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  #1  
Old Jul 13, '04, 9:06 am
mass4life mass4life is offline
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Question How do Catholic parents teach preschoolers the Faith?

Coming from a non-religious home, I have no model to follow and need some advice about teaching my 2-yr-old son prayers, Rosary, etc. My husband is not Catholic either, so I am going at this alone. I also have a 1-yr-old daughter who will also pick up any routine we might establish. Expecting child #3 in 4 months, so it will benefit him/her, too!!

At each meal, I do make him do the Sign of the Cross and we say the "Bless us, O Lord..." prayer. I do attempt to make him hold a Rosary while we pray one decade of the Rosary each morning. I know he is not old enough to say or understand the Rosary yet.

What else are other parents doing to teach the faith to the youngest ones?

Thanks and God Bless you all.

Heather
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  #2  
Old Jul 13, '04, 10:12 am
Fidelis Fidelis is offline
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Default Re: How do Catholic parents teach preschoolers the Faith?

Sounds like you are doing a great job already! The most important thing is for him to see you lead your own life of devotion. Too bad Dad is not involved (yet--we'll pray for him ), but you'll just have to pick up the slack.

At this age, do all you can to lead them to love and live the faith. Keep and use sacramentals and sacred images around the home. Age-appropriate Bible storybooks and lives of the saints are essential, and children love them. If your children watch videos, I'd recommend exposing them to the VeggieTales, which are retellings of Bible stories that kids just love. Don't hesitate to take them to Mass, even it it seems like a chore. Try to make religion as normal to them as anything else you teach them and make it as fun and pleasant as you can. Good luck and God bless your family.

Vince
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  #3  
Old Jul 13, '04, 10:43 am
carrieloon carrieloon is offline
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Default Re: How do Catholic parents teach preschoolers the Faith?

Sounds like you are doing great!

One thing my husband started with our children (which I am so glad he did, not sure that I would have started it as young as he did) was to say prayers before bedtime. Some of the most amazing conversations about God and angels and faith have come from those nighttime prayers. It seems that our daughter is really "open" at that quiet and dark moment to learning about God. She asks lots of questions and he or I answer them patiently until she is satisfied. We also try to kneel down together as a family while the girls are in bed and say our prayers together. I know your husband isn't ready to do this but keep at it and he may bend to the will of your child, if he won't to yours.

I think I will take your example and start doing some sort of Rosary prayer with D4 and D2. Thank you for the idea!

Carrie
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  #4  
Old Jul 13, '04, 11:01 am
Debbie Debbie is offline
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Default Re: How do Catholic parents teach preschoolers the Faith?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mass4life
Expecting child #3 in 4 months, so it will benefit him/her, too!!
Congratulations on #3, Heather!

My husband and I are both Catholic, but I still need help in this area. I have several books that I'm really starting to focus on...

The Catholic Parent Book of Feasts: Celebrating the Church Year With Your Family
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...01632?v=glance

The Book of Catholic Customs and Traditions
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...396025-2501632

Guiding Your Catholic Preschooler
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...glance&s=books

The Catholic Mother's Resource Guide, Queenship Publishing,
ISBN: 1-57918-137-6
A small booklet that runs about $3.50. You might find it at your local Catholic bookstore.

You may also want to take your Rosary down to 3 Hail Marys if the little ones get too restless with 10.

We have perpetual adoration at our parish and whenever I have to stop by the Church office I always take her into adoration to say a prayer. We go right up to the front row, kneel and whisper our prayer and leave. She knows the monstrance as God.

We also have many statues in the main sanctuary, so sometimes after Mass (or we're there "on business") we walk around the Church and say the names of all the saints we have statues of.

She has a holy water font at her level in her room (it has to get taken away occasionally for "abuse"), with a laminated holy card of a guardian angel taped to the wall above the font. At night we kneel and say "Now I lay me..." and "Angel of God, my guardian dear..." with a God bless Daddy, Mommy, etc. at the end.

Every room, including hers, has at least a crucifix (except bathrooms). We even have a 2' statue of Our Lady of Grace on our family room mantle.

I've also started saying the Angelus before we say our lunch blessing. She doesn't participate yet, but she will eventually.

We're also teaching her to bless herself when we drive by our Church (but not by others, because Jesus doesn't actually LIVE there, but people go to pray there).

Find little things that YOU can remember, that touch you so you can prompt them to do them with you.

In Christ,

Debbie
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  #5  
Old Jul 14, '04, 7:42 am
kirabira kirabira is offline
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Default Re: How do Catholic parents teach preschoolers the Faith?

we also have prayers about 4 x 6 laminated with pictures. At mals my 3 yr old chooses which prayer OR he makes one up. I love his prayers -- he without fail will pipe up if daddy is praying at dinner to add --and thank you God for the TRAINS. (thomas the tank anyone???)

