Author Topic: Family Prayers  (Read 359 times)

Offline Davis Blank - EG

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Family Prayers
« on: April 10, 2019, 10:03:23 AM »
My dear good Fathers & Mothers,

How do you all handle the children during the family rosary?  Let them do as they wish, try to entice them to join in, force them to join, punish for disobedience, let them casually drift in and out of prayer, play with toys / books?

My eldest (4) often drifts in and out of attention, usually turning to flipping through books or walking in and out of the room.  I do not read stories to him after the rosary if he does not pray for the majority of it.  Note we also are only doing one decade.

What do you all do?  I'm interested to hear about older children as well.

May God bless us all with guidance to effectively lead our children to Him.
 

Offline aquinas138

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Re: Family Prayers
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2019, 10:38:41 AM »
My four are 11, 8, 5, and 3. We follow a shortened from of Evening Prayers from Ruthenian/Carpartho-Russian prayerbooks. The older two are expected two stand throughout, cross themselves, make responses, and do the prostrations during Lent. I also have them take turns reading some of the prayers; if they are not paying attention, they are not allowed to read (this seems to be pretty effective). If time allows and moods are amenable, I try to encourage singing the prayers.

The 5 year old is not quite a comfortable enough reader to handle any of the prayers; I mostly expect him to not be a disruption, as being a disruption appears to be what he lives for. I give him a small bonus if he actually stands throughout and doesn't talk or torment his sister. The 3 year old I just ask not to interrupt. All of them like doing the prostrations, incidentally.

I can tell you that finding a prayer rule that works for our family has never been easy for us; both my wife and I have odd hours. She only joins us if she is off work; she works in TV news and gets up very early, so she goes to bed basically as soon as I get home.

As the dad, it's hard to find the right balance of letting things go and discipline—which is honestly probably the hardest part of being the dad. I want prayer time to be a positive experience and not only seen as burdensome, with the hope it's a habit they'll take with them when they leave home, but I also want to impress upon them that it's a serious thing, too.
O unashamed intercessor of Christians, ever loyal advocate before the Creator, do not disregard the prayerful voice of sinners but in your goodness hasten to assist us who trustfully cry out to you: Intercede always, O Mother of God, in behalf of those who honor you!
 
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Offline MundaCorMeum

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Re: Family Prayers
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2019, 12:05:46 PM »
Depending on the age, personality, and capabilities of the child, we do a mix of all that you mentioned.  We also started off with only doing a decade when our oldest was young, and gradually built up.  Now, we do the full Rosary, so all of our younger children have grown up doing the full thing.  My personal opinion is that if they can sit still through a movie, then they are capable of sitting still through the Rosary, even if their attention to the actual prayer is weak.  The 6 -14 year olds are all expected to kneel and be relatively still, barring illness or something like that.  The 4 year old is sometimes allowed to sit quietly and sometimes expected to kneel.  My husband decides before we begin.  The 2 year old either sits in my lap or the 14 year old's lap; or, she sits quietly on the floor next to my husband or I while we kneel.  She's allowed to have a Rosary, or a religious book, or a saint statue, etc.  If she becomes too disruptive with it, we take it away and my husband holds her the rest of the time.  It takes a good bit of trial and error, give and take, and TONS of gentle but firm reminders to "sit still and be quiet, please".  They're in training, so it's not reasonable to expect perfection, but it is reasonable to correct, teach, redirect, and sometimes even punish when necessary.  I wouldn't punish a very young child, as they are really just learning, but around 4 or 5 and above, a consequence for repeated misbehavior/blatant disobedience is not unreasonable, I think.  Especially if you have made clear expectations and you are confident the child knows and understands said expectations.
 
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Offline Traditionallyruralmom

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Re: Family Prayers
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2019, 10:18:55 PM »
(children at home) 18, 14, 10, 8, 5, 3, 1 (baby in Nov)
We pray the rosary after all chores are done in the evening and children are in their PJ"s.  I read stories to the littles before the rosary.  We use rosary as calm down and cuddle time.  No pious kneeling here (sorry)  My 10 and 8 year old have rosary books they follow with (the angelus one as well as another one)  Each big person usually has a small one to hold.  The 1 year old will tend to get off the lap of his 14 year old sister if he is not ready to fall asleep and wander around, and we let him.  As long as he is not acting wild.   By the end of the Rosary all the children 8 and under are usually asleep or ready to be laid in bed without a fuss.

