By Susan Ciancio
Our role as parents is the most important one in our lives. Our children mean everything to us, and we take seriously the responsibility of guiding them, protecting them, and educating them in our faith.
The more we look around today, the more we realize that Satan is real. He’s not a mythical creature found only in the Bible or in other stories. His presence is pervasive, and sometimes we are so accustomed to him that we don’t even notice him.
But God is also real. That, we know. And He is our recourse against the devil. Indeed, He—along with the saints, the angels, and Mary—arms us with spiritual weapons to help us combat the devil.
And you can carry one of these weapons right in your pocket.
Of course, we are talking about the Rosary. There’s no better time to talk about the Rosary than in the month dedicated to the Blessed Mother.
The Rosary is the greatest spiritual weapon we have, and those who pray it faithfully have seen its immense power.
A beautiful reminder of the life of Christ and our salvation history, the Rosary takes us through Jesus’ life, encouraging us to reflect upon real events—the sorrows, the joys, and the miraculous.
As parents, it’s our job to foster in our children a devotion to our Blessed Mother. It’s our job to instill a love of the Rosary in our children. And it’s our job to teach them how to pray it.
So, how do you help your child understand the importance of the Rosary and to derive joy from saying it? We have 21 great tips for how to make the Rosary and a devotion to Mary part of your daily life.
1. Teach your children their prayers.
Children cannot say the Rosary if they do not know the prayers associated with it. Make different prayers part of your day, not just part of a bedtime routine. Say morning prayers, prayers of thanks throughout the day, prayers for people in need, prayers for babies and the elderly, prayers for family members, and prayers when you hear an ambulance. When prayer becomes a natural part of your day, it will also become a natural part of theirs.
2. Make sure your children all have their own Rosaries.
If they do not, allow them to choose one. Take them with you to have it blessed. Help them choose a special place near their bed for it.
3. Say the Rosary as a family.
Teach your children to say the Rosary. If you say it in a joyful manner, they will be less likely to think of it as a chore. If you have forgotten how to pray the Rosary, this site has an excellent guide. Familiarize yourself with it and then go through the instructions with your children. If they’re old enough to read, allow them to read along.
4. Teach the mysteries.
Explain the different mysteries and how each is an event in Jesus’ life. Talk about what each means and discuss how it’s important to reflect on the mysteries as you pray the Rosary.
5. If saying a whole Rosary as a family is too long for younger children, say just a decade.
Start when your children are small and encourage them to sit still and listen for just one decade. Then work up to two, then three, four, and finally a whole Rosary.
6. Make your own Rosary.
Making a homemade knotted Rosary can be a fun family activity. This site has step-by-step instructions for how to do it. (Pictured is a small one-decade Rosary my daughter made when she was in grade school.)
7. Listen to the Rosary in the car.
During times when you must spend at least 20 minutes in the car, turn off the radio and have your children put away devices. Listen to a Rosary app and pray along.
8. Create an area of your house devoted just to Mary.
Purchase a small statue and other devotionals. Keep the area decorated with flowers or pictures your children have colored. Go there often to pray.
9. Talk about Mary’s fiat.
Read Luke 1:26-38 aloud to your children and teach them about Mary’s yes to God. Talk about what we can do to say yes to Him each and every day.
10. Read how the Rosary has helped in times of war and disease.
Celebrate Life Magazine has a great article you can share with your older children.
11. Explain American Life League’s Marian Blue Wave.
The Marian Blue Wave is a Rosary initiative begun by ALL to encourage people to pray for an end to abortion and all abortion facilities. Older kids and teens can take responsibility for saying a Rosary on their own. Explain to them how they’re making a difference with their prayers.
12. Regularly reflect on the mysteries.
After you teach your kids the mysteries, devote time to the reflection of each of them. Discuss them regularly so that your children feel a part of Jesus’ life.
13. Let your children see you saying the Rosary, even when/if they don’t participate.
You will reflect the joy and peace you feel after saying the Rosary, and your children will see that.
14. Talk about Mary as our spiritual mother.
Explain the importance of our spiritual mother in heaven and how, just like a real mother, we can go to her with our problems, concerns, and troubles and ask her to take them to her Son.
15. Enhance your children’s love of Mary with two great lessons from the Culture of Life Studies Program.
These elementary-age lessons will help your children grow closer to Mary:
16. Teach your children the Memorare.
This beautiful prayer will help your children to rely on Mary in times of distress.
17. Teach your children the Flying Novena that Mother Theresa used to say.
When she didn’t have time to wait nine days for the answer to an urgent prayer request, Mother Theresa would say 10 Memorares in a row—nine for the novena and one as a prayer of thanks. She called this her Flying Novena.
18. Remind children that Rosaries are not necklaces.
Rosaries are not to be worn or twirled around. They are sacred objects that we should take care of and respect.
19. Explain that Catholics venerate Mary as the mother of God.
Some people don’t understand this, so it’s important that you teach your children that, when we pray to Mary, we are asking for her intercession. We are asking for her to carry our prayers to her Son.
20. Watch the movie Fatima with your children.
This beautiful movie will bring Mary alive, will show the importance of praying the Rosary, and will teach children of all ages the beauty of the Blessed Mother.
21. Give your children books about Mary for summer reading.
Encourage your kids to turn off the TV and pick up a good book. You can never go wrong with a book that teaches about Mary!
The Rosary is a beautiful way to grow closer to Christ and to Mary by putting yourself front and center in their lives. It’s the best weapon we have to fight the evil in this world.