Praying with a Toddler/ Family Rosary not working!



I try to pray the Rosary with my nearly two-year old son each morning. My wife does not want to pray with us. My little boy has started saying “No likes prayer time!” and even, on one occasion “No likes Jesus!”.

I’m doing something wrong, clearly! Any suggestions on how to pray with little ones in a way that’s attractive to them?




He’s nearly two? They “no like” EVERYTHING at that age! Especially if they get a good reaction out of Mom or Dad by saying that. He sounds like a normal little kid to me. :smiley:

I can’t speak to your wife… is she Catholic? Does she have some problem with the Rosary, or with meditative prayer, or with just prayer itself? Some people aren’t comfortable with family prayer or with really structured prayer…


Maybe you should try some shorter prayers, sometimes it’s too much for me to pray the rosary, and I’m ten times older than your child :smiley:

We have small prayers that rhyme in my language, I’m sure you have them also in English. When I was a child, my Dad prayed with me the prayer to my guardian angel, and in the end there was something like “Please take care of…” and we would count all our family members, friends, neighbours in until I would fall asleep.
Maybe rosary praying is something you should start doing in the presence of your child, without forcing him to join.
If your wife refuses to pray with you, it will be harder for you, but if you persevere, who knows what good may come out of it :smiley:
God bless you and your family!


This will be quick have Adoration in a few. kids by age dd5, dd4, dd2, dd8mths

Every school morning we get up and pray Div Mercy Chaplet. This is a dog pile on mommy time I have the rosary to keep track they each have thier own too. I don’t force them to join me in vocal prayer but most do most of the time. My 2yr old just sits snuggles and pipes in everynow and then.

Find a kids rosary book and just say one decade a night with him snuggling on your lap. The less structure we have the better the girls take it. If your wife is like my DH ask if she will just sit with you while you pray.


The saying…

United we stand divided we fall

comes to mind.

We have 5 children. If I (aka Mom) don’t do it my husband has a harder time getting them to follow.

Think of momma duck and the ducklings.

Your problem is with your wife not your 2 year old.

You need a united front, especially before he turns 13!

Talk to your wife.Find out why she doesn’t want to pray.Explain to her how important she is to the family and how important prayer is for the family. Also that we have to lead by example.

She is the heart of the family.

Ask our Mother Mary for her prayers. God Bless.


We try to pray a single decade each day with a little story about the theme of the decade before hand. Older kids might like to actually read the story from scriptures if they can.
Teaching and praying rolled into one and just short enough for a toddler’s attention span.


Start small and work up - if the toddler can sit still for one Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be, consider it a victory. Build from there.

There are some neat Rosary/prayer DVDs out there for young kids.

Remember, toddlers love to MOVE - how about praying as you take a walk outside? SOTC is great for kids too, very physical.

You might also try it when driving - captive audience :slight_smile:


Be sure to ask Jesus in your prayers at night that your Son be receptive to him and to prayers.

I was quite disturbed when my 2 year old god daughter picked up the children’s bible I gave her, threw it across the room and refused to read it. So I told Jesus how upset I was about that and prayed that she would start reading it.

Lo and behold, my agnostic/borderline atheist sister comes for a visit and out of the blue my god daughter picks up this bible and starts reading it to her. (She wasn’t actually reading it–she was looking at the pictures and describing the pictures to my sister.)


He’s only two! Don’t worry! :smiley: What worked best in my family was having anyone under 4 just hold a rosary and chirp in sometimes, but not worring if they got distracted or walked around a bit.


It’s enough for him to see you do it. Really, it is.

but, I had a fun idea. What if you and he made a rosary on the table about of paper dots. But, every tenth one is a M&M. He says,“Hail Mary…” and you give him the M&M. Then, it’s fun to pray with Daddy.

Just don’t buy one of those big rosaries with the giant wooden beads. My son misunderstood the phrase, “The Rosary is a weapon.” :smiley:


Shorter prayers

Get wife to join in



Group hug


I am thrilled that my two year old is interested enough to try to make the sign of the cross! You should have seen him with the holy water font at church a couple of weeks ago ~ he would reach up and dip his hand in the font and then splash his forehead and walk away (rather, do that little toddler stomp away), then come back and do it again and again… boy that just tickles me! He just about bathed in holy water that morning!

I say prayers with him at night before bed as part of his story time. I stick to the Lord’s prayer, the Hail Mary, the Glory be, the Guardian angel prayer, and the night time prayer “now I lay me down to sleep…” Sometimes he can stand all of them, sometimes only the Lord’s prayer. And I don’t force him to really pay attention, I let him play around on the bed and such. I just want him to hear the prayers for now, and be happy while hearing them. I do help him make the sign of the cross before and after we pray, and I tell him “Good job!” when we finish prayers and then start a story.

Mine isn’t talking yet though. I’d be happy that my toddler could even say the name Jesus! That all by itself is a prayer! Pray in front of him, let him see you walk the walk and talk the talk, and everything will fall into place in the future (I think, I hope!). I think if you could somehow make prayer time a time for your child to feel peace and to feel loved, it doesn’t matter what form the prayer takes. They’ll always love prayer if they equate prayer with feeling peace and being loved.

