4 Ideas to Help Families Observe Lent at Home Skip to next element

4 Ideas to Help Families Observe Lent at Home

CTA - Christ to All /Jan. 08, 2024
4 Ideas to Help Families Observe Lent at Home

By CTA - Christ to All

For families with children, the period leading up to Easter (the forty days of Lent that begin on Ash Wednesday or the six days of Holy Week) is all about anticipation. Easter Sunday is the most joyful day in the church calendar—when we celebrate our risen Savior and the eternal life he bought for us—so getting ready for the celebration is exciting!  

So how can you help guide and build the anticipation in your ministry this pre-Easter season? Here are some tips for creating a purposeful journey to the cross for the families you serve, giving them ideas for how to observe Lent at home.  

  • Set the scene. Many churches cover the crosses in their space or put away the banners proclaiming “Alleluia!” for the duration of the Lenten season. You can make Alleluia signs together in your ministry as an activity—or involve the whole family by asking kids to make one at home and bring it in. Then, roll up and put away the signs in a box at the beginning of Lent or Holy Week. Explain to the children that they will see them again when you celebrate Jesus rising from the dead: until then, you’re going to be learning about what Jesus did for us. 
  • Start a new routine. Kids love routines; establishing a new activity pattern for the pre-Easter season will help them realize how special it is.
    • If you are using a six-part activity during Lent, be sure to include that at the same point in your weekly meetings. 
    • Perhaps introduce a prayer time at the end of your Sunday school hour that includes parents and caregivers—simply invite the adults to arrive five minutes before official pickup and have them join your closing prayer or song. 
    • Choose a Lent song that you sing every session! Select a familiar option such as “Do You Know Who Died for Me?” or “Amazing Grace” and send the lyrics home with kids at the beginning of the season. Then be sure to sing the song together each time you meet before Easter. Using the same song every year will be a cue to kids that the Easter preparation season has begun.  
  • Send home an activity. CTA’s children's ministry products for Lent are designed specifically to suit the days before Resurrection Sunday. The New Day New Life 6-part Family Lent activity will be perfect. With six buildable components and activities, these fit perfectly into weekly meetings during Lent or into the six days of Holy Week. 
    • Work through one portion of the activity each time you gather the children before Easter. Print out copies of the accompanying devotion or activity and send it home with the kids so that they can share it with their families. 
    • Give the entire activity to families at the beginning of the season and encourage them to work through it together. Be sure to follow up with emails home and ask kids about it during your time together. 
    • Hand out the six-part activity to families on the Sunday before Easter. Explain how they can spend a little time going through it every day of Holy Week as a way to prepare their hearts as a family.  
  • Integrate children into the full experience of Holy Week. Some people are squeamish about telling children too much about Jesus’ sacrifice: the brutality and sorrow of Jesus’ death on the cross are hard enough for adults to process, let alone kids! However, it’s important for even the youngest disciples to know what came before the joy of Easter Sunday—and it’s important for adults in your ministry to remember that Christ’s sacrifice is for all people, not only those old enough to fully appreciate it. Think about incorporating the children in your ministry into some of the Holy Week activities of your church. 
    • If you host a Holy Thursday meal to remember the Last Supper, specifically invite families with kids to attend. Prepare for your younger guests with activity placemats and simple explanations of why you are observing the occasion. 
    • On Good Friday, encourage all ages to attend your service and have a breakout experience in a separate space for children. Maintain the somber and quiet tone of the main service in the kids’ room, explaining the significance of the day in the lives of Christians. 
    • If you hold an early-morning Easter vigil, make it family friendly. Have glowsticks for predawn darkness and snacks handy for wiggly early risers. Some churches walk from a cemetery or other green space to the church as part of their vigil; if yours is a walk longer than two blocks, borrow wagons and carts before the experience so that parents don’t have to struggle to transport their kids.  

However you choose to prepare the hearts of families in your ministry this season, God bless your efforts and those you serve!  

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