“The Rosary is a powerful weapon to put the demons to flight and to keep oneself from sin…If you desire peace in your hearts, in your homes, and in your country, assemble each evening to recite the Rosary. Let not even one day pass without saying it, no matter how burdened you may be with many cares and labors.” – Pope Pius XI (b. 1857- d. 1939)
Teaching our children to pray the Rosary, and fostering within them a deep love for Our Lady, are two of the top priorities that my husband and I have for our family. Yet, it is often difficult to teach children the various prayers of the Rosary, and how to pray the Rosary. Today, I want to offer some simple and practical tips that have helped our children to learn the prayers and mysteries of the Rosary:
- Nightly Prayers: Every night before the children go to sleep, we pray the core prayers of the Rosary in order: Guardian Angel prayer, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, Oh My Jesus. We have prayed these prayers with them every night from when they were infants. My 6 and 4 year old can recite all of the prayers on their own with ease, and my 2 (almost 3) year old is able to recite them as well, though it’s not always decipherable for the untrained ear. Having memorized these prayers, all three of the children (2 year old included!) are able to lead a decade of the rosary with some slight assistance in counting beads.
- Rosary CD. I found a wonderful children’s CD about the Rosary. We live in the country, so we spend a lot of time driving, and the children enjoy listening to music or books on tape. We have grown to love the CD over the past couple years that we’ve had it. There is a song about loving the Rosary, followed by all the core prayers in song, followed by songs about each set of mysteries. The melodies are catchy, and the children love singing along to it!
- Rosary coloring books. Amazon carries some wonderful Rosary-themed coloring books. Also, the Seton Home Study includes a Rosary coloring book in the Kindergarten curriculum, and my daughter has been taking her time coloring the pages and learning the mysteries. She has really enjoyed doing it, and has been memorizing the mysteries. During our family Rosary, my husband was surprised and delighted to hear her announce each mystery without assistance!
- Rosaries in the home. We have plenty of Rosaries all over our home—in every room of the house! The children are very used to seeing and holding the Rosaries, and are therefore more comfortable with it when we sit down to pray together.
- Set an example: Invite, but do not force. Praying the Rosary around or in front of the children is an excellent way to show them its beauty. Children naturally want to mimic their parents; so if they see you praying quietly or out loud in the kitchen whilst doing dishes, they may be curious about what you’re up to. I have been sitting alone in prayer, and have had a child climb into my lap to join me. I have always let them stay as long as they wish, and include them in prayers if they desire. I think (though I’m not sure) that allowing them to make the choice has made them love it even more.
- Pray together as a family. We have prayed family Rosaries in the past, but only here and there and young children often lose interest. You might have had the same experiences, and I would encourage you to keep trying! Allow the children, if they’re able, to lead decades, or even one prayer here or there. As I mentioned before, my 6, 4 and 2 year olds, all lead decades since they know the prayers, and they love being involved. Their confidence grows as they get to take part in the family prayer. Our 9 month old sits and plays in the midst of the family as we all pray together. Not everyone is always happy to participate: tonight my 4 year old refused to lead a decade (when she lead three the night prior), and refused to pray at all; though she still sat in my lap while we prayed, and enjoyed listening to our prayers. It’s not always going to be perfect, but it’s worth the effort.
We plan to keep praying our family Rosary in 2019, and hope you will, too.