If one of your Lenten commitments this year is to pray more with your kids, or to pray more as a family, then I have a wonderful resource to share with you.
It has suggestions for incorporating different spiritual practices into your family prayer life, labeled by age-appropriateness. The three categories are ages 3+, ages 7+, and ages 13+.
3+ are practices that are appropriate for children between the ages of 3 and 6.
7+ are practices that are appropriate for children between ages 7 and 12.
13+ are practices that are appropriate for teenagers.
Many suggestions are appropriate for all three age groups, but it’s handy to to have a quick guide so you can tailor certain practices to certain ages. I also love that some practices are marked with an “E” for “easy” — meaning that they’re simple to implement without any prior preparation!
There are also short “talking points” included with many of the suggestions, such as “Why do Catholics Pray Before Sacred Images?” and “Why We Pray for the Dead.” These paragraphs provide brief, child-appropriate suggestions for many points of Catholic doctrine, which make them invaluable for the parent who struggles with how to distill deep theological concepts down to child-appropriate nuggets of wisdom, especially minutes before bedtime after a long, tiring day.
If you’re new to family prayer, and/or new to the Catholic faith, the book includes a compendium of common Catholic prayers, such as the Angelus, the Hail Mary, the Mysteries of the Rosary, and many others.
Also from Peanut Butter and Grace Media is The Little Flower, a parable about St. Thérèse of Liseux by Becky Arganbright. I bought two copies as Christmas presents, one for my 5-year-old daughter and one for my 3-year-old goddaughter, and the book was a BIG hit with both girls (in fact, my goddaughter’s older sisters, as well as my older daughter, were just as excited about the book as the recipients were!). The artwork is gorgeous, and the story is simple yet profound. It’s a lovely retelling of St. Thérèse of Liseux’s “little way.”
This book would make a terrific addition to any child’s Easter basket, or as a First Holy Communion/Confirmation present. It’d also be a wonderful gift for a baptism. You can view a PDF copy of the book on their website (scroll down to the red box at the bottom) if you’d like to see it before you buy, but as a satisfied customer I can highly recommend the hardcover version.
As an added bonus, St. Thérèse of Liseux’s parents are the newly-canonized St. Louis and Zelie Martin. St. Zelie is one of the patron saints of working mothers, as she worked as a lacemaker prior to and during her marriage. In addition to teaching your children about this wonderful saint, you can teach your children about her mother!