Peter and I were walking home from morning Mass. Peter’s grandfather and father had just received their first Holy Communions a couple of months ago.
“Hey, Peter, let’s say a decade of the Rosary for Papa and Yeye as we walk.”
Peter loves to sing, so I sang “Hail (C, D) Mary (E, F), full (G) of (F) grace (E).” (notes in parentheses) Peter repeated after me. I did the rest as a fill-in-the-blank (Peter filled in the folowing words in parentheses). “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb (Jesus). Holy (Mary), Mother of (God), pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, (Amen).” “That’s number one we did, Peter.”
After each repetition, we did a bit of math like this, “We did one before, and we just did another one, so that makes (two).” After the last one we said, “We did nine before, and we just did another one, so that makes (ten).” If you carry along a string of ten pop-together beads, you could use them as tangibles to help your child keep track and count by handing him another bead to pop together as you complete each “Hail Mary” prayer. For a more advanced variation, you could take apart a set of 10 pop-together beads, by saying, “Ok, we have ten ‘Hail Marys’ to say” as you begin, handing him the string of 10 beads. After completing each one, have him take off one bead as you subtract to get the number left to go.
Eventually you can transition to a real Rosary, teaching your child to keep track of how many “Hail Marys” he’s already said, and how many he has left to go by moving his fingers along the beads. Saying the Rosary can be a beautiful way to introduce self monitoring, not to mention love of prayer as natural as a conversation on a walk.
And of course, I’m sure the Blessed Mother loves to hear from our children!