Children and Adoration: The Overlooked Strategy for Faith-filled Kids

Note: This originally appeared as a guest post on CatholicMom.com. I’ve been privileged to contribute there since October and really love it. In addition to evangelization and catechesis, I’m also passionate about how parents can more effectively pass on the Faith to their kids. I hope you like it.

Kids and adoration? At Adoration

Aren’t you supposed to be quiet in adoration? Kids make noise.

What will they do? They won’t get anything out of it.

While it might be bucking conventional wisdom to take kids to adoration, I think all Catholic parents should consider this an essential part of raising faith-filled kids.

We’ve slowly worked adoration into our family life and it’s been very rewarding. Here’s a couple of tips for taking kids to adoration and making it enjoyable as well.

Why adoration is important for kids

Adoration should be an integral part of your child’s faith development:

  1. It introduces kids to the sacred. The adoration chapel has a certain aura. It’s just different; quiet, calm, and…holy. You can feel the presence of Jesus there.
  2. Part of the secret to integrating kids into the Catholic Faith is the witness and example of other Christians. In adoration, kids see other adults besides their parents that love the Lord and take time to pray. That’s powerful.
  3. Adoration teaches kids reverence. Mass can be a mixed bag here–some good, some bad. There are no bad examples in the adoration chapel. Everyone is reverent and respectful.
  4. This is a prime place for encounter with Christ. Jesus is really present in the Blessed Sacrament. It’s not visible but there is an effect…like being out in the sun. Whether you like it or not, you’ll get a tan.
  5. It gives kids a dedicated devotional time.

Taking kids to adoration

My kids are 9 and 11 now so they’re pretty used to the drill, but it wasn’t always easy.

We started small. The key is not trying to do too much right away.

We began taking them to the chapel when they were toddlers. But we’d only stay for 10, maybe even 5 minutes…and not every week. Sometimes we let them walk around a bit if they stayed close. But, if they made too much noise or got fidgety, we’d leave and try again another day. Then we worked our way up.

I think dedicated adoration chapels work best. There’s less distractions. Sometimes adoration in the church can be good as well, especially for active kids that wiggle more.

What can kids do at adoration?

Activities during adoration fall into 3 main categories for us–gadgets, books, and cuddles.

Gadgets

An iPhone and iPad are a major part of our kid’s adoration experience. They use them to say the rosary with the iRosary app. It’s like saying the rosary, and a little bit more.

The beads move, there’s a picture to look at, and you can read the text of the prayers. I think it gives them the sense that, yes we’re praying, but it’s also kind of fun.

Books

Reading must be the most popular activity for everyone at adoration. Every time I look around, that’s what people are doing. Why not kids as well?

But it has to be spiritual reading. You’re establishing adoration as devotional time. Lately we’ve been using the Encounter the Saints Series from Pauline Books & Media.

Cuddles

Rosary apps and reading are great, but an hour is still long for 9-11 year-olds. So, the last part of adoration is usually spent with hugs and affection.

This is also part of a larger strategy to make adoration full of “warm fuzzies.” You want to associate very positive feelings and emotions with going to church and doing church-y things. Hugs and cuddles are part of that. So, we often spend the last 10 or 15 minutes just enjoying the silence with some togetherness. Besides, what kid doesn’t love that kind of attention from their parents

Adoration takeaway

I definitely think families should work adoration into their schedules. It’s an excellent way to evangelize kids and establish them in an amazing and powerful Catholic devotion.

Is it hard for them to sit still and stay quiet? Like anything with kids, it requires perseverance and patience. You have to work them into it. But with time and effort, I know it will come. How could Jesus not want your kids to come to him?

Now it’s your turn. If you go to adoration with your kids or know other families that do, what activities do they engage in? Tell me about it in the comments below.

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Comments

  1. This is fantastic Marc! I don’t have children of my own, but going to share this on my Facebook pages and the parish Facebook page today. My Pastor and I were just talking about parishioners we know who take their children to Adoration. It’s so important! Thank you.

    • Marc Cardaronella says:

      Thanks Tom! And thanks for sharing. It really is very important and can teach kids so much by the witness of faith and reverence.

  2. We never did this with our kids, but at a minimum it’s worth a try.

  3. Adoration and children – a Blessing.

    Have been taking our 4 children to a Holy Hour of Adoration since they were babies…14 years.

    Can witness that our family is rich in Faith because of this Gift.

    Adoration and children – a Great Grace.

  4. Marc,
    This is a great post. Thanks for sharing what you do and the blessings your family has experienced!

  5. This was fantastic!! Thank you so much for posting your tips and advice. I have 4 kids, ages 8 and under, and try to take them to our parish’s monthly adoration. Usually we get about 5 minutes. I am glad to know that is a good start! I will keep it up.

    • Marc Cardaronella says:

      Yes, that absolutely is a great start. Keep it up. I figure you’re playing the long game. Lot’s of small victories add up to winning the big battle in the end.

  6. FYI: More info about Children and Adoration: http://childrenofhope.org/

    Thank you Marc! God bless!

