Several years ago I learned from a friend a great way to do an Examination of Conscience with children before going to bed. (You will know when they are old enough to try this with them.) We prayed this way with our younger four children.
My husband or I would say, “Okay, close your eyes and think about your day.” (very short silence)
We would start out by having each child thank God for some blessings from the day.
Then we would ask them:
- “When was someone kind to you today?” (short silence) Then let each one share.
- “When were you kind to someone today?” (short pause) Each would share.
We would respond positively like, “Great, wow, that was so nice,” and together thank God for that.
Then we would say,
- “Think about when maybe you weren’t so kind today.” On that one, we let them keep silent unless they wanted to say something.
- “Okay, let’s tell Jesus we are sorry for that and ask him to help us do better tomorrow.”
We usually ended with the Act of Contrition prayer, which was a great way for them to learn it.
That was it. Unless we sang a song or something. It did not take long. We kept it short.
Sometimes I still use this format for myself to examine my conscience at night. It’s simple, but it does the job!
Mary Ann / Mother Hen