I am now a godparent - what next... ? What can I do with / for my godchild? There are many different ways of being a godparent, and having a relationship with your godchild - from a card each year on their birthday, through to playing a regular role in their life. No one pattern is right or wrong, it will be up to you the parents and (as they get older) the child to define your specific relationship. Here you will find some simple ideas which might help, some are 'Christian' ideas to help build their faith (the core concept behind being a godparent), but others are equally applicable where there is simply a relationship whether religious or not.
Godparents and baptisms - a confusing other world for most people, whether church members or not. Below we tackle some of your questions and offer answers which may have either a religious (Christian) perspective, or a secular perspective, or both depending on the question.
Once a month, once a week, or daily - praying for your godchild is a core part of being a godparent. The promises made during a baptism include helping to bring the child up to know God, praying is one of the ways of doing that. If you are not used to praying don't worry, just think of it as talking to God about your godchild.
You can pray about what they are doing, events in their life, and how they grow up to become an adult.
For children who are baptised as infants, they won't remember the day, but children who are batised at an older age might. It is a lovely opportunity to contact them, remind them that they were baptised, and that you are supporting them as their godparent. Send them a card on the anniversary of their baptism each year, perhaps with a short bible verse that ties into their life.
Make sure that they own a bible appropriate to their age - that means Toddler / Child / Teenager / Adult
If you live locally, you can encourage them by going with them to church on a regular basis, or maybe you live at some distance so going to visit could include a trip to church.
Spend time talking about your faith, be honest with them but age-appropriate. When they are younger, you might talk at a simpler level about how God / Jesus loves you and them; as they get older and start to think more about their faith, then sharing your personal story and journey is a good way of helping them to start to own their faith personally.
Be there to answer questions / help them in their developing faith. The Christian fiath is a personal relationship, so each child as they grow up will need to make it their own personal relationship, but that doesn't mean that they don't need you as a godparent. They will have input from parents, school, church and other groups, but your 'role' in their life means that you are an obvious person for them to talk to about their faith.
Get to know the child - spend time with them from baby up, read to them, play with them, talk with them. It is a relationship which needs work, there is no automatic family connection which helps build bonds automatically as a parent, uncle or aunt, so you need to put in the effort, however it is worth it and by building that relationship you can then play a supporting role as a godparent.
Any special date in your godchild's life is worth remembering, but there are three obvious points each year where it makes sense to be in contact. Birthdays and Christmas are obvious, but you can also remember the anniversary of their baptism. Where birthdays and Christmas are widely celebrated, the anniversary of their baptism is only relevant to godchild and godparents, so it reminds them of your relationship.
If you are looking to spend time with your godchild, then think about how you can add richness to their life. A lot of bringing up children is about giving them opportunities to experience different parts of life. So, think about how you complement their parents, if the parents are sporty, take your godchild to the theatre, if the parents prefer opera, take them to a football match. Find an activity which they do with you, something which allows you to share your passion with them.
Be there when they need you (or the parents need you!), your role is as a supportive adult. It is easy to assume that a family is complete and offers a child all they need, but your godchild's life will be much richer for the involvement of other adults. As a trusted adult in their life, there may be times when they would prefer to ask you a question rather than their parents, or maybe need somewhere they can go to outside the home which is a trusted and safe place. You can also help the parents by giving them breathing space by spending time with your godchild.
Introduce them to your hobbies and interests, helping them to also build life-long interests. You will have a different slant on life, and while many children take after their parents in their interests, you can add a new dimension to their life.
Building relationships is alll about time, spend time together, take them out for the day, or on holiday if that works. Investing time in your relationship will make it easier for you to play your role as a godparent, talk about your faith and theirs, or simply to be there when needed.