side with human beings under the love and authority of Him who made us.”
Finally, I want to highlight a book written by an Australian parent. Harriet Connor is the new editor of Growing Faith, a website full of online articles and resources for Australian families. Harriet’s book Big Picture Parents comes highly recommended. Sarah Condie says: ''I wish this book had been written when I first became a mother almost thirty years ago. This book will be a blessing to all parents.’'
Online Resources for New Parents
• Growing Faith website
• Christian Parenting Australia Facebook group
• Dale Brown’s Parents for Eternal Life blog
• Colin Buchanan’s Music for Kids
• Browse our New Parents Book Collection online