Growing up in a liturgical church, I don’t remember ever not observing Lent. All the kids I knew did, mostly by giving up candy. We didn’t have much candy at home anyway so it was no biggie. What I remember more was the solemn Good Friday services, the afternoon and evening ones that my family faithfully attended. I felt so holy sitting in the pew.
As you might recall from previous posts, Advent was and still is a very big deal at our house but I was never sure what to do with Lent for the kids. I do remember Tom fashioning a small cross which stayed around the dining room during the forty days. I think we lit a purple candle too.
We did end the season well with a Middle Eastern supper on Holy Thursday followed by a very quiet Good Friday, no TV or loud music allowed, and an annual trip to the Lincoln Park Conservatory. Like most of life, Lent flew by.
When someone asked me yesterday for ideas for how to help kids observe Lent, I had a few more now:
- Explain Lent as you understand it and talk about Ash Wednesday. Get ashes for yourself and your kids who are old enough to understand. If you can’t bring the kids, use some from your own forehead. These are the words “Remember that you are dust and unto dust you will return.”
- If you are giving up something for Lent, explain why. Introduce the concept of fasting in kid-sense. Can your family “give up” dessert or special treats for the season? Consider asking your kids if they would like to give up something like playing with a certain toy or a TV show. Don’t decide for them. Sundays are not considered Lent so you can enjoy the “give-ups” on that day.
- If you are adding something on for Lent, how can you do that as a family? Join a service project, collect money for a cause, pray together for the same concern.
- Add some type of decor to symbolize the season. A purple candle, cross, a special Lenten cloth or art of some sort.
- Purchase a Lenten devotion for your family or similar books for young kids. An Amazon search for “Lent Books for Kids” pulled up quite a few.
- Two of many resources: Let Us Keep the Feast: Epiphany & Lent (part of a series). Also check out this link for Catholic Moms which contains a lot of great ideas for all families. 40 Lenten Activities for Kids
Any more ideas?
Hope for the Best,
PS An earlier Lent post Rhythms of Lent