By Katie Warner
This post originally appeared on KatieWarner.com.
“So everything that goes on in your home has a good or bad effect on your children. Try to help them with your own good example. Try not to hide your piety from them.” –St. Josemaria Escriva
Here are five things you can do with your kids every day to help make faith a more integral part of their lives and to strengthen their connection to Jesus and to you:
- Pray. Start the day with prayer before your usual routine or school time begins. An Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, the Morning Offering, or a free-form prayer are all good options. In the evening, a decade of the Rosary, a chaplet, the Guardian Angel or St. Michael the Archangel prayers, or prayers of thanksgiving and intercession are powerful and simple prayers to say together after dinner or before bedtime.
- Read the Bible. Get a hold of a great children’s Bible (or age appropriate Bible for your child) and read a story from it every day. The Bible has been such a routine part of my two-year-old son’s day that he regularly requests Gospel stories and spends LOTS of time flipping through the pages himself in his own free time. When children are exposed to the Bible on a regular basis, they come to love it.
- Tell them how much God loves them. Make sure you remind your child(ren) every day—if not multiple times a day—how much Jesus loves them. A good time to remember to do so is when you are telling them you love them. “I love you! Do you know who else loves you so, so much? Jesus!” The older they get, the more important this message becomes, as they brave the ups and downs of growing up: God loves you more than you’ll ever know.
- Do something nice for someone else. Model for your kids this great practice of doing one simple, concrete act of charity or mercy for someone else each day, and encourage them (or physically help them depending on their age) to do that “something kind” for someone else, too. Ask them about their good deed at dinner or at night.
- Spend quality time together/Give your child(ren) your undivided attention. Discipleship comes through relationship building. If you want your children to really learn the faith from you and to become faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, invest intentional time in them. Make sure that every day, your child(ren) get some of your undivided attention, where you spend time talking with them, reading to them, playing with them, attending their extracurricular activities (and watching rather looking at your phone), cuddling them, or doing whatever connects you with each other and strengthens your parent-child bond.
Bonus one: Take them to daily Mass! It’s pretty much the best way to combine all of the above into one awesome, faith-building activity that you can do together. If you have the ability to go to Mass together on a non-Sunday day of the week, do it. Over time, you won’t be able to live without it! Never underestimate the power of the sacraments to work wonders in the lives of you and your children.
Katie Warner is a wife, mother, author, and speaker. Her book Head & Heart: Becoming Spiritual Leaders for Your Family helps husbands and wives develop their unique gifts to grow in complimentary spiritual leadership.