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Teaching Prayers to Young Children

We have four young children at home, and though we always and often pray together as a family, it sometimes turns into a three-ring circus.

For example, at bedtime we gather all four kiddos into one bedroom. We take turns each telling God what we’re thankful for and then each share who we would like to pray for. We end with a formal memorized prayer. In our larger-than-average-sized family it leads to quick distraction, bickering, and on and on. It can take us a long time to get through it all, but I feel strongly about teaching our kiddos both how to pray to God using one’s own words, and the beauty of words handed down to us through the ages.

So, I realized I needed something to bribe….or entice them with, something to help them want to participate to get to the end. I turned my search to pinterest, where I discovered the prayer cube, a promising discovery.

The next day, I set to work. I gathered my three preschoolers around the table and we came up with six prayers that they know or were working on. In our family, we decided upon the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, Memorare, Hail Holy Queen, and Apostles Creed. I cut down squares of construction paper, wrote the titles on each and let them decorate to their heart’s content. (Rookie mistake: Don’t let them choose which prayers they get to decorate, just pass them out.) Finally, I cut down an old 12-pack soda box, to form a cube and we attached the prayers.

I explained in my best Mommy voice the intention of using this prayer dice, and how we would take turns rolling it to see which prayer we would end with each night. But, and here’s the clincher, only boys and girls who sit on their bottoms and participate nicely get to roll.

Ours has been well-loved!

Well, as you may have imagined, that night was blissfully silent during family prayer time and as reverent as you get in a house with four kids under four. It continues to be something that we all look forward to at the end of the night, and they love to see how many nights in a row they roll the same thing or when we get to say a prayer we haven’t said in weeks. Another added benefit, is that you can’t really get into ruts with the prayer dice. Each one of my kids has a favorite prayer, and so when they get to choose a prayer to say, it’s always the same ones over and over again. But this way, it’s random.

In the future I plan on creating a second one with new prayers and rolling both so that we can say one together, and then Daddy and Mommy can teach a new prayer as well. There are so many fun ways to adapt this to fit your family, and your family’s needs.

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About Rachel M

Rachel is a stay-at-home mother to five beautiful children ages 4, 3, 2, 1, and her newest blessing, born in October. By the grace of God, she converted to Catholicism in 2004, and soon thereafter married her high school sweetheart. She strives every day to do the little things, as St. Thérèse did, and to live her life pleasing to Him.

June 6, 2012 - 6:44 am

Adrienne - Brilliant idea!!! This is great! Thank you, Rachel!
Adrienne recently posted..Why Catholics Don’t Read the BibleMy Profile

June 6, 2012 - 8:20 am

Martina - Love this idea! Thanks for sharing. :)

June 6, 2012 - 9:48 am

Claire - It was totally awesome. I like the idea you’ve shared. Thanks that you’ve shared.
Claire recently posted..Accommodation In ChamonixMy Profile

June 6, 2012 - 11:05 am

Jonathan F. Sullivan - Love this idea — thank you for sharing!
Jonathan F. Sullivan recently posted..5 Things Your Parish Web Site Should IncludeMy Profile

June 6, 2012 - 11:38 am

WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON EDITION | Big Pulpit - [...] Teaching Prayers to Young Children – Rachel M, Catholic Sistas [...]

June 6, 2012 - 8:39 pm

Jeanne - I love this idea!

June 7, 2012 - 4:42 am

Matt - A very nice idea. This will motivate the kids to know their prayer; in fact, they might end up very excited about it.
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June 7, 2012 - 10:35 am

Julia - After our round of night prayers, our kiddos receive “Daddy Slides” based on how well they behaved and said prayers with us. Since Daddy is already kneeling, he just leans forward a bit so that his back inclines like a slide. The kids climb on the bed and slide down Daddy.

June 7, 2012 - 1:33 pm

JulieF - Ohhh this is awesome!! My 3 kiddos (3,2, and 7months) will love this. We try and do a rosary at night where bring down a BVM statue and light some candles. Then, if you sat still and quiet you get to blow out the candles! I think we will add the prayer dice as a reward, too! How fun and we will get to learn some new prayers!!!!!

June 8, 2012 - 1:16 am

Christina - Oh, how I love this idea! I have a three year-old and a one year-old. Bookmarking this for the near future!

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