The home is the foundation of a child’s spiritual foundation. Children need rhythmic order. Prayer and verse time can create an order that is holy.
When the child is three, she/he can begin to participate in simple prayer. They learn by giving thanks to God for all the blessings in their life. They bless their family, their friends, neighbors, pets, even the tree in the backyard. We are teaching our children to feel comfortable talking to God. As a consequence, compassion and feelings are stirred in their hearts. As they grow older, they can begin to ask for forgiveness for their shortcomings. We as parents can set the example as we ask for forgiveness and strength in controlling our temper in a traffic jam. Children respond to our sincerity.
Then there is a higher form of prayer. That is when one is in glorification of God or in union with God. This is a type of prayer that comes with age and wisdom. We can start early on with the young child by sowing seeds of beauty and awe in their hearts. Praising God through beauty doesn’t have to be limited to art and music. It can be in a wildflower, a smile on a face, the smell of cookies baking, a rotting tree trunk, a great act of courage, the death of a love one returning to his/her source.
Prayer doesn’t have to be so serious. It can be spontaneous, fun and loving. Create your own traditions. These will be memories that the child will have for a lifetime. There is a saying,” One who learns to pray as a child learns to bless in old age.”