    • Marc Cardaronella says:

      Hi Janine! Thanks for the link! I think Fr. Antoine is terrific. I’ve met him. He’s in the Peoria diocese where I am. We did his adoration program in our parish for a while with the kids. That was actually some of the first adoration we did with our kids.

  7. A great encouraging article. I joined Perpetual Adoration 3 years ago. When school holidays came up I emailed them to let them know I couldn’t make it. Was I going away? No. Was I sick? No. It was because the children would be home. “Why don’t you take them”? This question changed everything. My 4 children now attend a weekly adoration on Saturday evening with us. Miss 13 currently slightly problematic but Mr 11 and Misses 9 and 9 last 40 minutes of Saint Books, Prayers Books etc then head out to another room where they play the Catholic Board Game “Divinity”. Mr 11 LOVES the Action Bible (cartoon meets God in a beautiful way..) and recalls a lot of Old Testament information because of it. I have now invested in the New Testament equivalent.

    Perhaps Adoration Chapels could have a couple of hours where it is “family time” to allow for parents to take children without demanding COMPLETE silence.

    • What an awesome witness to have your 4 kids going to adoration with you. Sounds like you’re really doing it well. I agree, there should be some family time scheduled in the adoration chapel. Sometimes it’s hard for those kiddo’s to stay in complete silence. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Hey! I love Adoration and have been taking my kiddos for the past 4 years, they are now 10,8,6. We do not have a perpetual chapel closer than 30 miles. With them being older I have to plan for it. We have loads of demands that hit our schedule.

    I use this to teach how we prioritize the Lord in our lives. I use masstimes.org and think. My hope is once a week. I also make a point that if something comes up, like the first week of school or illness, I am flexible.

    My kids sometimes complain about going. I do my best to create that warm-fuzziness, and when I can’t I tell them that’s why I need to go.

    I also make a little event out of it. We being the same things as you and others posted (huge fan of rosary app and Action Bible). Pencil and paper, I encourage them to draw. Sometime we sit together, sometimes we spread out a little.

    As we pray in Mass, Jesus never ceases to draw a people to himself. He is doing this to me and also to husband and children, especially when I sit them right in front of him.

    I looked for this type of a post because it can be great effort and I reach to the Mother we share to bring me strength. My oldest is giving me static about going and I am to be his spiritual director in his walk. With all other things, sometimes I get tired. Thanks for your post. Love it. Need it. Makes me excited to work through the challenges we sometimes face.

    God bless you. In the Eucharist…

    • Hi Rhonda! Keep up the great work! Sounds like you have a few more obstacles than me getting your family adoration time in. God bless you for your perseverance. I’m sure it will pay off in the end. You’re right, he continues to draw others to himself. That’s a great idea for when the kids don’t want to go and complain…tell them you need to go. It’s so true. It’s not just for them. We need to go as much or more! God bless you too. Thanks for commenting.

  9. For almost 3 years “Adoration Tuesday” is what I excitedly announce to the kids (ages 14, 12, 10, 8, 4, 2) when we start the 2nd day of the week. They know that sometime during the day or evening I will drive to St. Joseph’s and we will visit our Lord (working up to as long as 45 minutes now!) because that is how we come to know Him as we bring him our worries, our petitions, and our thanksgiving. That means that as I’m parking they share who needs be offered up in prayer, what troubles or concerns they or others need help with, and always one or more things they are thankful for. My children know I love these snippets of time in Adoration and I want them to remember these visits as joyful and peaceful times where they pray for one another and are growing in wisdom with the Lord.

  10. Abby Gonsalves says:

    We take the 10 month old for our weekly committed hour on Friday nights from 7-8 pm. Is he a distraction? yes. Has our Adoration experience changed? Absolutely. Will we continue to make an effort to spend time with Our Lord and show our children that it is a priority… Even if it means chasing him around and dealing with other adults. So far, there have been no glares or negative comments from having a child disrupt the peaceful environment. Sometime we let him crawl around, sometimes one or the other parent takes him out in the hallway, sometimes he is banging things or “singing”. But we are all spending time with Jesus.

Trackbacks

  1. […] 2-Another on the faith-front: This one is for the moms and dads of littles. I try to take our kids to Adoration ever now and then. It’s such a beautiful time to pray in Jesus’ physical presence, and I know that even their wiggly moments earn them graces. We started going during Lent while we lived in Syracuse still, and now I try to get every month to our chapel. Sometimes we miss when someone is sick, or when for some reason Adoration isn’t occurring. I think we’ve been 4 times in the last several months. Not bad…though tricky! You all know how hard it is to keep kids mildly quiet in Mass, when there are other noises going on, but try Adoration when it’s dead silent. The Comedian sees it as a time for filling the void with noise, as does Little Man who isn’t quiet unless he’s sleeping. Anyway, this article has renewed my desire to take my little Fences to Adoration, and given me new ideas for drawing them in to the holy prayer time. http://marccardaronella.com/2013/01/24/children-and-adoration/ […]

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