We also have religous art in the home. I have a wall sculpture of Mary with baby Jesus outside of the children's rooms. I got it because I can remember my grandmothers house having one very much like it!
Just like we have framed pictures of our earthly family we keep pictures of our heavenly family all around us. My kids can both pick our Mary and baby Jesus. So if you dont already have an icon in your home go get one =)
we also visit the church outside of mass-- so the children can explore without the crowds of people or me worrying they will be too loud.
---K
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  #6  
Old Jul 14, '04, 1:05 pm
ThyKingdomCome ThyKingdomCome is offline
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Default Re: How do Catholic parents teach preschoolers the Faith?

Be patient! You are doing fine. At 2, modeling prayer, reading bible stories is pretty good. I never taught my son grace specifically, but after him hearing it all his life, (he just turned 3), I recently heard him recite it (Bless us o Lord...) completely on his own. They'll pick that stuff up just like they pick up all your other habits

One thing I did last year with my son was use memory verses that went along with bible stories. I actually bought a program that did this, but you could easily do it on your own. I had one memory verse per month, and each month would have four bible stories that all illustrated this verse. I'd read one bible story every day for a week, and after each reading and discussion of the story, I'd either say the verse with him or ask him to repeat it. The goal was to have it memorized at the end of each weak. Because there is so much repitition, the verses actually stick with him. For the verses choose simple statements about our faith, such as Obey God, Tell the truth, Jesus is the son of God, etc.

Also, when your son is 3, if you want, you could do a formal catechesis with him at home. Image of God is a Catechesis series that has a 3 year preschool program called "Who am I" It is intended for 2 years of preschool then Kindergarten. I will be using it for my son in the fall, it looks great. You could order it from www.chcweb.com
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  #7  
Old Jul 14, '04, 1:36 pm
Catholic I am Catholic I am is offline
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Default Re: How do Catholic parents teach preschoolers the Faith?

I like the Baltimore Catechism. You can get it from the net here for free. My parents taught me with it and I think I turned out ok.
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  #8  
Old Jul 14, '04, 1:41 pm
space ghost space ghost is offline
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Default Re: How do Catholic parents teach preschoolers the Faith?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mass4life
Coming from a non-religious home, I have no model to follow and need some advice about teaching my 2-yr-old son prayers, Rosary, etc. My husband is not Catholic either, so I am going at this alone. I also have a 1-yr-old daughter who will also pick up any routine we might establish. Expecting child #3 in 4 months, so it will benefit him/her, too!!

At each meal, I do make him do the Sign of the Cross and we say the "Bless us, O Lord..." prayer. I do attempt to make him hold a Rosary while we pray one decade of the Rosary each morning. I know he is not old enough to say or understand the Rosary yet.

What else are other parents doing to teach the faith to the youngest ones?

Thanks and God Bless you all.

Heather
You hang in there... with the love and support of God the Father, his son Jesus Christ and the strength of the Holy Ghost.... members of these forums, EWTN, a parish priest and a good practice of your faith, you will succeed...... get yourself a copy of the catecism of the catholic church and learn your way around it and you will do just fine..... don't be overwhelmed.... we support you....
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  #9  
Old Jul 14, '04, 1:54 pm
Seeking Wisdom Seeking Wisdom is offline
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Default Re: How do Catholic parents teach preschoolers the Faith?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mass4life
Coming from a non-religious home, I have no model to follow and need some advice about teaching my 2-yr-old son prayers, Rosary, etc. My husband is not Catholic either, so I am going at this alone. I also have a 1-yr-old daughter who will also pick up any routine we might establish. Expecting child #3 in 4 months, so it will benefit him/her, too!!

At each meal, I do make him do the Sign of the Cross and we say the "Bless us, O Lord..." prayer. I do attempt to make him hold a Rosary while we pray one decade of the Rosary each morning. I know he is not old enough to say or understand the Rosary yet.

What else are other parents doing to teach the faith to the youngest ones?

Thanks and God Bless you all.

Heather

Keep up the good work!

We've found that having all aspects of the Catholic faith as a normal part of our daily routine is crucial. Even when we started saying the rosary at night when our youngest was 2 and our oldest was 5, we noticed how much they loved it. They would be upset on those nights when we would skip the rosary. Oh, by the way, at the toddler age we'd allow them to be lying down in bed as the rest of us prayed the rosary just to include them thinking that they would fall asleep. They never did, and we would hear them trying to pray with us.
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  #10  
Old Jul 14, '04, 2:27 pm
darcee darcee is offline
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Default Re: How do Catholic parents teach preschoolers the Faith?

Sounds great. Living your faith is the most important thing.

-D
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  #11  
Old Jul 14, '04, 3:26 pm
Didi Didi is offline
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Default Re: How do Catholic parents teach preschoolers the Faith?

You're doing great and have received some wonderful suggestions! I, too, grew up without a lot of Catholic traditions (my mom is a convert and Dad wasn't home a lot). So, I have learned a lot by reading, talking with other parents, and just seeing their examples.

Here are a few other easy things to implement:

- Make the sign of the cross any time you pass by a Catholic Church. Might want to say a quick prayer with your children like "Hello my Sweet Jesus" or "We adore you, Oh Christ, and we praise you...."

- We, too, find that nightime prayers are a great way to look back on our day, to pray for friends and family, and often when we are done, have great conversations with our kids.

