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Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Tips and Tricks for Praying a Family Rosary


Lent is the perfect time to get you and your family into the habit of saying a daily rosary! If you start saying the Rosary as a sacrifice during Lent, you can keep going even past Lent!  That's how our family started saying our daily Rosary together. That was about 7 years ago and I have to tell you, the blessings that God has showered on us have been amazing! I can really feel that God is helping us during our everyday life when we are saying our daily Rosary! In the past 7 years we had a few weeks when life was extra busy and our Rosary was forgotten. During those times when we neglected to say our Rosary, I felt that the devil was at me more and the kids seemed more agitated! Saying the Rosary really does seem to help us all in our everyday life! So I highly recommend saying a family Rosary! 
I know life may seem busy already, I feel that, too! But I've seen how God "pays you back" in other ways. Now don't get me wrong, it's not instantaneous. It takes days, weeks or even months, but God always seems to help us more if we pray our daily Rosary. No, He's probably not going to send angels to do your work like he did for St. Isidore, but I've seem small changes that have made a BIG difference in my life! 
It just takes trust! Trust that the best thing to do is this one thing for God and that God will not leave you alone. He will help you if you are trying to live a holy life. Always remember, you fight his fight and he'll fight yours.

I'm sure many of you are asking yourself: "How can I say a Rosary with so many little kids?"  I totally understand how you feel. I said that to my self many times. I have 9 kids, ages 14 to 1.Well, here are a few of the tricks I found helped to make our daily Rosary happy and more peaceful.
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1. Pick a time and stick with it
Pick a time of day that works for you...after school, before dinner, etc. and stick with that same time each day. If the kids learn to expect it they will not feel as upset about it. A set time will help them mentally prepare.

We normally say the Rosary at one of two times each day:
We often say it at 3:00 (Jesus' Hour) when the little ones are tired. The Rosary often helps them to fall asleep.  If we can't say it at 3:00 due to an appointment or other conflict, we say our Rosary at night after the kids have had their night time snack and the little ones are ready for bed.


2. Have Rules:
Be sure the kids know what you expect of them. Tell them each day before you begin. They will need a daily reminder until they are in a groove and just know what to do. If they don't obey the rules during the Rosary, take away a privilege. For example: After our 3:00 Rosary my older kids have their daily "free-time". So they know they have to be good during Rosary to receive that "free-time" privilege. If they are not good, they give 20 minutes of that free time to me to do extra chores. (I've never had to actually enforce that -I've only needed to tell them and they were good!)

It's very important that the room you are praying in is clean. It should have no toys, books, or other things that could distraction them. The bigger kids must stay sitting or kneeling.
The little ones must stay laying down, sitting or kneeling. Allow the younger kids to have a pillow and blanket, too, but no toys or books -unless they are rosary books!

It did take a few days to get them to understand the "no toys, stay sitting" rules!! I just had to keep bringing them back to the room and taking toys. Be strong, don't make a fuss. Just bring them back and sit them down and begin to pray again. You can say, "It's time to pray", but you must remain calm. Once the Rosary becomes an everyday event the kids just learn to except it. Now my little kids just lay down and often times they fall asleep.

3. "Family" Rosary - the whole family - Really?
I know I say "Family Rosary" but personally, we don't pray as a "family" everyday. My husband is often not with us. I'm sure many families have this same problem. Moms, I feel it's better that we say a Rosary without dad than to not say a rosary at all. My husband says his Rosary as he drives home from work, but we do say our Rosary together, as a complete family, on Saturdays and Sundays. Do your best to make it a daily family event, but worse case, just get as many family members involved as you can!

4. Pray with a DVD: 
Years ago when we started saying the Rosary as a family we used Rosary DVDs.
It helped the kids to learn how to say the Rosary and the images helped them to stay focused. It was great to begin this way. I was able to keep praying as I "trained" the kids. Plus, the older kids didn't need to stop and wait as I chased down a toddler! ;-)

We got the DVDs from EWTN, but they might be cheaper somewhere else.
The DVDs I found to be the best ones for kids are:
"Rosary in the Holy Land" (The one in the picture is different than mine, but I guess it's the same.) For Holy Land Rosary Link ~Click here!
"The Holy Rosary" -it's the one with the stain glass window pictures. Click here to buy it from EWTN
 Note: The Rosary DVDs which are made special for kids are often too distracting and seem to make them think it's playtime!! (all kids are different, so you be the judge of what works for your kids.)

5. Pray with Pictures:
We also have pictures of each of the 20 mysteries. They are 8x10 inches in size so you can put them in a poster frame or in plastic sheet covers and place them in a 3 ring binder. Just turn to the correct picture for the Mystery you are reciting.  For 20 Mysteries Prints ~Click here!  
We also have small Rosary books to help them follow along.  

