What is the best way to observe Lent with children? Although different denominations will vary in their approach, there are four common disciplines that are usually associated with this forty day season:
- Bible Reading
Here’s some easy ways to approach these disciplines with children and make Lent a more meaningful season for them:
Sit around the table together and, as a family, talk about some things you might give up for Lent, and what they could be replaced with. Have someone write down your ideas and display them in a prominent place throughout the forty-day period. Be sure talk about them often, and especially as situations bring them to mind. Use the following idea of Fasting & Feasting, such as:
- Fast from lying: Feast on telling the truth
- Fast from being greedy: Feast on sharing
- Fast from leaving others out: Feast on including everyone
- Fast from frowning: Feast on smiling
- Fast from whining: Feast on thankfulness
- Fast from hurting: Feast on helping
- Choose a family devotional to read at the same time every day, such as by Our Daily Bread for Kids or Our Daily Bread for Preschoolers by Crystal Bowman and Teri McKinley.
- Download this fun 40 day Lenten Path by Lisa Suran. After reading each scripture, color in that day or place a sticker on the square.
As a family, brainstorm how you might use this forty-day period to designate specific times for intentional prayer every day. The key is to use your normal, everyday routines to trigger quick, simple prayers that don’t require children to close their eyes. For example:
- When you reach for your toothbrush. (Thank God for food)
- As you brush your hair. ( Pray for each family member with each stroke)
- When you step out the door. (Thank God for the weather)
- While waiting for the school bus. (Pray for all traveling today)
- When you lie down to sleep. (Thank God for being with you whether asleep or awake)
Using the idea featured in the above photograph, decide as a family which organisation, such as The Salvation Army, you would like to support during Lent. Every day for the next forty days, take turns to place one thing in a container that you will give away to someone who might need it. At Easter, take a family trip to the organisation with your forty items. This is a wonderful way to encourage children to give up something of their own choosing, as well as witnessing what you choose to give up.
How do you make Lent a meaningful time for children?