Lent for Families

A few simple, creative ideas for guiding your children through Lent.

Sharing our faith and great tradition with our children doesn’t have to be an elaborate Pinterest worthy activity or a picture perfect family devotional time. Start simple, set realistic expectations, select sustainable ideas that fit your family rhythm and begin your journey of Lent together! Slow down and explore. Lent is a time to make room to walk closer with Jesus and to learn to become more like Him.

  1. Read the Bible - Use the CTR Lent Devotional as a Bible reading plan as a family during Lent. Shorten readings or number of days per week if needed for younger ones. The Jesus Storybook Bible is also wonderful to read to preschool and young elementary children.
  2. Pray - maybe pray at a new time of day during Lent. Prayer in the morning or at noon or when family comes home in the evening.
  3. Generosity - serving others, saying or doing a kind act each day as we learn to become more like Jesus. Serve together in the community. (For a tangible activity, collect beans or rocks in a jar for acts of generosity and then have the jar be full of jelly beans on Easter morning.)
  4. Fasting/Giving up something as a family - drink only water at meals, fast from complaining and feast on encouragement, fast from eating out and give money that would have been spent on meals to the food bank, fast from electronic games on weekends, you get the idea. Explain that it allows life to be simpler for us to walk closer to God.
  5. Giving to others- purge and collect items from your home as a family during Lent, such as clothing, toys, household items and take them to those who would benefit from them.
  6. Grow a plant, bulb or grass  - explain how we are growing and Jesus brings new life.
  7. Temptation Cookies - While baking cookies, tell your children about the temptation of Jesus in the desert. When the cookies are done, leave them on the table, but they cannot eat them until later or even the next day. Talk about how tempting this might be and what we can do to resist temptation.
  8. Prayer Pretzels - the history of pretzels ties to Lent. Make and eat pretzels as a family. http://www.catholicicing.com/pretzels-for-lent/ Helps explain why we cross our hands over our chest for a blessing at Eucharist.
  9. A Lenten Feast Table - designate a special table or shelf in your home as a place to focus on God. Decorate with a fabric of the church season (purple in Lent), and have a Bible, basket of children’s books for Lent/Easter,  a cross, prayer prompts, anything that would encourage you in your family devotion for Lent. Change out for different church seasons. If we decorate for holidays, why not decorate with the church season in our homes?
  10. Wear purple - discuss how purple signifies royalty of King Jesus and also sadness for our sins. Ask your children to look for purple in the church.