• "Everything is a grace, everything is the direct effect of our Father's love—difficulties, contradictions, humiliations, all the soul's miseries, her burdens, her needs - everything, because through them, she learns humility, realizes her weakness - Everything is a grace because everything is God's gift. Whatever be the character of life or its unexpected events—to the heart that loves, all is well."
  • - St. Therese of Lisieux

Saturday, June 4, 2016

How to Pray With Your Toddler

If you have a toddler like us, you may have tried or started praying with him. While some children are already verbal when they turn two, some may have a limited expressive vocabulary and may still use single words to express needs and wants. Nonetheless, you can still start including prayer in your toddler’s daily routine. Here’s how my husband and I do it.

1. Make prayer a regular occurrence. Praying before meals is a good start. When we pray before mealtime, we keep the plate, cutlery and sippy cup away from our son so as not to distract him. We also pray in the car, as we leave; asking God to protect us in our journey, even if it’s just a short one, like a trip to the grocery.

2. Teach the Sign of The Cross. Why do Catholics make the sign of the cross? To remind us first, that there are three persons in one God.  Second, of our worth. That Jesus gave up his life for us. And third, the meaning and purpose of our life. Our children may be too young to fully understand this, but it is always good to teach them to do it the proper way. You may hold his hand and guide him, but allow him to do it on his own too. Toddlers love to copy, so show him how it’s done.

3.  Say nightly prayers regularly.  Our night prayer time is also cuddle time. It is part of our wind down routine after reading a few books. Ask your toddler to thank God for something. It can be anything. God gave us everything we have. Model it for him. You might say, “I’d like to thank God for the sunshine today. Thank you dear God for the warm sunshine today.” During our nightly prayers, we recall the events of the day and thank God for that. Then we go on by praying, “Please bless…” Then he mentions the names of the people he can say. Then I finish the prayer by saying “And please guard us while we sleep tonight. Amen.” Then we sing the Lord's Prayer. I don't think my son is ready to learn The Lord's prayer but if you have an older toddler and is highly verbal, you might want to include this prayer in his night prayers. In Lieu of Preschool has helpful tips on Teaching The Lord's Prayer to Littles

4. Say morning prayers too. Our son wakes up earlier than us but lays quietly until I take him from his bed. As soon as I take him to our bed, he folds his hands to pray. And I lead the prayer by saying “Good morning Jesus! Thank you for waking us up this morning and giving us a restful sleep. We offer this day to you and Mama Mary. May we do all things in love. Amen.” Then we all hop out of bed.

5. Say a short thank you prayer when a prayer petition has been answered. I let my son hear me say “Thank you, Jesus!” Like when we are searching for a parking space. We say a short prayer asking Jesus to first give us patience and then a parking slot. As soon as we find one, my husband and I both say “Thank you, Jesus for giving us this parking space.” We try our very best to model gratefulness and show our son that God answers prayers.

We pray the rosary too, in the car on long journeys. But our toddler’s participation is only at the beginning when we make the sign of the cross. But if your kids are a little older than ours, you might want to check out Diana's Blog, Easy Tips for Praying The Rosary With Children We constantly struggle to pray as a family but my husband and I do our very best to protect these prayer times.

How do you pray with your toddler?

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