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Lent for Children

February 13th, 2013by Joshua Danis

Lent may be the most challenging season of the Church year, but for some reason, it is also a time that people are most proud to authentically live their Catholic heritage.  What better time could there be to reengage our children in practices of the faith.  Here are just a few simple ideas on how to make this Lent a memorable season and positive impact on your family’s faith development.

 1.       Give up different things each week.  It can be too disheartening at first for young children to go the whole season of lent without chocolate, or tv, or video games, or whatever else they might be giving up.  By sacrificing a different thing as a family during each week of Lent, it is not only more sustainable for the young, but it also helps your family test out its level of detachment to a variety of different tools and objects.  Best of all, it helps you keep Lent fresh in your head throughout the whole season.

 

2.       Bake Lenten Pretzels.  Teaching your children the Story of the Pretzel is a great way to show them just what a profound impact our Faith has had on the culture at large.  Then, keep them active and engaged in the season by taking time to bake Lenten pretzels together as a family.  A delicious recipe can be found here.

 

3.       Bake Hot Cross Buns.  Even though it is technically a sweet bread, this pastry has been a popular food during the season of Lent for over a thousand years.  You may want to print this handout from Loyola Press to help explain it to your children, and a good recipe for the treat can be found here.

 4.       Family Stations of the Cross.  Though the Stations of the Cross can be a difficult prayer for young children, it is up to you as their parents to discern when they are ready for it.  If you decide that they are, here is an ideal approach to take.  This handout from FC Peace can first be printed.  Then, your children can color in the stations of the cross before you pray them together as a family.

 

5.       Teach your Children stories.  All children absolutely love a good story.  If you have a good children’s bible, you can share some of the different stories that foreshadow and reaffirm either the 40 days of Lent or the 3 Days that Jesus lay in the tomb.  Here are some examples.  –The forty days and nights of rain while Noah was in the ark

–The forty days Jesus prayed and fasted in the desert

–The forty years the Israelites wandered in the desert

–The three days Jonah spent in the belly of the whale

–The three days St. Paul spent praying and fasting while he was blind.

(These are just a few of the easiest to teach to children.)

 I hope you find these simple tools helpful in making this the best Lent your family has ever had.  If you have other suggestions you might like to share, I would love it if you would share them in the comment boxes below.  A blessed Lent to you and your family!

Joshua Danis

Joshua Danis is the Northern Coordinator for the Family and Respect Life Office. He and his wife also are working together to build their lives as a domestic church.