4 Ways to Explain Lent to Your Child

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4 Ways to Explain Lent to Your Child
4 Ways to Explain Lent to Your Child

Lent is the period before Easter, a Christian holiday that commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Many Christians see these 40 days as an opportunity to change and get closer to God, but it can be difficult to explain the concept to a child. Young people may be intrigued by Jesus' death and confused by changes in routine and even resist the ideal of sacrifice in Lent. So it's good for you to discuss the details and traditions in a way that your children will understand, especially if you're going to adopt the period with them.


Method 1 of 4: Discussing Jesus' Death and Resurrection

Explain Slow to a Child Step 1

Step 1. Tell the story of Jesus' life

You have to talk about Christ often (not just during holidays) if you want your children to accept the Christian faith and its main traditions. Read about the life of Jesus in the Bible and look for books related to topics such as Lent and Easter in a bookstore or on the internet.

In the context of Lent, say that Jesus' birth and passage on earth had one purpose: to teach man to attain salvation and eternal life. Also point out that he accepted and dedicated himself to this mission despite suffering because of the eternal glory it would bring to all of us

Explain Slow to a Child Step 2

Step 2. Explain Jesus' death in an appropriate way to the children

You can talk about Christ's death without going into the bloodiest details of the crucifixion, which can frighten younger children. Emphasize the reasons for Jesus' sacrifice and that he gave up life on earth so believers could be saved.

  • If your children are very young, tell them that Jesus died and came back to life for us.
  • If they are a little older, add some details about Christ's death and resurrection. Make it clear that death is not the end, but the beginning of eternal life.
  • If your children are pre-teens or high school teens, you can explain the details of the crucifixion - as they can understand the symbolism of death and resurrection and its relationship to the salvation of mankind.
Explain Slow to a Child Step 3

Step 3. Explain the meaning of Easter

Tell your children that Easter is the most important celebration date in Christianity - more than Christmas - and that it involves much more than rabbits, eggs and chocolate. Easter Sunday commemorates Jesus' return from the dead. Talk about the concepts of resurrection and the afterlife as soon as possible, as they are fundamental to Christianity.

  • If your children are younger, tell them that the Easter celebration is a reminder of Jesus' love for us, as well as the way to eternal life he showed us.
  • As such, Lent should be a time of reflection and focus – one that prepares believers and helps them understand the power and glory of Easter Sunday.

Method 2 of 4: Describing the main days of Lent

Explain Slow to a Child Step 4

Step 1. Explain Ash Wednesday

Lent starts on Ash Wednesday. On that date, many Christians draw a symbolic cross on their foreheads with ashes. It represents human mortality, but it is not absolutely necessary - even more so with young children. Be pragmatic about tradition.

You can also focus less on death and more focus on the fact that the cross represents the main point of Lent: Jesus

Explain Slow to a Child Step 5

Step 2. Explain the meaning of the forty days

Tell your child that Lent lasts 40 days because that's when Jesus wandered in the desert, fasting, when he resisted Satan's temptations. Explain that your child has a chance to be like Christ during this time: resist temptation and draw closer to God.

Lent shouldn't be a "transition period" or anything like that, but a chance to put away distractions and focus on your relationship with the Lord

Explain Slow to a Child Step 6

Step 3. Honor Holy Week with the family

Your child should understand that the last week before Easter is even more important. Make that part clear to him.

  • Explain that Palm Sunday marks Jesus' entry into Jerusalem in the midst of the crowd, but that many of these people would betray him in a few days. Explain that this shows that anyone can succumb to evil temptations and turn their backs on God.
  • Use Maundy Thursday to tell the story of the night before Jesus died and how he decided to have the Last Supper with the "family" of disciples. You can even prepare a feast for your family that represents supper.
Explain Slow to a Child Step 7

Step 4. Talk a lot about Good Friday

The day Jesus died is sad for Christians, but it is important for younger people. Discuss the details of the crucifixion properly and focus on the sacrifice Christ made for all and for the glory he knew was to come.

If you are buying Easter eggs, make it clear that they represent the promise of new life and rebirth - and that they are not "bunny eggs"

Explain Slow to a Child Step 8

Step 5. End Holy Week on Easter Sunday

Explain to your children that the liturgy (or vigil, in some traditions) takes place on Saturday so that believers can focus only on Easter. Talk about the occasion with joy and enthusiasm and explain the symbolism of the eggs and the wonder of resurrection, salvation, and life with God after death.

  • In some traditions, Holy Saturday is also a day of fasting - and believers must prepare baskets of food for the priest to bless.
  • Finally, experience all the joy of Easter Sunday. Pray; sing; celebrate; go to church; spend the day with family etc.

