Teaching your children about Yom Kippur can be a challenge, especially if you don’t know where to start. The good news is that the appointed time of Yom Kippur is the perfect opportunity to teach your children about the principles and heart behind repentance and forgiveness.
Teaching your children about Yom Kippur can be intimidating and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s an appointed time to tell them about the importance and benefits of repentance and forgiveness. We want our children to grow stronger in the Lord. We pray for their protection.
So then, start by remembering and proclaiming God's promises of protection over your home and children…
- “No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.”—Psalm 91:10-11
- “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.”—Matthew 18:10
- “All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.”—Isaiah 54:13
When teaching your children about Yom Kippur and repentance, praise God for the peace He will release into your home. Thank Him for growing them in His wisdom, knowledge and understanding, and for showing them the benefits of repentance.
Why Teaching Your Children About Yom Kippur is Important
Teaching your children about Yom Kippur helps them understand what a “clean and pure” heart is and how starting the year this way positions them to live out their Kingdom purpose as they grow in the Lord.
Here are a few benefits of teaching your children about Yom Kippur…
Repentance is a difficult concept to teach children. It is more than saying “I’m sorry.” It’s a desire to change the heart. It’s an understanding that our actions not only hurt ourselves and others, but also the Lord. Yom Kippur teaches that when we return to the Lord, He is faithful to forgive.
As we know, repentance and forgiveness go hand in hand. Teaching your children about Yom Kippur opens the doors to tell them more about the forgiveness they receive through Jesus. You can tell them, “Jesus offers forgiveness every day of the year, but Yom Kippur is a special day that God tells us about in His Bible. It reminds us how much Jesus did for us and how much we need Him.”
It has been said that trust is gained in drops, but lost in buckets. As a parent, you can tell your children about God’s trustworthy and faithful character. They need to know He can be trusted with and in all things. Tell them, “God loves you so much that He lets you choose if you will listen to Him or not. However, what He asks you to do, the commands and instructions He gives you, is always best. You can trust Him, fully expecting the best will come. When you trust God and choose to follow His instruction, you will have joy and peace in your heart!”
Teaching your children about Yom Kippur begins to shape their heart’s desire. As they start to understand repentance, forgiveness and trust, they will develop a desire to change. You can share with them the reality that when mistakes are made, they can return to the Lord. He always welcomes them. The next step would be to ask Him to change them from within. As they go through this process of repentance and renewal, it is a beautiful picture of walking with the Lord day in and day out, leaning on Him in all circumstances.
As your children grow in the Lord and live a lifestyle of repentance, punctuated by the Feast of Yom Kippur, they will begin to see all the good that the Lord has for them. Their perspectives begin to shift from lack to abundance. They begin to receive and experience the love of their Heavenly Father, feeling loved, accepted, blessed, and anointed.
5 Tips for Teaching Your Children About Yom Kippur
- Read a book. Reading a book that teaches your children about Yom Kippur helps them to better understand the heart behind and purpose of the feast. It reveals God’s heart to draw them near and forgive, anointing them for their Kingdom purposes.
- Pray with your children. Guide them in prayers that recall moments from the past year that were a struggle or when they made mistakes. You can do the same and let them see that you actively live a life of repentance. Let them know that when they repent and turn it over to God, He is faithful to forgive.
- Fast. Fasting is part of observing Yom Kippur, however, this can be incredibly difficult for adults, much less kids! Instead of fasting from food, talk with your children about fasting from a favorite activity, or treat. Teaching your children about Yom Kippur by using fasting can help them see the benefit of removing distractions and focusing on the Lord.
- Journal or draw. Yom Kippur focuses on choices. Your children can journal or draw a picture of how they want to move forward in the year ahead and the choices they want to make.
- Do a craft. As we know, kids love crafts! They engage every sense and children are better able to understand the concepts you are teaching. You can do a craft that tells about Jonah and the whale, which is a picture of repentance and is traditionally read during Yom Kippur.
Getting the whole family involved in teaching your children about Yom Kippur is such a blessing. It displays God’s divine design of how a family is established and prospers when it is rooted in the Lord. It builds security and trust with your children and leaves a lasting legacy.
As a parent, you start to see how your actions plant seeds in your children that will produce fruit for a lifetime.
7 Scriptures to Remember When Teaching Your Children About Yom Kippur
Below are scriptures you can write down, speak, and pray as a family to help your children experience the benefits of repentance and see the importance of Yom Kippur.
- “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”—1 John 1:9
- “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”—Psalm 51:7
- “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’”—Isaiah 1:18
- “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’”—John 1:29
- “‘I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.’”—Isaiah 43:25
- “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”—Psalm 103:12
- “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”—James 4:8
Teaching your children about Yom Kippur, repentance and forgiveness, positions them to live a life of opened doors and blessings. It shows them the sovereignty and power of God as well as their need for His instruction and love.
Make the High Holy Day a time of celebration and renewal. Spend this time with your kids, planting seeds that will leave a legacy far beyond your generation. Teach them to see God’s desire for them to draw near, in every circumstance, and His faithfulness to forgive when they approach Him with a humble heart.
Teaching your children about Yom Kippur doesn’t have to be intimidating. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead this time with your children and ask Him to give you a fresh anointing that flows from you to them.