Praying the Rosary with children can seem a bit intimidating. People sometimes assume that it’s just too hard for children. On the contrary, it’s a basic prayer which children will learn remarkably fast. All they really need is to be around you praying it. Praying the Rosary changed my life so I can’t think of a better topic for my first post on Catholic Mothers Online. (*This post contains and affiliate link.)
The most important thing about praying with children is that you are open and inviting. Even though I was raised Catholic, it was unfortunate that we never really prayed at home as a family. I guess for my parents prayer was a personal thing. Therefore praying openly with others, even my spouse when we first got married, was something I had to work on.
If you don’t already, I encourage you to invite your children to pray with you. Most children will happily follow your lead but sometimes with teens, special needs or a strong willed child there can be a reluctance to pray. In that case, keep it positive, require respect, and pray for your child’s heart to become more open.
Pray the Rosary with your spouse or an older child in front of your younger kids. When they see you doing it they will likely follow. Allow them to join in if they are interested. Allow them to “drop off” when they are tired.
Make the amount of time you’re praying with your smallest kids appropriate for them developmentally. I never understood why as parents we would ever need to drill our children on their basic prayers- like it’s something they should know for a test. If we simply pray every day often with them, over time children will naturally learn their prayers. It doesn’t need to be something they get quizzed on, rather it should be something they are exposed to and a natural part of their life. Example is the best way to pray with your children.
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Mary is so wise to provide us with such a simple and repetitive prayer. When prayed regularly there is no need to “teach” the basic prayers. Children will pick the prayers up over time. What you will want to teach are the Mysteries of the Rosary. In doing so you are guiding your children through the lives of Jesus and Mary in the Gospel. Provide pictures of the mysteries if possible. A good age to start working on familiarization with the mysteries is once they know how to say the Rosary. Then they can go from recitation into meditation in the middle and high school years and into their adulthood.
Make the amount of time your praying with your smallest children appropriate and give them tools for relating to the prayer on their own level. There are numerous coloring book and pages available. Provide them with large rosary beads so it’s easy for them to handle. In the beginning they’ll just be holding their Rosary just to hold it. Later, slowly over time you can explain “this is for a Hail Mary” and so on. Light a candle or play music. Whatever sets the atmosphere is important for bringing the Rosary into your daily life.
You may feel like there is no time for the Rosary because it takes too long. It actually takes only about 15 min. which is about the average attention span. But if it seems too difficult then break it down.You don’t have to say the whole 5 decades. Sometimes the idea of saying an entire Rosary at first is a bit hard. The key to praying the Rosary is incorporating it into your life. St. Paul tell us to “pray unceasing”. ( 1 Thessalonians 5: 17)
Here are some practical ideas for bringing the Rosary into your daily life:
- Pray while on a nature hike together. Thank God for nature.
- Go to Eucharistic Adoration and pray the Rosary; you don’t need to stay the whole holy hour with children. Even a ten minute visit is so beneficial.
- Make rosary crafts and projects.
- Pray the rosary while working. My favorite is during supper clean up time. We all pray while we clean up and there is no talking. This helps facilitate us all working together. It helps me and is about the exact amount of time to say 5 decades.
- Pray in car while going to sports and other activities. This is a great way for a busy family to pray together.
- Pray just a decade with your kids before bedtime and focus on a different mystery each night.
- Use good CD ‘s and DVD ‘s. There are so many out there.
- Draw and pray. If your kids are artistic have them draw the mystery as you are praying together. Create a rosary journal.
These are only a few ideas for praying the Rosary with kids. You can be very creative and fun with kids so the possibilities are endless.
Stephanie can be found writing at Harrington Harmonies.
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Amber V says
Great post! I love the idea of openly praying the rosary with my kids. I think I’m going to try the nature hike idea. Saying the rosary while walking among God’s creation…and the serenity of the woods…the peace..beauty.
Stephanie @ Harrington Harmonies says
I agree! Prayer walks are very peaceful.
amber v says
If you don’t mind my asking & I may be missing the link on my iPhone….what crafts are you doing with the rosary?
Stephanie @ Harrington Harmonies says
One of my favorite rosary crafts is making edible rosaries! You can also make rosaries from many type of strings and beads. And rosaries are also easy to make from heavy cord.
We usually turn off all the lights and only have the candle burning, or the computer screen if we are doing an online rosary. It really keeps the kids calmer and they really enjoy that time more and sit very quietly.
In fact, a local Catholic church is starting a “Holy Family Hour” for families. We and another family were the only two that were at the first meeting, but I did ask the priest if we could turn out the lights next time. The other family had littler kids, and the 2 1/2 year old was quite…”busy”. I have a disabled 5 year old that plays off surrounding excitement, so he was the worst he has ever been–for rosary or church at all, which made the 2 1/2 year old behave even wilder! LOL! Maybe the darkness will calm them both next time! LOL!
The children love to “sing” our rosary (simple chant style) even as the toddler runs around us, imitating us every now and then and joining us when he hears the concluding prayers. We decided it was easier than simply “speaking” the rosary, and it keeps everyone more engaged. You can make a rosary book (based on St Louis de Montfort’s book, “True Devotion to Mary”) to help the children follow along and learn the mysteries as you go. Click on “Soul Food” in the menu bar at http://www.marisstellafarm.org and scroll towards the bottom.
Thanks so much for your valuable suggestions. I was looking for interesting ways of saying the Rosary with my kids.