When I was younger, I specifically remember my grandfather tying my loose tooth with string and attaching it to a doorknob. “Now we just need to slam the door,” he said.
And he probably say it in my eyes because he forced everyone to stay away from the door and gave me complete control over the door, that string, and my pesky loose tooth. And… I chickened out! The tooth fell out eventually and there wasn’t much fanfare when it did. And I didn’t become traumatized by the sound of slamming doors.
I feel like sometimes people are forced into doing certain things in our Catholic faith that they may not want to do that could turn them away from the faith. If my grandfather hadn’t given me control over that tooth, and had instead slammed the door himself without giving me that control, I would have lost some trust in him.
It’s the same thing with our faith. If we force our children to do things in the faith that they don’t understand- that they don’t have an ounce of passion, interest, or excitement over- how can we expect them to continue to grow in the faith and love it the way we do?
Now, it’s not brainwashing. It’s gently encouraging them. Teaching them. Guiding them. Showing them the way. The way to the cross and the direct path to Jesus’ open arms- through prayer, devotion, and the Sacraments. Here are:
5 Tips to Encourage Your Children to Love Saying the Rosary
1. Show Them Examples
What better way to show them what loving the devotion to the rosary than actually showing them yourself? Don’t say the rosary during their nap time or after they’ve gone to bed, make sure they see you praying the rosary. Say it out loud. State your intentions. Go through the motions and, as you do, pray that your actions will show your children the beauty of this devotion.
Other great examples would be the saints. You can tell your children about Our Lady of the Rosary, Pope Leo XIII, and St. Dominic.
Here is an interesting read on Pope Leo XIII’s devotion to the rosary: Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary
2. Teach Them What It Means
When we pray the rosary, we are contemplating Jesus’ life and death and, ultimately, the great mysteries of our salvation. I would also recommend spending some time reading the Bible verses associated to the mysteries presented in that day’s rosary to your children. For example, on Monday, you would pray the Joyful Mysteries and read each Bible verse before saying that decade (or the day before so it’s fresh in their minds). If you read the stories earlier than before you start the decade, take a minute before each decade to remind your children what that Bible story is about.
1. The Annunciation (Humility) Luke 1:26-38; John 1:14
2. The Visitation (Charity/Love of Neighbor) Luke 1:39-56
3. The Nativity (Poverty) Luke 2:6-20; Matthew 1:18-25
4. The Presentation (Obedience) Luke 2:22-39
5. The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple (Joy in finding Jesus; prudence) Luke 2:41-51
Here is a printable copy of the scripture for each mystery: CLICK HERE.
3. Make It Special
Your kids get excited when you go out for ice cream as a family, go to the movies, or go to the zoo. Why not make praying and devotions as special as these events? Here are a couple tips to get you prepared to make saying the rosary special!
1 Buy them their very own, special children’s rosary. Although my family owns several rosaries, my children tend to be most excited about the rosaries with big beads (perfect for your small child’s hands) and my oldest daughter loves the one with pink, pretty beads. Sometimes the rosary that they’re holding makes the prayer special to them too, especially if it’s something that belongs specifically to them.
If you’re super crafty, you could also spend an afternoon with them creating a rosary too. Here is a link to make your own beaded rosary craft.
2. Prep your children in advance. Let them know that you’re going to say a special prayer together and tell them what it means to you. Tell them how it makes you fell, how it makes Mary and God feel when you say it, how it helps you during the rest of the day.
3. Make it a special part of your day, whenever you do decide to do it. If you decide to do it once per week, say something like, “Do you know what today is? It’s rosary day! I’m so excited!” And act excited. Your kids will feed off of your energy!
4. Work on saying the prayers throughout the week, if they don’t already know the prayers. It will be a lot easier for your children to sit through the rosary is they already know how to say some of the prayers and can participate. Tell them you’re practicing for the rosary. As you help them brush their teeth, say a Hail Mary. Say the Glory Be after bedtime prayers or when they’re washing hands (instead of timing hand washing with the “Happy Birthday” song). Be creative when you say the prayers and be consistent. You’ll be surprised at how fast they start to pick up the words!
4. Make It Fun
I have a child who loves saying the rosary and asks to say it often and another child who is too young to sit still for longer than half a decade. With that child, I try to make the rosary and activity. Sometimes it’s really great and she’s focused and quiet and can participate along with us (mostly) with her activity, And sometimes she just needs to do her own thing while the older one and I pray.
Only you know your child and how to coerce them into something. I think the rosary is a gift and I don’t want to force my child to do it. However, at a certain age, if she chooses not to participate then she could lose a privilege during the day. It’s her choice, see? While my 3-year-old is a bit young and restless for that, older children can make those choices on their own and live with the consequences.
Let’s go back to making it fun now, shall we? 🙂 Here are some rosary crafts that I adore that can help your children and restless ones make it through the rosary all in one piece.
Rosary Boxes with ideas for tangible items your child can touch and hold during each mystery
I hope you love these craft ideas- they certainly help me! Lastly, if you find that saying the entire rosary is just too much for them to start off with, start by doing just a decade or the chaplet and increase decades until you can say the whole rosary together.
5. Do It Again
Saying the rosary shouldn’t be a one-time event and as pooped out as you might feel after leading up to such an activity, know that you are doing so much goodness for your family by instilling a love of prayer and devotion in your children! So, try it again! Whether you plan to say the rosary daily or weekly, make sure you put it on the calendar or set a reminder on your phone. Make it and event that your family knows about and that you plan for so everyone mutually understands how important the rosary is to your family.
You can totally do this. I know this is a beefy post with lots of information, but the bottom line is that when you teach your child to pray you are making Jesus so, so happy. I imagine him just beaming down on you with joy in his eyes. God bless you and, if you need further tips and encouragement, please consider joining our Facebook group for Catholic moms.
This post is sponsored by RosaryCard.net