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Resources to teach a 5 yo child about religions

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

We're basically secular, with a pagan bias.  We talk about the seasons, the moon, cycle of the year.


My neighbor across the street is muslim, my daughter's after-care program is at the Jewish Community Center, my ex's family is Catholic and we have a lot of Indian friends who are Hindu.


My DD said this morning that she keeps asking her friend if she's Jewish (she is) and then asked me:  What is Jewish?


I didn't have a good answer.  I'm 100% in favor of my daughter learning positive things about all religions - in fact, when invited, we went with our neighbor to the mosque during Ramadan one evening last year.  I'd love her to attend a religious ceremony from many religions to be aware and to accept.  I do not want her converted, just aware of different religions the way she's aware of different foods and and languages.  Just part of the tapestry of life.  If she chooses to follow a religion as a teen or adult, that's her choice.


So, over the upcoming years, she'll go to mass, a Hindu temple, a mosque and any other religious "establishment" as the opportunity comes up - it's not on my bucket list with a timeline, but as the opportunity comes up, we'll do it.


But, in the meantime, can anyone suggest some books or resources that I might slowly use to gradually introduce my daughter to different religions?


Today would have been a great day to sit down and explain to her about Judaism when the question came up.

post #2 of 6

I find the Unitarian Universalist youth education helpful for my families religious understanding http://www.uua.org/

post #3 of 6

Your local synagogue would likely welcome visitors! mine has students come ALL the time who are in a comparative religions class! 

And Judaism is hard to explain even  to adults :) We're odd ducks. 

post #4 of 6

I have the same question- I am a non-believer but want my children to know about the world religions and have general literacy in world religions. For instance- while I don't believe in the Adam and Eve thing, I think it's important that my children are aware of the story and that some people believe it is fact- we live in America where Judeo-Christian beliefs are ingrained in our culture. That said, we do live in a very diverse neighborhood and they meet people from all over the world so an awareness and respect for other peoples believes is important. 


I need to get my butt in gear and start attending the nearby UU church, I know they do a good job teaching about all the religions, as someone else mentioned. 


My sisters dog died and my toddler started asked where the dog was- my sister said, "Heaven" So we've gone over and over that some people believe when people (or apparently animals) die, they go to a special, beautiful land in the sky... but some people like mommy believe that they simply stop "being" and are gone. 


I found a book at the thrift store called, "What is Death?" by Etan Borizer. It respectfully explains various customs and beliefs about death. My kids (3 and 5) weren't very interested in it, but it helped me find ways to explain death to them..Etan Borizer has authored a number of "What is" books, including one called "What is God?" that I am intending to buy!



Hopefully other peoples will be able to recommend other books about the world religions for kids- I would be very interested as welll!

post #5 of 6

I agree about Judaism being hard to explain.  You can be Jewish and yet be secular.  I think you have to examine yourself what the differences are between what you believe in and what your friends believe in.  And that's how I would explain it.  You could say "Mommy and Daddy think about life like this...we believe X."  For secular beliefs, I would say "There are a lot of things we don't know how they happen or why they happen.  We *think* this is how it works, and if people figure it out something different in the future, we may change our minds."  Modify that to describe pagan beliefs (sorry, I'm not familiar with them).  Then you could say, other people have a different idea of how certain things work in the universe, and that difference can be called a religion.  I'm being general, but you could pick something specific, like how life began, or the beginning of the universe, or why we exist, or how people die, etc.  I'd keep it very brief for a 5 year old.  And then talk about the holidays, which is the most obvious difference to a child...and really you could mention holidays without even mentioning religion. 

There's a book called "Parenting Beyond Belief" that may be helpful to you...it discusses various ways secular parents talk about these kinds of topics with their kids.  

post #6 of 6

We've had a lot of fun with this one. Very stylish illustrations. We also sing Hindu chants that I learned in kirtan when I lived in a city, and have some in our playlists. 6 yo dd wants to be Kali for Halloween.



Here's one dd likes a lot, about a pagan girl and how her family practices. Also some about intolerance from Christian kids.


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