For morning prayer, Daddy reads the readings and we sing a hymn and say some personal prayers.  For that we are kneeling or sitting on chairs by our family altar.  Children must be quiet and sitting ( :cheeseheadbeer:)  The 1 year old is attempted to be held by other siblings and is given to daddy if he is very wild. 

I say be gentile and understanding.  Some children have better temperaments for sitting than others.  I am not saying be indulgent, but don't make prayer time a grim Calvinist discipline nightmare.  We try to remind the children things like "the Blessed Virgin loves children who pray well to her beloved Jesus."  "Be quiet and say your prayers and offer them as a sacrifice" 

I have read to use family prayer time as a discipline for Mass. But I find that the children behave better at Mass (except the 1 year old) than at home at family prayer.  But I do think that is a good additional purpose to family prayer.  It takes time, repetition,   and voicing our expectations of what behavior is expected.  Lots of work on Dad and Moms part, but good for the children in the end.

56904928_276447019924091_789159563004739584_n by S Marie, on Flickr
« Last Edit: April 10, 2019, 10:24:57 PM by Traditionallyruralmom »
Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat.
 
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Offline diaduit

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Re: Family Prayers
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2019, 03:09:19 AM »
Gosh I am probably to relaxed in comparison.  My rule of thumb is once they make their First Holy Communion they are expected to join in and be still like the rest of us.  Say from 6 -8 yrs old, they can sit quietly while we are saying our Rosary (they also subconsciously learn the words of the prayers) and if they are fidgeting with their hands or a book I let it. Under 5 yrs old for me is ignored as long as they are not running around screaming.
We allocate a decade each to the kids and they are allowed to dedicate it to their own intentions and once the younger ones reach the age of FHC they look forward to having their own decade.
 
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Offline Chestertonian

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Re: Family Prayers
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2019, 11:56:18 AM »
I would not punish a child for not participating in family prayer.  They are punishing themselves by missing out on the good graces they can receive by doing so and the bonding time.  We don't present it as "You have to pray the rosary" it's "You GET to."  I would rather my 2 year old say one decade with me and then quietly play with play dough at the kitchen table than fight him on something that's developmentally not normal for him to do and turn family prayer into a power struggle. 

My boys have a nanny who prays the rosary with them so on days when she's here they've usually had rosary time with her

my 8 year old likes to lead the rosary... getting a chance to do that sometimes we will go around and take turns on who leads.  Anything that involves speaking is exhausting for me and I'm less likely to fall asleep
"I am not much of a Crusader, that is for sure, but at least I am not a Mohamedist!"
 
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Offline MundaCorMeum

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Re: Family Prayers
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2019, 01:32:03 PM »
Gosh I am probably too relaxed in comparison.  My rule of thumb is once they make their First Holy Communion they are expected to join in and be still like the rest of us.  Say from 6 -8 yrs old, they can sit quietly while we are saying our Rosary (they also subconsciously learn the words of the prayers) and if they are fidgeting with their hands or a book I let it. Under 5 yrs old for me is ignored as long as they are not running around screaming.
We allocate a decade each to the kids and they are allowed to dedicate it to their own intentions and once the younger ones reach the age of FHC they look forward to having their own decade.

You're doing just fine!  You (general 'you') know your kids best, and you have the sacramental graces from marriage to know how best to teach and form *your* kids...not anyone else's (especially in matters of the Faith).  If what you are doing is working well for your family, then it's a good choice.  You are saying the Rosary as family, and that is beautiful and pleasing both to Our Lord and Our Lady. 

For the most part, our kids enjoy saying the Rosary as a family....well, the 4 year old is a somewhat grumpy about it, but he's grumpy about EVERYTHING  ;D  He's like a cantankerous, 90 year old man, stuck in the body of a 4 year old.  It's kind of endearing.  Anyway, it's often the most peaceful time of our day.  Of course, it's not always perfect.  This is real life. Sometimes we (as parents) screw up (because we are not perfect), sometimes the kids act poorly (because they are not perfect), but overall how we manage the Rosary works well for us. 

