Following her article on helping children learn from home, Teresa de la Campa provides parents with some guidelines on how to help your children pray from home in these unusual circumstances.
Not only do we as mothers need to help our children continue their education from home, we must also remember to help them grow spiritually.
Parent and child
If you try to be a loving parent, it’s more likely that your children will understand God as a father who loves and cares for us. If we act as God’s children, revealing ourselves as we are to others and to our children as well, asking for forgiveness when it’s needed, then they’ll realise that our faith is a living one. They will understand that we love and trust someone who knows better, and that our love and trust is based on the truth of God’s infinitely tender love.
It is essential that children actually see that, for their parents, prayer is something truly important. Hence moments of family prayer and acts of devotion can be more powerful for evangelisation than any catechism class or sermon (Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), Pope Francis, 2016 No 288)
Ideas for praying with our children
- Have a short familiar “wake up” prayer or morning offering to welcome the new day (even better if it rhymes).
- Start the day with prayer and Gospel reading after breakfast. This could also be an opportunity to gather together as a family not only to pray and read the Bible but also to talk over our plans for the coming day and to find answer to important questions as “What are we having for lunch/supper?”
- At 12 o’clock stop to stand and pray the Angelus to our Lady and encourage the children to join you. Encourage them by telling them and reminding yourself that it is a prayer we know she loves.
- Encourage the children to say the Our Father while they are washing their hands.
- Say grace before and after meals. Remind the children and yourself that God really appreciates our gratitude and we really shouldn’t worry about what we have to eat or drink. He provides all our needs.
- Invite the children to say the holy rosary but don’t insist on it. Maybe they could say just one Hail Mary or a decade of the rosary, depending on their age.
- Take 15 minutes to pray with the children remembering the words of Patrick Peyton: “The family that prays together stays together.”
- Read together before bed time. Remember that their favourite voice is yours.
It has been proven that the auditory cortex is more adaptive to womb-like maternal sounds than to environmental noise. A study has been conducted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) that theorises that exposure to maternal sounds may provide newborns with the auditory fitness necessary to shape the brain for hearing and language development. Therefore a mother’s voice and heartbeat elicit auditory plasticity in the human brain even before full gestation.
So don’t forget. When the children appear to be not listening … again. They really are. They are taking it all in so take heart. You are doing a great job and God sees all your good efforts.