Bernadete F. Leal 

From the moment we wake up, we already have an agenda with what we plan for our day: places to go, chores to do, classes, meetings, outings, shopping, and we even find some time to watch our favorite TV shows.  Just as we have a daily to-do list and important dates on our calendar, The Gospel at Home should be an intrinsic part of our weekly agenda to enlighten our homes and family. The Gospel at Home is a blessing, especially when family members pray together. For some, this is a very enjoyable experience that brings peace. For others, and especially when children are involved, it can present some challenges.

If you feel that way, relax! We are here to give you some suggestions that may help you win your child’s heart to do the Gospel at Home in a creative and fun way.

But first, here are some considerations:

Day and Time

Choose a time and day of the week when your children are not tired or hungry, because this can affect their participation. Weekends, mornings, and afternoons are better for doing the Gospel at Home with children.

Name

 “Gospel at Home” is a nice name, but perhaps it is not very appealing for children. So think about changing it to, “Jesus at Home”, “Talking with Jesus”, “Learning from our friend, Jesus”, “Praying with Jesus”, or another name that you and your children can choose together.  

Calendar

Children need reminders, and the more visual, the better.  Mark on the calendar the day and time of “The Gospel at Home”. Put a little sticker, a drawing, a picture of Jesus on that day.  Have the calendar in a place where the whole family can see, and remind the family about it the day before and on the day.

Duration

The Gospel at Home does not have to be very long mainly when children are involved. You cannot expect a 5-year-old  to sit still for 20 to 30 minutes. Start with a few minutes and increase the time slowly.

Readings

Choose children’s books, preferably with stories about Jesus or with a moral and spiritual message. You can also read the New Testament of a Children’s Bible.

Helpers

Involve the whole family in the preparation of the Gospel at Home with each person having a job: someone to bring the book, water, cups, music, read, and do the opening and closing prayer. They are “Jesus’ Little Helpers.” Here comes the fun part with 10 suggestions on how to add a creative touch when doing The Gospel at Home with children.  Try one or more ideas since you know your child well and what works best for your family. Maybe you will feel inspired and come up with your own way of doing The Gospel in YOUR Home. 

Suggested Ideas:
  1. TENT – Do the Gospel at Home in a tent. Use a camping tent, improvise using sheets, or do it under a table. You can set it up at home, in the backyard, or anywhere you like it.
  2. TEA PARTY – Set up a small table with cups, little chairs, dolls, stuffed animals, all sitting around the table to listen to Jesus. Invite your child to have tea with Jesus. You can pretend to be drinking tea or have real tea with cookies after the prayer.
  3. JESUS’ CORNER – Dedicate a place in your house especially for doing the Gospel at Home. Decorate it with pillows, flowers, animals, and Jesus’ books. Involve the child in the decoration. Set up a very inviting and beautiful place for the child to participate.
  4. PICNIC WITH JESUS – Prepare a snack, have a blanket on the floor of the house or yard for a picnic with the family. When you finish the Gospel at Home, have a picnic with drinks and food. Ask children to share what they have learned while enjoying the picnic.
  5. FAMILY TIME – After doing the Gospel at Home, eat popcorn, order a pizza, watch a movie, play a game, do some arts and crafts. Do something fun and enjoyable with the family. Use this time to connect with your children, talk about the story you read, and what they learned.
  6. VIDEO – Most children like to use their phones and ipads, so use technology to create a video.  Record a video or audio of each family member talking about the story they read or what they liked best.
  7. ARTS – After the Gospel at Home, do some art activity (painting, drawing, collage) about what children learned from the story or text read. 
  8. PUPPETS AND SONGS – Depending on the children’s age, using puppets is an excellent tool for getting children’s attention and engaged when telling stories. Play music and sing inspiring and fun songs.
  9. PLAYDOUGH – After learning and talking about the story, children can use playdough to create a visual representation about the story or what they learned.
  10. ROLE PLAY – Act out the story. Be creative and make it fun using clothes, costumes, props, and everyone taking different roles.
Soon your children will be excited looking forward to having the Gospel at Home. Bring light and Jesus into your home in a joyful and creative way, involving the whole family!

Enjoy! Team Sembradores de Luz

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