Method 3 of 4: Teaching Your Children the Practices of Lent

Explain Slow to a Child Step 9

Step 1. Explain the fast

During Lent, Christians "fast" in various ways to approach and honor Jesus, who spent 40 days wandering in the desert. Still, this fast does not always involve food. There are other ways to make sacrifices and get closer to God.

  • Don't require your children to make large token sacrifices for 40 days. Still, you can teach them the concept and encourage them to follow the tradition - giving up candy and video games, for example.
  • This fasting period is also ideal for showing solidarity with people who have nothing to eat. Take your children to a shelter or other place where people are in need.
  • The rules of fasting (before age 18) and abstinence from the meat (before age 14) do not apply to young people in the Roman Catholic Church. They are stricter (and more variable) for the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
Explain Slow to a Child Step 10

Step 2. Encourage your children to repent of their sins

Tell them they will draw closer to God. They may not even understand the value of forgiveness at first, but they will become more mature people if they admit it and ask for forgiveness for their mistakes (fighting, swearing, eating candy at the wrong time, etc.).

Also say that they will feel good if they tell the truth and ask God for forgiveness

Explain Slow to a Child Step 11

Step 3. Teach your children the meaning of water

Water is essential to human life, but it also represents baptism and the washing of sins. Have a symbol around the house, such as a water bottle, and encourage your child to think and talk about its importance.

Explain that just as water can cleanse the body, Jesus is the "living water" that cleanses the soul

Explain Slow to a Child Step 12

Step 4. Explain that your children must have a close relationship with God

The eternal life of Christians depends on what they believe and do now. The Lord inspires people to have faith and expects them to be good to themselves and to others. It's easy to forget that, but Lent serves as a reminder.

Encourage your children to think of Lent as a way of getting closer to God. Explain that Jesus used the 40 days in the wilderness to get away from distractions and contemplate the Lord. They can also distance themselves from anything that is not beneficial during this period

Method 4 of 4: Living Lent with the Family

Explain Slow to a Child Step 13

Step 1. Give thanks for blessings with the family

You don't have to lecture your kids all the time, but it's good to talk-naturally-about the privileges you have that others don't. Tell them they should be grateful for everything.

Explain that your family can give up certain superfluous things during Lent because all of you have been blessed by God-and that they can honor him by helping those in need

Explain Slow to a Child Step 14

Step 2. Be an example to your children

Respect the meaning of Lent. Participate in all the rituals to transform the period into a time of approximation and reflection.

Put into practice what you teach. You have to sacrifice certain things if you expect your children to do the same. For example: give up social media and electronic games if they give up toys

Explain Slow to a Child Step 15

Step 3. Make spirituality a priority for the family

Read the Bible, pray and talk about Christianity with them. Buy children's books about Jesus, Lent and Easter - to make these concepts more interesting. You can even stage important events like the Last Supper or the empty tomb of Christ on Easter morning.

Encourage your children to do something like crosses, crowns of thorns and other symbolic projects. Search the internet for more inspiration

Explain Slow to a Child Step 16

Step 4. Prepare family Lenten meals

It's not because you're fasting that you need to prepare dull dishes. Do something your children like to encourage them to accept the symbols and rituals of Lent. Everything will be even better if they help.

  • Search the internet for recipes such as tuna casserole, salmon cakes and natural sandwiches.
  • Also find out about the typical dishes of Lent.
Explain Slow to a Child Step 17

Step 5. Encourage your children to help others

Let them decide what acts of kindness they will do and who they will help. So they will become more and more interested in the Christian spirit.

  • For example, if you have an elderly neighbor who doesn't go out much, your child can decorate a card or prepare a typical Easter dish to give to him or clean the yard and plant some flowers.
  • Explain that helping others is more Christian than giving up privileges.
Explain Slow to a Child Step 18

Step 6. Show your children that Lent is a noble and interesting time

Do not say that these 40 days are based on suffering, sacrifice and pain, but rather on reflection and family moments. Teach how important it is to love life and the miracles of the resurrection and the afterlife.

  • Don't talk about Lent with phrases like "We're going to take a month and a half to be sad about Jesus' death; then we're going to celebrate his resurrection."
  • Say something like, "Let's take this time to reflect on the sacrifice Jesus made for all of us, and be grateful for the eternal glory he has brought us."
Explain Slow to a Child Step 19

Step 7. Don't go back to your old habits after Easter

Show your children that Lent is the ideal opportunity for you to become better people and that these values ​​cannot end when it does.

Keep donating food to shelters, limiting the time you spend on your cell phone, talking, reading and thinking about Jesus, and spending time with your family


  • You can view fasting from a broader spectrum. Your children may give up a privilege, stop arguing with each other, or not give rude answers to their parents, for example.
  • Don't forget your children's age and maturity level. Don't frighten them with detailed and bloody discussions of the crucifixion and don't try to force them to do anything.

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