Sunday, October 5, 2014

If I Can Get My Children to Pray the Rosary, You Can Get Yours to Do The Same

While some folks might be blessed with quiet, reverent children who make praying the rosary a pleasant, edifying family experience, there are others who are gifted with more - shall we say active - children.  

I happen to be one of the latter.

Of course, my children can and do pray daily.  They just tend to prefer quicker, less repetitive prayers than the rosary.  So, admittedly, I often do, too.  For, at times, making it through the rosary with my children can turn into anything but a reverent experience.

Still I persist in trying to do so. And, sometimes, through grace (and a few strategies!), we succeed.

What sort of strategies?

1.  Welcome peer pressure.

I know.  That sounds awful.  But, it is truly a strategy that I have found works for my children and I on occasion.

For example, last year, I was so excited after my children actually made it through a group cupcake rosary.

Likewise, though our last attempt in joining in with our local Children's Rosary Prayer Movement group was less than positive for two out of three of my children, our prior participation has left me smiling, and I am psyching myself up for another attempt soon.

And, bless my dear friend Annemarie from You Leave Me Breadless.  Her family has provided positive peer pressure for my children and I more than once, helping us pray entire rosaries at both a Candlemas gathering and a celebration of the Devotion of the Holy Ghost.

Yes, without question, a little peer pressure seems to go a long way with our family's rosary attempts.  (And, I am so looking forward to an upcoming Our Lady of the Rosary celebration with our local homeschooling group for some more of this pressure!)

2.  Get help online.

We are a screen-limited family that has no television/cable/satellite services, no hand held computer devices and only one laptop computer to share.  

While these choices have their challenges, they also have their perks: When my children are allowed to use our computer to watch videos, they tend to glue themselves to whatever is on the screen.

I have put this phenomena to work for me.

For the past two nights, while Luke and Nina have had "bigger kid" time, Jack has joined me for online rosary prayer time.  The first night, we joined folks around the world in praying with Come, Pray the Rosary.  On the second night, Jack chose this random video:


For our next evening rosary, I plan to let him pick another video, probably from the Pray the Rosary Everyday youtube videos unless someone makes another great suggestion as a comment to this post.  For, it seems that changing up the videos keeps my youngest interested.  He not only prays along, but he also asks questions and makes comments about the images.  

As a side note: while I relish Jack and my cuddle-with-a-rosary-video-and-pray time, I am hoping his older siblings start crashing this Mom-Jack time.  In fact, I am planning to eventually lure all three of my children to sit quietly with me at the same time to pray with online tools!  Wish me luck!

3.  Accept brevity.

In case luck does not come through though... I am praying the angels do!

I once had someone tell me that the angels finish every rosary we begin to pray but fail to finish.  I do not know that this is true, but is sure is a comforting thought.  Plus, I figure that praying some of the rosary is better than praying none of it when it comes to building a rosary prayer habit.  Therefore, sometimes, I go with the "less is more" philosophy.  Or, rather, the "less is doable" one. 

Some days, I simply guide the children through praying a single decade of the rosary - usually in the car, around a mealtime or at bedtime.

4.  Keep those little hands busy!

My children seem to enjoy collecting rosary beads more than to using them as intended.  In fact, sometimes rosary beads in the hands of my children become anything but a prayer tool.

(Note:  Following, there are affiliate links for your convenience to the Holy Heroes and Amazon websites.  If you click through them to purchase anything we may receive small compensation at no extra cost to you.  Thank you.)
Image Credit:  Holy Heroes

To help, sometimes I find praying the rosary works best in our home when the beads are set aside and hands are kept busy with other things, such as drawing or coloring.  That's when the Holy Heroes Life of Jesus coloring books (which are currently on sale!) come in handy, as well as a myriad of coloring pages that I have found online -- many of which are linked to my Rosary Pinterest board.

5.  Break out the Audio CD's.

Luke, in particular, loves audio books and dramas.  So, sometimes, I am able to happily involve him in praying (or, at least, listening) to the rosary through using quality CD's, complete with children's voices, music, sound effects and stories.  

Once Luke is involved, all the children become involved since Jack likes to do whatever Luke does and Nina tends to be my most prayerful child to begin with.

The audios we have had the most success with are:

Image Credit: Holy Heroes

Image Credit: Holy Heroes

Image Credit: Holy Heroes
Image Credit: Holy Heroes
 Holy Heroes: Glorious Mysteries

Using these tools and strategies, the children and I have found some success in praying the rosary despite busyness, distractions, wiggles and more.  My hope is that through persistence in using a continued array of strategies, the children, my husband and I will one day experience those idyllic family rosary times I imagine others call reality.

Until then, I give thanks for every part of a decade we make it through and pray that our Lord continues to bless my efforts to make the rich prayer tradition of the rosary a family habit.

What hurdles do you face in praying the rosary with your children?  What strategies have you found helpful?

If you leave a link to a faith formation idea or a reflection relevant to raising young children in the faith in a comment here or on our Training Happy Hearts Facebook page, I will pin it on the Training Happy Hearts: A Call to Faith Formation in Young Children Pinterest board

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