Monday, March 25, 2013

Preparing My Toddler For Easter

I've been pretty lazy about teaching Sly about Easter.  During Advent, I was really on top of implementing different devotions and traditions, and explaining them in ways he could understand.  I read Sly many versions of the Christmas story, let him play with a couple different nativity sets, had him add "hay" to the manger.  By the time Christmas rolled around, I was confident that he had a pretty solid understanding - at least for a two year-old - of what it all meant.

But this Lent, I haven't even tried to get Sly involved.  He's too young to be able to give anything up, or even participate in abstaining from meat.  So I haven't bothered to mention those aspects to him.  We've been praying the Rosary regularly again, but I haven't explained what prompted it.  Lent is supposed to focus not just on prayer and fasting, but also on almsgiving.  That would have been easier to involve Sly in...but I just didn't think about it.

He has said to me a few times, "It Lent, Mommy."  I know he has no clue what that means, but it is cute, and it tells me that at least he's picking up something from listening to our conversations.

But how do you explain Lent to a toddler?  How can I explain Jesus' death, when Sly is too young to grasp the concept of death?  And harder still, how to teach him about the Resurrection, which is a difficult thing even for adults to understand?

I think we have a couple books about Easter packed away, but I haven't dug out any Easter decorations yet.  Maybe we'll take a look at them this weekend while we dye our eggs.

Anyways, it's tempting to beat myself up for not being some kind of "Catholic super mom", but I think it would actually be prideful to expect myself to be.  Yes, I probably could have done more to prepare his little heart for Easter.  But as long as we've been consistent on slowly teaching him how to love God,  how to obey his parents, and how to pray...we're doing enough, I think.  He's only two-and-a-half!

And I remembered an incident which allowed me to see how much Sly is able to figure out, even without my help.  When our new missal arrived a few weeks ago, I sat down with Sly to show him some of the pictures.  On one page was a scene of the Crucifixion.  Sly described it to me, saying, "Jesus on cross.  Jesus have boo-boos."  Turning the page, we saw a drawing of Christ risen from the grave.  Sly said, "Jesus happy now."  <heart melting>

And I'm perfectly satisfied with that level of understanding from him right now.


  1. My good friend posted a couple times about Lent with her toddler boys. The posts are here:
    I don't do much with my little man being that he's only 7 months old, but I thought she had some good insight! :)

  2. Pippa wants to read the Easter books we got at the library over and over again but I don't know if she connects it to an Easter celebration that is coming yet. It's really hard to find Easter books for this age group that aren't pretty much purely and simply about Easter egg hunting. I was pretty disappointed that even the book that got recommended on, I think Catholic Culture or maybe NC Register, was completely devoid of any religious symbolism at all. (Tomie Paola's My First Easter.)

    She LOVES "Duck and Goose, Here Comes the Easter Bunny". She's even been sleeping with that book...

  3. You are doing perfect. Constant teachings as he grows will be just enough. He may not get it now but one day it will and the Lord will be so happy you are raising a little one to love him.

  4. OK, what "Adventures with Little man" are doing just fine! The Lord is so happy NOW that you are raising him with such focus on HIM.