featured image

Gilda Rose Kalathil offers 5 kid-tested tips to help you and your family pray a more peaceful and grace-filled family Rosary.

It is the month of May, the month we celebrate Mother’s Day and the greatest of mothers, our Mother Mary.  Over the years we have done many special things to celebrate her in our family with little kids: Mary crowning, Mary altar, reading about Mary, making a Mary peg doll ... and this year we are going to try a Marian terrarium, only because we do not have a place for a garden.  

But the most important bit about celebrating Mary in May is attempting to pray the Rosary daily together as a family. We try to be consistent. But it isn’t always possible, and I have learnt that God Our Father understands. Not being able to do it daily used to be a cause of great upset and unhappiness for me and no matter how hard I tried, the disappointment showed. Until the time I actually brought it in prayer and realized that God wasn’t keeping count on a checklist for every day we missed. I realized the only one holding a stick was me.   

Our time of family prayer was far from picture-perfect. One of the kids was always not in the mood, and the other wouldn't sit in one place. The whole Rosary was interspersed with eyes rolling, stern looks and warnings. It reminded me of family Rosaries as a child. I was taught early, to sit properly and focus while doing the family Rosary. I hated it. It always just felt like a task, till I learnt of the beauty of the Rosary and wanted to do it myself. Reflecting on it made me aware that my kids were not going to remember the why of it, but rather the experience of it. And that needed some changing.   




So here are some tips I’ve learnt over time to make praying a family Rosary a blessed and memorable time: 


Let go of perfection.

Every time you feel perfection creep under your skin, take a deep breath and blow it away. Look at your family and the phase it is in realistically. Remind yourself; one day, you will get there, but for now, what you have to offer together is beautiful.  

Keep them near.

The reason my kids love reading books? We’ve always read to them, keeping them on our laps or having our arms around. They have fond memories of book reading cuddling in a makeshift tent or fortress. Why not apply it to prayer time, I wondered?  What is more memorable and enticing than being surrounded by affection. Isn’t it the same embrace that God keeps us in when we spend time with Him? And that experience in itself would make prayer time something look forward to and cherish even after years go by.  




Tell them why.

Inculcate a love and devotion to Mary first. Tell them stories of her apparitions, her role in intercession and leading us to Jesus, of the perfect mother she is even though we (their own mothers) are imperfect. Tell them that even when you can't always be with them, she is. Knowing and loving Our Lady will draw them more easily to praying the Rosary. 

Here's a story that has got my 4- and 6-year-old boys super excited about praying the Rosary. “We are in Mary’s army of soldiers. She gives us a powerful weapon: the Rosary.  The devil, our enemy is scared of it and every Hail Mary is a blow to his head. Every time we pray, we charge our weapon for the battlefield and Mary helps us win wars. And that’s why we need to keep it charged often.”  




Keep them involved.

Be it reciting after you, reading or keeping count on big beads, keep them engaged. Not as an audience but as a participant. Light a candle, dim the lights if needed for focus. Encourage, remind them why and let it pass if they don’t want to. Talk about it later, not during the prayer time.  

Set clear boundaries.

Emphasize what they can do instead of what they shouldn’t. Here are some examples. “Prayer time is when we talk to Jesus: this means we have to be quiet or whisper if we want to talk to each other.” “We are interested in everything you want to ask or share but after we finish talking to Jesus together.” “We all stay together during this time except if we need to use the washroom.”

On days children are really uninterested or disengaged it may be helpful to let them play with their rosary respectfully or provide options like a kids Bible, or Scripture or saint books to flip through—or even faith-based coloring sheets to keep their little hands occupied. This teaches them that no matter how they are feeling they are accepted before the Lord, and they can find ways to reach out to Him. 




Click to tweet:
5 simple tips to help you and your family pray a more peaceful and grace-filled family Rosary. #CatholicMom


I hope these simple tips will help you and your family pray a more peaceful and grace-filled family Rosary. I’d love to hear what you think about them or if there’s anything that helps you. 



Copyright 2023 Gilda Rose Kalathil
Images: copyright Holy Cross Family Ministries, all rights reserved