As a Catholic parent, you have a duty to lead your children in the ways of the Lord. This is a consent you make during your child’s baptism. However, that aside, as a Catholic parent, you may just be looking for a way to incorporate your kids into praying the rosary. Well, if you’re that person, read along for some of the best perspectives and tips on how to go about this.
Older kids may be a little better when it comes to reciting, but there is no guarantee that the swinging beads will not end up becoming airborne missiles that whack you in the face amidst your Hail Mary prayer. So how to pray the rosary for kids?
What You'll Learn Today
Can the Rosary Be Adapted to Kids
Before introducing kids to the rosary, you must know some foundational concepts, symbols, and truths about the rosary and kids.
First, you must understand that Our Lady is many things to the Catholic faith, but it is also true that she is a mother. Thus, she understands how to deal with kids and relate with minors at their level of understanding.
Therefore, it should never be a hassle trying to bring kids to understand the rosary. Our Lady is there, stretching out her hand to guide us. Instead of saying the entire rosary, you can also opt for the mini rosary so that everyone feels accommodated.
St. John Paul encourages us with the following words,
“It could be objected that the Rosary seems hardly suited to the taste of children and young people of today…But perhaps the objection is directed to an impoverished method of praying it. Furthermore, without prejudice to the Rosary’s basic structure, there is nothing to stop children and young people from praying it—either within the family or in groups— with appropriate symbolic and practical aids to understanding and appreciation.”
With this kind of encouragement, we can be bold and adopt any or all of the following approaches to praying the rosary with kids.
1. Put Aside the Rosary beads or Get A Kid-Friendly Version
When kids are too young, they may not understand what praying the rosary is all about. In this case, they may mistake the beads for playing items. It is not uncommon to see children whipping the rosary beads around. If this is the case with your children, don’t use the beads during the rosary, just recite the prayers.
When they get to an age where they can understand a few things including the ability to follow direction, you can get them a kid-friendly rosary that is durable enough to withstand abuse. Examples include the cord rosary some of which are handmade with colored knotted cords.
2. Begin with a Decade
A decade of rosary contains 12 prayers recited with 10 beads. It takes about 5 minutes to say the decade. Remember each decade is related to an event in the life of the Virgin Mary or Jesus Christ. The decades are also called mysteries and ensure you spend time to meditate on a different mystery each time.
For instance, if you devote a session to the Joyful Mysteries, you’ll be meditating on the Annunciation to Mary, the Visitation of Mary, the Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple and the Finding of Our Lord in the Temple. The short spans will take care of the kid’s limited attention.
3. Make the Decade Shorter
Each decade comprises 10 Hail Mary prayers. Now, with kids, you may not make it through all the Hail Mary’s. the best way is to shorten the decade and recite only about three Hail Mary’s instead.
This will give your children an awesome introduction into the mysteries as well as the rhythm of the rosary.
4. Get Pictures to Help You Illustrate
Kids love pictures and hence be sure to tap into them to give the kids clarity into the mystery that you are meditating on. You can get pictures in a book or download them from online resources.
Looking at the pictures, one per bead, the children can understand and learn the prayers. You can also put together pictures all by yourself is that works for you.
5. Use Edible Rosaries
Anything from candy to marshmallows to raisins to cupcakes, the possibilities of edible rosaries are endless. Just ensure that your food choices are healthy for your children. Edible rosaries bring fun, good memories, cements the idea that praying the rosary is part of our daily lives much like food is.
After reciting each payer, the kids can eat the bead. This is more like a treat to them and fuels them along.
6. Introduce Music into the Rosary
One of the reasons why kids love cartoons though they may not be following the theme or storyline is the music. You can use that as well during the rosary. Aim for gentle meditative background music as a preface to each mystery. Ensure that it is not so much of a traditional song as this may turn off the kids. Choose music that blends in some contemporary vibes.
How to Hold A Rosary While Praying?
Holding the rosary right while praying is super important and the earlier you teach your kids, the better it will be for their devotion now and later in life. With your fingers bent and kept close together, make a sign of the crucifix, and proceed to say the Apostles Creed.
As you pray the Apostles Creed, hold the cross in your hands and reflect on the image of crucifixion to help you meditate. With the crucifix in an upright position, let the beads drape to the left of the cross with the rest falling off in a circle right below your fingers.
In readiness to say the first prayer of the rosary – the Lord’s Prayer, hold the first rosary bead against the index finger. Once done with reciting Our Father, use your thumb to push the bead upward right over your finger. Do the same for the next three beads as you recite Hail Mary.
When you come to the end, hold the pendant while reciting Hail Holy Queen. The pendant or chain links all the beads.