It is important to most Christian families to explain who Jesus is to their children at a young age -- sometimes as early as 3 years old. However, you can't explain Jesus to a child the same way you explain Jesus to an adult. When explaining Jesus to a 3 year old it is important to cover the overarching ideas about Jesus, and then educate them further as they grow and mature.
Explain the general idea of God, the creation of the world, and the difference between good and evil. Tell the child how God created the earth and that humans were tempted by the devil to do disobey God. As a result of disobeying God, good and evil have been in conflict ever since. Now that you have set up the background, you can introduce Jesus as the man God sent to earth to redeem us of our sins and evil choices.
Tell the child that Jesus is God's son, and that God sent him to Earth to teach everyone how to follow God's laws and be good people. Tell the 3 year old that Jesus was a friendly man who came to be our savior because he loves all people, even her. This will be the foundation for the child's personal relationship with Jesus.
Tell your 3 year old some of the more easy-to-comprehend stories about Jesus, such as his creation of the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is a short parable that is applicable to the 3 year old's daily life.
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