Teaching the rosary to a child, especially to a young child under 7 years of age, has a lot to do with timing and knowing your child. The same can be said for teaching your child anything!
Teaching is possibly the wrong word to use, because as with all things of Faith: Faith is caught and not taught. And as with all things, parents must model this first ….even if their child can’t engage in it at first and walks away! Eventually they will get there!
Our primary goal should always be to help our child fall in love with Jesus – and everything should be tailored to that. Don’t panic if they aren’t reciting the rosary by the age of 5! God knows where their little hearts are and what they can take on board. Small bites and making it as interactive as possible is, in my humble opinion, the way to go..
The rosary is a powerful spiritual weapon: any prayers left in the hands of Our Lady are the most precious gift to Jesus. Our Mother is certainly our greatest intercessor and best ally!
For very young children (3 years) prayer from the heart may work better for them until they are a little bit older. Prayer from the heart is something that we should all be doing: it is the bread and butter of any relationship. It is about sharing what is deep in our heart with our Creator. It is the language of love.
Once they understand why they are praying to God, and they know that faith is about having a relationship with Jesus, then bringing in the rosary might make better sense. Perhaps saying something like:
“Max, you know how we talk to Jesus at prayer time….well there is another way to talk to Jesus. We can talk to Jesus through His mum: Mother Mary. He especially loves to hear our prayers brought to Him through His mum. It’s just like handing on a message. Like when I give your message to dad/ mum..”
Here is a great short video from Ascension Presents with really practical ideas about praying the rosary with young children.
Pictures whilst praying the rosary..
So, for young children doing something with their hands will really help them to focus on praying.
It might be a nice idea to have pictures of each mystery of the rosary for your child/ children to hold. For example, your child who can manage to say 1 Hail Mary could hold the image of the first joyful mystery while facing the family and say:
“The Annunciation. This is when the angel of the Lord visits Mary. Suddenly a big light came into the room and Mary could see that it was a huge angel with light all around him… Haily Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you..” When the child has finished the Hail Mary, he or she can sit down while the adults/ or other children pray the next 9 Hail Mary’s.
This could then be followed by the remaining 4 Mysteries of the Rosary – should your child be up to it! Maybe one decade might be all they can manage… Like all things in life, we need to be able to walk first before we can run!
The Birth of Jesus
The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple
The Finding of Jesus in the Temple.
Perhaps your child could draw or paint their own pictures of the mysteries? These could then be laminated (child-proofed!) and they would then, perhaps be more invested in praying.
10 Roses make one decade…
During the recitation of one decade of the rosary, perhaps your young child could place one artificial rose on a long string of wool at the start of saying a Hail Mary..
These could then be gathered up at the end in readiness for the next decade. Or you could even use different coloured roses for each decade? Another idea would be to help your kids make the roses using paper? It’s more simple than you think! Check out this video here..
Explaining the story of the Rosary…
Children love stories! How would it be if every Mystery became part of Jesus’ story?
The Joyful Mysteries: The story about how Jesus came to be born and his childhood.
The Sorrowful Mysteries: The story of how Jesus died.
The Glorious Mysteries: The stories of what happened after Jesus died..
The Luminous Mysteries: The stories of what Jesus did while He was on the earth.
This beautiful video shows us a great way to make each Mystery into a story. Watch this great idea in action here..
And may God bless all your efforts as you help your child fall in love with the Lord!
Statue of Our Lady of Fatima alongside a famous photo of the 3 children of Fatima, to whom Our Lady appeared.
So fantastic that we can have this glimpse of them, back in time..
I did hear that the children are looking miserable because they were fed up of photographers taking photos of them. I would be the same!