Little baby boy being baptized in catholic church

You're at church, and your 8-year-old child overhears the preacher talking about the baptism of other people. You watch a video as a congregation showing a reenactment of Jesus getting baptized, and your child thinks it looks like something she would like to do. You may be feeling conflicted about whether or not your child is ready to make such a big religious decision. Part of the answer depends on your specific religion and denomination. Different religions have different rules and regulations about how old a child must be before making a decision like this. Sometimes, it comes down to the perspective of the pastor of your church. Sometimes babies are baptized, while other times the pastor prefers to only baptize adults. However, there are many churches that do not put any restrictions on how old a person should be when baptized. If you are in this situation, here are some ways to explain to your child the importance of baptism to help both you and your child determine whether or not he or she is of the appropriate age.

Explain the Process

One of the first things your child needs to be aware of is the process of being baptized. Sit down with him or her and explain how the ceremony will be conducted. If your church has a specific procedure to go through, make sure your child is aware of it. He or she probably know about being immersed into water but may not understand the need to hold the breath for a brief moment. Getting these things out of the way will help show your child what the process is like and help him or her decide if it is something he or she can physically handle.

Explain the Significance

If your child understands the physical process and wants to go through with it, then move on to explaining the meaning and significance of being baptized. It is a decision many don't take lightly, and while it is a wonderful thing, it is also a commitment your child needs to be ready for. Explain to the child your church's beliefs on Jesus Christ and the resurrection. Let your child know that by being baptized, he or she is committing to living a life for Jesus as best able.

Maturity Levels of Children

Children of the same age can be at all different levels of maturity. Some children may be ready to be baptized at the age of six while others may need to be 12 or older. There is no way to measure this, but as the parent, you are probably the person who knows the most about your child and his or her maturity level. Think about the level of responsibility as well as how he or she handles things emotionally. Because you are typically the best gauge of your child's maturity level, this is an important step.

Talk With the Pastor

Having a meeting with your church's pastor can also be very helpful. The pastor may be able to explain things about the process to your child that you may not be aware of. Your pastor can also answer questions you may have. You might ask things such as:

  • Is there a class that is required in order to be baptized at the church?
  • Are there any resources the pastor can recommend to help your child better understand the process?
  • What should you do as the parent to prepare your child?

Getting these questions answered can help prepare both you and your child.

If you have talked to your child about the process and significance of the baptism and feel he or she is at an appropriate maturity level, then talking with the pastor should be the next step. He or she can guide you on the right steps to helping your children with the exciting but important decision of being baptized.

Category: Get Ordained Baptism

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