Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Getting Your Kids to Say the Rosary!

Padre Pio said "The rosary is the weapon for these times".  I believe this is true.  Not only do I want my children to grow up loving our Blessed Mother but I want them to be prepared to face the evils of this world.  And there are very real evils out there. 

Saint Paul reminds us in Ephesians that the real danger comes not from this world when he says: "Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power.  Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil.  For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens." (Eph 6:10-13)

 Therefore, I want my children to learn how they can put on their armor and I can do this by teaching them the rosary.  In order to do this, I needed to answer this one very important question "How can I get my child to say the rosary?".  Here are a few ideas that have worked for us:

1.) The Lacing Rosary

If you have children like my Pickle than you are probably trying to figure out how to teach the rosary while keeping your child's attention.  So I looked on the internet for some resources and found this super cute lacing rosary from Catholic Inspired (it's awesome!).  But who ever said I had to use it just for lacing?  Here are few different ways we have used this rosary.

We've used pom poms to count the "Hail Mary" beads!

We've also used paperclips as counters!  Check out the finished product.  Looks pretty good.
I've even put these rosary papers inside a sheet protector and let Pickle use dry erase markers to color in each bead as he says it.

2.) The Paper Bag Rosary Booklet

But we couldn't just stick to one type of rosary as it could get pretty boring after a while.  So the second rosary idea I saw on the net came from Catholic Icing's paper bag rosary booklets.  I simply adapted it to fit Pickle's preferences and style. 

After grabbing some brown paper bags and stapling them together, I found a few sheets of card stock (the only colors I had left were pink and off white) that I used for the mysteries insert.

For each mystery picture I printed out an extra copy of the Catholic Inspired's lacing rosary (the 4 in 1) and cut out the pictures and glued them to the card stock. 

I know my son, and I know he needs to do something to mark off each "Hail Mary" he says or he struggles to pay attention.  In addition, I notice if he isn't counting the beads he tends to think each decade is longer than they actually are and becomes discouraged.  I then placed a simple strip of boxes next to each picture to represent the 10 "Hail Mary" beads of each decade.  I covered the card stock with contact paper so we could use dry erase markers and reuse the page as often as we would like.  

I didn't make a box or marker for the "Our Father", "Glory Be" or the "Oh My Jesus" prayers but if I had a chance to do it over again, I certainly would because he wants to mark something for every prayer.  Our current compromise is that he underlines the mystery picture to signify the recitation of the "Our Father" but does not currently mark the "Glory be" or "Oh My Jesus" prayers in anyway.

I quickly printed out copies of the other prayers and glued into the booklet so as Pickle gets older he can refer to them at any time.

3.)  The "Jumping Rosary"

Some days Pickle is constantly moving so I needed a way he could get the sensory input he needed while still praying to our Blessed Lady.  So we made the "Jumping Rosary".  The "Jumping Rosary" can be executed a few different ways:
1.) Place large pieces of paper on the floor numbered 1-10 and have your child jump in order up to 10 marking each "Hail Mary" as it is being said.  Return to start and begin again for next decade.
2.)  Place large pictures representing each mystery of the rosary around your house/yard.  Put adequate space between each picture and have your child jump only when saying "Hail Mary", so that your child reaches the picture representation of the mystery by the 10th "Hail Mary".

4.)  Praying in Public

Nature Walks
Praying in public is a very easy way to incorporate movement while praying which helps to keep Pickle engaged for the entire rosary.  Pickle and I pray often while taking walks in our neighborhood or on nature trails with Little Bean in the stroller.  It's a nice way to get some fresh air and enjoy God's beautiful creation while praying to our Holy Mother.  

Shrines and Statues
Another thing Pickle really enjoys is to pray outside in front of statues of Mary.  We have a grotto at our church of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Pickle asks to go visit "Mary" there and we have said several family rosaries there after mass or confession on beautiful days.  We have also said rosaries in front of statues at local shrines as well.  My best tip when making trips to shrines with little ones is to be sure to pack enough food and drink for the trip.  As long as Pickle is well fed and not thirsty, he very much enjoys visiting shrines and praying in public.

What's the best part about praying the rosary in public?  It is possible to receive a plenary indulgence doing so.  So, "do not be afraid" my friends.  Just stay calm and pray the rosary! ;)
So what is the BEST way to get my child/children to pray the rosary?  My best advice would be to think about what your child/children enjoy or do best and use those strengths or interests to your advantage.  You can still teach your child the reverence of prayer, just without all the power struggles.  Work smarter, not harder.  At least that's what "they" say!
Do you have any interesting ideas or ways you pray the rosary with your children?  Please share your great ideas below.
Blessings to you and yours,

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