7 Tips For Encouraging Your Children To Pray The Rosary

 

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Forming good habits is always difficult. Forming good prayer habits can, at times, seem impossible, especially when you have small children.

Fitting prayer, quality family prayer, into the busyness of parenting can be a challenge but it is worth it! Here are some tips for encouraging children, from a young age, to pray:

Start Small – so maybe you eventually want to pray a family Rosary every day. Hold that up as the ideal and take baby steps forward. First, focus family prayer time on learning the individual prayers: The Glory Be, the Hail Mary and the Our Father, The Fatima Prayer and so on. As your children become more proficient start saying small decades slowly: One Our Father, Three Hail Marys and One Glory Be and the Fatima Prayer. Gradually increase this until you are reciting a decade or two.

Time your run – Ok, the Rosary should take around 15 minutes to recite well. When you begin to recite the Rosary as a family keep in mind that your children will recite their prayers a lot slower than you – this is great because it prevents you from rushing through it yourself – so maybe instead of five decades you’ll only manage one or two, with the trimmings at the start and end in 15 minutes. This is perfect so don’t berate yourself if you only get through two decades in this time. What you don’t want to do is drag the Rosary out to much longer than 15 minutes because we all know that small children have short attention spans. Your speed will increase as the children become more proficient and you want them to see that it is quality prayer time that is important. Rushing through prayers out of obligation is not what we want for our children.

Use visual aids – There are myriads of different visual prayer aids for the Rosary, from booklets to leaflets. Having an image of each decade front and centre in the children’s minds as they pray the Rosary is a great way to encourage meditation and contemplation. You might be able to extend these by posing questions like: “How do you think Mary would have felt when the Angel appeared and told her she was to be the Mother of God?” and some visual aids feature short prayers for the beginning of each decade which focus on the fruit of the mystery.

Kneel towards Mary – having a statue or image of Our Lady to kneel before when praying the Rosary is another help. You could also keep a candle nearby and light it before the Family Rosary begins and highlight the importance and gravity of the time spent in prayer and little kids will love blowing it out at the end.

Give the children a role – it might be a simple thing like getting out, or packing away the Rosary beads, or pointing to the correct visual image of the decade you’re reciting, and, when they’re older, leading a decade on their own, but this helps children to feel as though their contribution is important and that even in small ways they can communicate their love to God and Mary.

Be patient – I know we’d all love our kids to kneel well and pray attentively but the truth is family prayer time is often full of distractions and pauses as different children struggle to last the distance. It’s important not to rebuke them harshly during this time or to lose our temper. It is far better to invite them to participate by moving spots or giving them a role and admonishing them gently afterwards.

Model what you want them to do – Kids learn much more from our example than what we say, and if the two are conflicting then it makes them confused. Try not to show any apathy towards prayer – yes we all experience times when prayer seems hard or we lack motivation – but we need to show them our enthusiasm and our willingness to set aside time to pray the Rosary together. Even if they’re getting on your nerves and you’re only a third of the way through the first decade, try to model patience and focus on Mary and they’ll follow along eventually.

Praying the Rosary together as a family is so important. Father Peyton’s famous words are never out of date: “the family that prays together stays together.” So make the effort, even if it seems monumental, and your family will be blessed accordingly.

 

 

 

Filed Under: ChildrenFeaturedSpirituality

About the Author: I am a reformed perfectionist who is now a stay at home mum with five children under nine years of age. I am a qualified journalist and graphic designer with a decided creative streak, and run a hobby business called Emily Shaw Design + Write. I will attempt most craft activities and love to write about topical - and especially controversial - issues.

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