- When you leave your children or they go off to a babysitters or friends, make the sign of the cross on their foreheads and say a blessing like "God bless you and keep you safe. Mother Mary pray for you. Guardian angel be at your side." I have continued this practice with my children and bless them every morning before they leave for school.

- Seasonal devotions are great. Find a short prayer or write one yourselves for Lent, Easter, Advent. etc. This year we had a Lent Wreath using an old grapevine wreath I have and the Lenten reflection book we got at church. The kids and I drew or cut out pictures to represent each day's message, then each evening when we did devotions, we placed the picture or drawing on the wreath and at the end of Lent we had a beautiful Easter wreath! My teenage daughter even braided a crown of thorns from paper clips for the wreath!

In Lents past we read a devotion in the morning that challenged us to do something during the day -- a prayer, an action (helping someone without being asked, etc.) then at night reflected on our day and put a penny in the jar for each time we remembered to do the action. Then we donated the money to Operation Rice Bowl at the end of Lent.

- Along with Veggie Tales, great videos of the saints are done by Creative Communication Center: www.cccofamerica.com

And, as others have echoed, your example will teach them much! There's no greater treasure we can give our children than to teach them the beauty of our faith!
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  #12  
Old Jul 15, '04, 9:16 am
Magnolia Magnolia is offline
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Default Re: How do Catholic parents teach preschoolers the Faith?

Yeah for you! Saying grace before meals, bedtime prayers and when they get a little older there are videos like Veggie Tales and ones that teach them about the saints.
As for your husband - keep saying your prayers and teaching your children and living your faith. My husband was not Catholic but we were married in the Church and he agreed to raise the children Catholic and attended Mass. It was when our girls were in elementary school and we were studying the Bible and the Church he would sometimes join us and sometimes just hear us at the kitchen table that he came to understand that if Jesus started the Catholic Church that he needed to be a part of it. I never once asked him to join or tried to convince him but when he heard the truth about the faith he went to the RCIA classes and was received into the Church. One of the things he said was that he saw what peace my faith brought in my life.
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  #13  
Old Jul 15, '04, 9:42 am
ChrisR246 ChrisR246 is offline
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Default Re: How do Catholic parents teach preschoolers the Faith?

Sounds l;ike you are off to a great start.

We have a 3.5 yo. We say prayers before every meal. We allowed him to make it up at about 2 (Thank you God for this food to eat. Amen), since he had a hard time with the standard grace before meals. He leads us at each meal. Sometimes he goes through it pretty fast, but we try to make him slow down and we explain why it's important to be thankful. We have similar issues at bedtime, sometimes, too.

We say bedtime prayers and ask him to thank God for something each night.

We also have a daily bible stories book that we read each evening at bedtime.

My wife takes him with her to Adoration. Sometimes he is very good and sometimes he isn't .

He knows the Hail Mary, Our Father and Glory Be and will say the Rosary, but gets upset when we change from the Hail Mary to the others - he tries to insist that we say the Hail Mary, only.

When we hear a siren we also say a quick prayer of the victims and the rescue workers.
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  #14  
Old Apr 9, '07, 8:50 am
AnnaTherese AnnaTherese is offline
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Default Re: How do Catholic parents teach preschoolers the Faith?

I would just say be genuinely joyful about your faith and provide as much of a hands-on experience of faith for them as you can, especially at the height of a feast, like now. Give them things to do with their hands and tell them things about the faith with a sense of wonder in your voice, like you are sharing a great secret.

Like for Christmas, you can make figures and things for your own Nativity scene, involve them in the baking and so on, sit down and read a passage from the Children's Bible and talk about in preschooler terms what it means. My daughter is 3 and we actually bought a few years ago the Fontanini 3-d scene of Mount Calvary and the Empty tomb with a stone that can be rolled away and some figures to go with it, so we can have a formal celebration for each of the moments of Lent and Easter, especially of Holy Week, just like people do with Nativity scenes at Christmas. Make the faith tangible. The Fontanini figures are great for the littlest ones because they are beautiful and realistic (which is so important at this age)---and they are also unbreakable.

Get lots of good picture books from the library and your Catholic bookstore and share them with your child. There is so much you can do, but stick to the most essential things with the littlest ones. For them, the most central message is the celebration. That means Christmas and Easter should be the most central moments of their lives at this age, where the deepest memories are made. Everything else that you want to pass on is good and very important, but secondary, and it will be more meaningful to them if you wait for the proper time, when the fruit is ripe for picking.
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  #15  
Old Apr 9, '07, 9:07 am
Jennifer123 Jennifer123 is offline
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Default Re: How do Catholic parents teach preschoolers the Faith?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kirabira View Post
we also have prayers about 4 x 6 laminated with pictures. At mals my 3 yr old chooses which prayer OR he makes one up. I love his prayers -- he without fail will pipe up if daddy is praying at dinner to add --and thank you God for the TRAINS. (thomas the tank anyone???)

---K

LOL - so funny. Have to share. We ask our kids to say 1-2 things they are thankful for that day, "Thank you Jesus for....Mommy and Daddy". Well, our Thomas-crazy 2 yo is always thankful for...Thomas....Gordon.....Henry....Jame s.... .
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