My little ones like to compare the pictures in the Rosary book to the pictures on the Stain Glass DVD! For example, they see the Holy Spirit in the picture on the book and they find the Holy Spirit in the pictures on the DVD. It can keep them calm for awhile! ;-)

6. Pray with Scripture:
 
Sometimes we will read scripture verses before each Hail Mary. This helps the kids have something to think about during each prayer.  "Rosary of Praise" or "Scriptural Rosary" are good books to use for this.

  7. Think outside the Box!! - Other ways to pray.
We have also said the Rosary on the drive home from different events.
A few times we have loaded the kids in the van to say the Rosary while trying to get a baby to sleep.
It might help to get an Audio CD for your car or van.

We have said the Rosary while walking outside around our house. The kids find this fun, as they follow "Mamma Duck"! If you don't want to go outside, then walk around inside.

If your toddler seems very wild, try putting him/her in a stroller and pushing the stroller around as you pray. If you don't have a room large enough try pushing the stroller back and forth. This has often worked for many of my young kids. 

We also like to pray with our Pro-life Giant Rosary  Click here for this printable giant Rosary to build as you pray.
8. Distracted Kids? 
If you've been saying the Rosary for a little while and the kids seem to be loosing interest, change the way you say the Rosary. In other words: if you have been using a scripture book, switch to a DVD or try walking around the room. Making a switch will help them refocus.

9. Other thoughts:
It might help if you start saying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy first, then after a few days/weeks switch to the Rosary.

Try taking turns: Give each of the kids a turn leading a decade of the Rosary.

If you plan to buy or make Rosaries for children, I recommend "all-twine knotted Rosaries" or rosaries made from string. Any Rosary with medal loops are very easy to break.


10. Try these Printables:
I made a few sheets to help my kids during our Rosary. (I'm always trying new things to keep them interested) These are the sheets to use as you pray.
Print them out and laminate them (or use plastic sheet covers).  Then the kids can use them to follow along as they pray. They can use a dry erase marker to fill in the rosary beads on the sheet as they pray each prayer. 
**Click here** to read more and download them for your kids!
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If you are considering trying to say a daily Rosary together as a family, I hope this can help you to get you started. --For God will surly bless you if you try to pray the Rosary!
Till next time!
~Jennifer



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10 comments:

  1. What a great article!!! We don't nearly pray the rosary nearly enough as a family. Really, Sunday is the only day. This is a great encouragement!!

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  2. The stroller....what a great idea!

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  3. Such great ideas! I tried, but failed to do a family rosary over the summer. What did me in was the Daddy not being home to participate (he's a 24-hour shift worker) so I really loved your comment about not stopping just b/c our husbands are unable to participate. thank you for the renewed motivation!

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  4. Thanks for the kick in the pants...it's just what I needed. Our rosary time is anything but peaceful, so I needed someone to remind me to stick with it. I put an older child in charge of the baby and kept the 3 year old with me to make sure that she stayed still. Today was a better day...now to keep at it!

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  5. Thanks so much for these tips! I also struggle when Daddy (finishing up residency and fellowship!) is not home to stick to routine. We pray before bedtime. I made these rosary flipbooks that my little ones really enjoy: http://keepinupwkenneyfam.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/rosary-flipbooks/

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  6. Thank you so much for all the great ideas and encouragement! I have a 2 and 1 yr old and I want to establish good habits early can't wait to try some of these out : )

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  7. This is great! My husband and I always said the rosary together but recently I have been on my own to pray (while he prays on the way home from work). I find a book with pictures or a video to pray along with is so helpful for my A.D.D brain!

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  8. You are so right about praying the Rosary together! We are hot and cold with it, unfortunately. When we have slipped away from the practice for a long time, I arrange for the Pilgrim Virgin statue to come to our house for the week. That helps us to get back in the habit. I love the idea about going outside. We live in an area with many walking paths and should take advantage of them to do this. Maybe with the weather getting nice soon we will start doing a rosary walk. Great ideas! : )

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  9. Thanks for the suggestions! Sometimes its hard to get our three year old to sit through an Our Father, Hail Mary, and a Glory Be, much less a whole rosary. Though last year when he was two he did like helping us say the Divine Mercy Chaplet. We'll see if he will still do that this year! We may start trying to do that daily instead of just the Novena before Divine Mercy Sunday. I was also thinking that since we only have a little one and no older ones, we might start with just a decade a day. We used to do a lot of praying in the car, but we just moved closer to my work so I don't have to commute anymore! As nice as that is I do miss my prayer time!

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  10. I was thinking this morning that yes, I pray the rosary daily, but it's important for the boys to pray it with me. This is great motivation and I look at is as the Holy Spirit telling me to get started!
    :)

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