It’s never too early for children to learn about repentance as a positive, ongoing, daily process of becoming better and better. As we leave behind mistakes, we let the atonement of Jesus Christ give us a fresh start. Speaking to all church members of all ages, Elder Robert C. Gay of the Seventy said, “The question before us is not whether we are doing things which need correcting, because we always are. . . The Lord loves our righteousness but asks of us continued repentance and submission.” (“What Shall a Man Give In Exchange for His Soul?” Ensign, November 2012, 34.)
Repentance is not just for extraordinary circumstances; it is a principle of daily self-examination as we seek to be better. Therefore, there is always a place for repentance in our personal prayers. As you teach, have the children count with you on their fingers:
- Heavenly Father,
- I thank Thee . . .
- I ask Thee . . .
- Forgive me for . . .
- In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Using the downloadable handout here, ask the children to line up their fingers and trace around their hands. Then, in the spaces between the fingers, children can write or draw illustrations for the various steps.
Be sure you teach that these are the five steps of personal prayer. We should not talk about our mistakes when we are praying in front of other people. (If we need to tell someone besides Heavenly Father about something we’ve done wrong, we should talk to our parents in private, or our bishop.)
Learning frequent repentance young is building a lifelong habit to becoming more like Jesus, a day at a time.