We also like to let each kid pick a Rosary intention, unless we are strapped for time, then my husband picks them and everyone else tells Our Lord and Our Lady in their hearts what they want to pray for.  It's funny to hear their intentions.  And, I've recently been trying to always pick a different child each night to offer my Rosary for specifically.  I just rotate through them all, one at a time.  They always get a huge smile on their face when I mention their name.  Occasionally, my husband will let the various children who are capable lead a decade, but the majority of the time, he leads.  If he's not home, I usually get them to help, because the 2 year old makes it hard for me to follow along well, since she likes to steal my Rosary ;)


Finally, the thing I really like about asking others for parenting advice, is you get so many different ideas and perspectives to consider.  I never take anyone's advice as "the be all end all" of how to parent.  I tend to like to read all the advice, then mull it over and think about what will work best for my family and our own particular situation. 
« Last Edit: April 11, 2019, 02:01:55 PM by MundaCorMeum »
 
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Offline The Curt Jester

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Re: Family Prayers
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2019, 08:37:57 PM »
My three year-old sits in one of our laps during one decade of the rosary.  Sometimes he sits quietly and holds a rosary, other times he fidgets and tries to get away.  We used to let him go and play rather than holding him, but since he just turned three, I haven't been doing that.  After the decade he has to say his night prayers (and those he has to repeat after us, which he does). If he fights rosary, we give him a choice of going to bed immediately, or staying up for the decade and five minutes of play afterward.  He usually chooses the latter.  Of course, that's a reminder, not a bribe, since five minutes of play after prayers is the usual procedure.  If we ever forget, he's quick to remind us: "five minutes?!"

He also says morning prayers (short and spontaneous, but he repeats it) and is expected to be quiet and fold his hands for meal prayers.  We have moderate success with that, but he's getting better.

The one year old gets to do whatever he wants right now.
The royal feast was done; the King
Sought some new sport to banish care,
And to his jester cried: "Sir Fool,
Kneel now, and make for us a prayer!"

The jester doffed his cap and bells,
And stood the mocking court before;
They could not see the bitter smile
Behind the painted grin he wore.

He bowed his head, and bent his knee
Upon the Monarch's silken stool;
His pleading voice arose: "O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!"
 
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Offline Davis Blank - EG

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Re: Family Prayers
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2019, 11:20:19 PM »
Thank you everyone for sharing how your family handles family prayer.

I was going to throw my son into the dungeon for not doing all fifteen decades after Lauds, but now I will reconsider.

My 1 year old slaps his hands together whenever we say "prayer time."  Its adorable.
 
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Offline Traditionallyruralmom

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Re: Family Prayers
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2019, 11:22:00 PM »
Gosh I am probably to relaxed in comparison.  My rule of thumb is once they make their First Holy Communion they are expected to join in and be still like the rest of us.  Say from 6 -8 yrs old, they can sit quietly while we are saying our Rosary (they also subconsciously learn the words of the prayers) and if they are fidgeting with their hands or a book I let it. Under 5 yrs old for me is ignored as long as they are not running around screaming.
We allocate a decade each to the kids and they are allowed to dedicate it to their own intentions and once the younger ones reach the age of FHC they look forward to having their own decade.

nope, you sound common sense to me!

my 8 year old will make her first communion in May.  i am still working on getting her not to put the rosary in her mouth, or wind it around her toes...or swing it on her finger like a lifeguards whistle at the pool....For a decade she is super pious, then she gets distracted by being 8  :)
Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat.
 
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Offline Traditionallyruralmom

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Re: Family Prayers
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2019, 11:23:21 PM »
Thank you everyone for sharing how your family handles family prayer.

I was going to throw my son into the dungeon for not doing all fifteen decades after Lauds, but now I will reconsider.

My 1 year old slaps his hands together whenever we say "prayer time."  Its adorable.

my one year old shouts "Ah-mean!" at the end. He did this at High Mass last Sunday.  He also piously folds his fat little hands when we say the meal prayer. 
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Offline The Curt Jester

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Re: Family Prayers
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2019, 12:08:11 AM »
My 1 year old slaps his hands together whenever we say "prayer time."  Its adorable.

My three-year-old used to do that when he was one.  He grew out of it.

My one-year old could say "alleluia" at 6 months.  It came out as "Ah - eh - oo - ah" but we could understand it.  Now both he and the three year old run around the house singing it.
The royal feast was done; the King
Sought some new sport to banish care,
And to his jester cried: "Sir Fool,
Kneel now, and make for us a prayer!"

The jester doffed his cap and bells,
And stood the mocking court before;
They could not see the bitter smile
Behind the painted grin he wore.

He bowed his head, and bent his knee
Upon the Monarch's silken stool;
His pleading voice arose: "O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!"
 
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