How to Talk to Your Kids About the Crucifixion

By Jessica Wolstenholm

As the last installment of our Easter blog series, Lisa shares how she talks to her kids about the gravity and glory of the Cross – not always an easy balance with kids!

How do we effectively communicate to our kids that the gloriousness of Easter is about much more than colored eggs and baskets of candy? Many of us now use the term “Resurrection Sunday” instead of Easter, to clarify what it is we are truly celebrating. But the thing is we can’t talk about the Resurrection without talking about Jesus’ death, and we can’t talk about His death without talking about crucifixion.

Is crucifixion too scary of a subject for kids?

The Crucifixion is indeed a powerfully disturbing event, even for adults! But if we tackle it as age appropriately as possible; remembering each child’s developmental readiness, the story of Salvation, through Jesus’ death, burial AND resurrection becomes personal and purposeful.

Using language that they understand, start talking to your kids about what happened to Jesus on Good Friday. Keeping in mind that too much graphic detail isn’t necessary to convey His act of love and sacrifice. Death, in and of itself, might also be a concept not fully comprehensible to a young child. They’ve heard about people, maybe even pets, dying but may have never personally experienced such an event.

When I was teaching my own kids about what happened on Good Friday, I explained that in the time of Jesus, people who did bad things were hung on crosses as a punishment and would die on these crosses. They would either tie a person’s hands and feet to the cross or, as in Jesus’ case, use nails to hang Him on his cross. It hurt a lot. More than any pain we can imagine. He was being punished for things he never did. Jesus was perfect and never sinned but because God loves us so much, and wants us to be with Him forever, He took all the sin from each of us, even the sin that was in our hearts, and placed it on Jesus. When Jesus died and was buried, all of our sins died and were buried too. Forever. We are now forgiven because of what Jesus did for us on the cross! Jesus took our place when He was punished for all of our sins. He loves us that much!

If you are a fan of using Resurrection Eggs, you may enjoy the story of Benjamin’s Box . This story goes along with the Resurrection Eggs, and follows a young boy named Benjamin who is in Jerusalem at the same time as Jesus. He wants to learn more about Jesus, so he follows him during this one week. At first he thinks Jesus is a teacher, then he thinks he is a king– finally he learns the Good News and who Jesus really is! Story can be such a great way of reinforcing the truth of the Gospel!

We try to protect the hearts of our kids, but it’s okay for kids to feel sad that Jesus suffered so much. If you have a child who is especially sensitive, it’s always a good thing to remind them, right away, that the story of salvation doesn’t end at Good Friday. Sunday is coming! The “rescue plan” of salvation is not just about Jesus’ death and burial– but it is completed through His resurrection! He is Risen! He is alive! Our tears of sadness will turn into joy!

Have you talked to your kids about the Crucifixion?

Lisa Strnad is an independent contractor in Christian media as a writer, marketing consultant, and public relations specialist. She speaks to Christian women’s groups on the issues of motherhood, home schooling and raising a child with special needs. Lisa and her family make their home in Nashville.