Purposeful First Words

A baby’s first word is a milestone that many parents will remember their entire life!  According to Circle of Moms survey, these are the 10 most common “Baby’s First Words”:

  1. Dad ( or Dada, Daddy, etc)
  2. Mom ( or Mama, Mommy)
  3. Hi
  4. Bubba
  5. Dog
  6. Ball
  7. No
  8. Cat
  9. Nana
  10. Bye

Why these words? Partly because the hard consonant sound is the easiest to make, so words with “D”, “H” and “B” are easier to say. But mostly these words are first because these are the words that they hear the most. Think about it. How many times does a toddler hear, “No, no!” As a mom, I remember many days of holding my baby in front of me saying, “Mama. Mama.” The goal? To make Mama their first word!

What would happen if we intentionally inserted “God” words into a young child’s life? What if we thought about the words that we wanted to make a part of their foundational vocabulary?   In Playing for Keeps, we read that “words impact the direction of a child’s life”. What if we were intentional to begin to impact that direction from the very earliest of conversations?

What if we simply made a list of those words we want them to know? Words like:








Ok, maybe that last one is wishful thinking for parents of little ones…..

While these are a good start, what word would you add? Be intentional to add these words to your conversations so that your little ones will hear them, day in and day out.

If you serve with preschoolers, take time to talk with your team and with your parents about what words you intentionally want to introduce to your children on Sundays. Make a list and let your parents know that you are going to focus on using those words often so that their child will recognize them and know what they mean.

For the youngest of your few, it may be that finding board books with pictures of Bible words would be the best tool to introduce those words. For your toddlers, it means using those words as you are playing simple games every week.

As you introduce these words to your children, you will impact their life in a way you never imagined.

Barbara Graves October 20th, 2014 1 comment

The New Kid on the Block… Or in the Circle

Being the new kid in a class can be hard.  A new room, new leaders, new schedules,  and all at one time can be quite overwhelming to a preschooler’s young life! Fall will often bring new preschoolers to your group who have moved to a new home over the summer or been promoted to a new room. It’s time to start new relationships.

Sometimes the

Barbara Graves September 18th, 2014 0 comments

Moving UP

One of the hardest parts of leading small is moving our few up to the next class.  After all, they are our few!  But we knew coming into this that they wouldn’t stay ours forever, so now that summer is here, the time has come to promote them, the next question is how to make this easy for everyone. 

Step 1!  We want to make it

Barbara Graves August 5th, 2014 0 comments

Summer: A Blast Not a Bump

Between vacations, sports camps, and visiting relatives, many churches see a drop in attendance during the summer months.  This makes the time you may spend with your few even less than usual.  So what can you do to make this summer special?

Make vacations and camps a part of your summer décor!  You can make an “Our Summer Map” of places your few will be

Barbara Graves July 29th, 2014 0 comments

Three Tips to a VERY Successful Sunday

When service is over and the last child has been dismissed to his parents, small group leaders breathe a sigh of relief and mentally recount the day.  There are just certain accomplishments that make some days feel like more of a success than others.  It’s always a great day when there is no name-calling and everyone participates in the memory verse game.  It’s a very

Barbara Graves July 8th, 2014

Not The Plan

One of the most amazing benefits of leading small, is when you get to lead your few with friends!  Recently, friends I lead small group with had taken a brief break as they welcomed their first baby.   I was so excited their first Sunday back. I wanted everything to go just right, because having a new baby is stressful, so I didn’t want our few

Gay Tucciarone June 13th, 2014 0 comments

Fully Present

You can’t see the forest for the trees. Keep the main thing the main thing. Stay on track. Keep your eye on the ball. 

All these are great idioms that remind us that life can be busy; we get distracted. It happens at home, at work, when we drive (yikes- better not do that in Atlanta where I live!). We even get distracted when we are leading

Gay Tucciarone May 13th, 2014 2 Comments

Parents on a Pedestal

One of the foundational roles of a small group leader is to partner with parents.  Often we think of this as only what we do outside of class time.  We text a parent to say we’re praying for them and their child that day.  Or we send a card to let parents know we care about them.  We chat with the parents as they pick

Barbara Graves May 6th, 2014 2 Comments

The Handoff

Most Sunday mornings find me leading my few preschoolers in some amazing adventures of life change – on their part and mine! Recently, I ended up on the other side of the lead small equation - as a family interfacing with small group leaders. On this particular day, three of my grandchildren, who are 18 months, 3 ½ years and 5 years olds were at

Gay Tucciarone March 24th, 2014 4 Comments

A Question of Trust

As we are helping our few lay a foundation for their faith, they take most of what we say as truth, because we are adults and they trust us.  But sometimes, they have questions.  And how we field those questions, even at a young age, determines whether they will ask us the next time a question arises in their mind.

Trust is a commodity that

Barbara Graves March 17th, 2014 0 comments