A child's first impression of prayer usually comes from hearing Mom and Dad pray. When children hear you talking to God, it prompts the realization that God is someone who listens. Long before the reality of prayer has meaning, a child learns an attitude toward God. Our expressions of thanksgiving and praise for God's loving care will enable the child to view God as loving and caring. If talking to God is natural and real to you, it will become real to your children. God will become their constant Companion, and ever-present Listener with whom we can share joy and sorrow. Share your own prayer experiences with your child. Pray with them. Tell them when you are praying for them and what you pray about. And always be sure to tell them how God answered your prayers. If children see a consistent demonstration of the importance of prayer in the life of a parent, they will grow into a personal prayer experience. A few short sentences is a great model for meaningful prayer that the child can imitate. Talking to God about little things like scraped elbows conveys that God is interested.
Because preschoolers generally have a short attention span, a great way to teach them to pray is to have them draw their prayers in their own prayer journal. They will love the activity and it will help them stay focused. It's also special for parents to see what pictures represent prayers to them.