How do I get my 3-yr-old to pray?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-02-2006
How do I get my 3-yr-old to pray?
Wed, 08-11-2010 - 5:57pm

We've been praying in front of our 3-yr-old DS since he was an infant; mostly grace and nighttime prayers.

Rebeccawife since 2004, mommy since 2007<
Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Tue, 08-17-2010 - 3:43pm

You might be expecting too much of *this* 3yo. Or it could be any number of things: maybe the way you say prayers makes him uneasy, or he feels it's a delay to what he really wants to do, or you're aiming for his compliance rather than his developing a relationship with God, or who knows what, really! Though your question "How do I get my 3yo to pray" rather than asking "How can I teach my 3yo to pray" is kind of interesting....

When my oldest was 4yo, she hated saying prayers. I learned later that what she hated was my *voice* when I said prayers (apparently I didn't use my normal voice). I also realized I was taking too long, and I'm sure I also made too big a deal out of it ("we're praying to GOD now, isn't it wonderful that we're praying to GOD, please pay attention when you're talking to God," etc.). All perfectly normal first-time parent mistakes. On the bright side, she's 18 now and still showing signs of going to church when she goes to college in a couple of weeks, so I don't seem to have inflicted lasting damage with my ineptitude.

In retrospect, when she was small I should have just had us join hands before dinner and say, "God thank you for our food," or "God is good, God is great, bless the food upon our plate" or something very simple like that. At bedtime, I should have just had us kneel next to the bed and said, "Thank you Jesus for this day, and keep us always in your love." Very simple, no reciting, no "prayerful" voices, just a start to talking to Jesus. But since I wasn't raised that way, it didn't occur to me until much later.


Avatar for jamblessedthree
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Mon, 08-16-2010 - 7:56am

I agree with others, let him have a role in picking what prayers to say.



iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2003
Sun, 08-15-2010 - 10:33pm

Maybe let him choose what prayer he wants to say- that way he has some control and you still accomplish nightly prayers. win-win hopefully.


Avatar for i_florida04
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-16-2004
Sat, 08-14-2010 - 2:12am

Coloring, prayer & storybooks will help this age more than almost most anything else. Social games help keep the child's mind alert & awake.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Thu, 08-12-2010 - 12:40am

Sounds like you're doing a great job. The oldest is different