Get a bottle of holy water, let him play with it! Play is learning, so try to make prayer time a sort of play time right now, you’ll get his attention a whole lot easier this way. Does he have his own rosary beads? Big colorful ones? And a good sturdy board book of prayers with pictures? You’re going to have to appeal to him on his level.

God bless you for praying with your son. Your efforts will bear fruit.



What great ideas! My only problem would be getting the M&M’s to survive until reward time.

We do have one of those big rosaries. We have to keep it hung out of reach of the 20 month old. He, too, misunderstood that same phrase. Who knows, though, maybe it knocked some sense into me somewhere… :wink:

They do have smaller renditions of those big colorful wooden ones. Last summer, I got one for each child. They love it and it makes it easier to follow along (I just tell them what color of decade we are praying).

I would also recommend a CD with songs geared for children. My two older children have the Hug Me Jesus CD by Carol Ann Fisher. Even DS (the 20 month old) goes around singing the songs with his big sisters. I think this would be a great way to make prayer time/car time fun for your DS.

I will pray for you and your family!


I wondered about the DVD’s. Any good suggestions?


Carry on with your prayers even if your wife does not join you, including a petition that she would eventually turn around and be in union with you.

Many have already advised you well on how you can pray with your little one. Shorter forms of prayers were also what we did when the children were little. But, carry on with a prayerful life because eventually it does rub off on the family.

Would you know if your Parish or anyone do the block Rosary? That might also help.


Many thanks to all who’ve made such good suggestions. I’m trying to pray in his bedroom with him rather than the family play room as there are too many distractions! I got hold of a book of prayers for little ones with bold pictures and a different prayer for each day of the week. Good text but I find the pictures a little poor taste- rather like bad plaster statues! Please can anyone recommend good books for little ones on the Rosary? When I pray it, I pray one Hail Mary for my wife, one for my son, one for myself and one for other family members and friends or people who’ve asked for prayers. I find it’s good to pray for others and myself to grow in the virtues associated with each Mystery (e.g. hope for the Ascension) as I know that the Father wants to answer these prayers!

Please can someone tell me what SOTC is? Anyone recommend a bible for toddlers? I have the St Paul version- again, I find it a bit Disney-fied.

I’m going to try going back to cuddling him during prayers and shorten the prayers. I’ll then pray the Rosary in his presence, offering but not trying to inisist that he joins in. I think he may still rebel- what’s daddy doing when he could be driving toy diggers with me?

Thanks again, Our Lord bless you with his Risen Presence,



I’ve prayed the rosary with my kids (8,6,4,2, and one due in August) every night while everyone is lieing in bed and after shorter bed time prayers are said. This is when they get to “snuggle” with daddy and mommy before the go to sleep.I’ll usualy give each one a decade of my time, sometimes less, depends on how they are doing or better yet how I’m doing. They would just assume that I would stay in the room all night. The older ones will lead a decade. Just from hearing it every night they learn to pray it quite well. Now if we have something else pressing and can’t pray a rosary the kids are very disapointed and will almost beg us to pray the rosary with them.
We had problems in the begining with the little ones but the bed time “snuggle” thing realy did work great.
Keep up the good work.


Tybourne, Catholic shops also have a music box of Our Lady of Fatima with the three children kneeling and in prayer. We had one which played the “Ave” and it was quite helpful at bedtime which was when we prayed the rosary. .


Try some of the items from Catholic Heritage Curricula. Here is a link to their Preschool page. The book Guiding Your Catholic Preschooler has some really great advice. Also, the *My Jesus and I *book has beautiful pictures with prayers (Our Father, Hail Mary, Angel of God, etc.) My girls LOVE this book and it does a good job of simply explaining different sections of the prayers. Although I haven’t purchased much of their preschool items, I can attest from some of their other books that their stuff is in good taste.

Finding good bibles for little ones is quite difficult. Either everything is to “Disney” or to 70’s. We have one that someone gave us a long time ago where every single person drawn in it looks angry. Needless to say, we don’t use that one.

Sorry, but I am not sure what “SOTC” is. I might just be having a pregnancy head moment, but I can’t think of it for the life of me. Sorry.

It’s sounds like you are making good progress. Actually, you could play diggers with your DS while praying, too. Perseverance, that is the key with everything with this age group, especially discipline and prayer. :yup: Unfortunately, they like to wear us down to the point to where we want to quit.

Don’t give up hope. They’ll come around. :thumbsup:


I got to thinking, scary huh?? But do you make a point of showing your son Jesus in his day? Like say he is watching some ants go in and out of an ant hole in the yard and you walk up and and say “arn’t those neat? Did you know Jesus/God made ants? And he made these ants just for you because he knew that you would like to watch them.”

When I started this with my girls they got more into prayer time because they were getting an idea of who Jesus is and why he is so neat.

Just an idea.

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