First Communion: preparing your child at home

A few weeks ago, a good friend asked me what I did to prepare my girls for First Holy Communion.  I started writing out an email to her and thought it might help others too.  So if one of your children will be receiving Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time, I hope these resources help you.

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Before you click away, this post isn’t just for homeschoolers.  It isn’t even just for kids who are being catechized at home.  This post is for any and all parents whose child will receive these holy sacraments.  If I may hop up on my high horse for a second, one of the reasons we have so many people leaving the Church is because they don’t understand the faith.  What a poverty, not to understand the richness of our own faith!  Parents have the primary responsibility to catechize their children and parish programs haven’t been able to replace that role, no matter how lovingly they tried to.  So don’t abdicate your responsibility, parents!  Pick one or several of the items below to supplement your child’s faith formation and begin having family discussions on the faith.

Okay, all done with the lecture.

First, I think it’s important to know exactly what you’re hoping your child will learn by the time his/her sacrament day arrives.  Here is my personal list.

A child shall know:

  • The life of Jesus and God’s infinite love for us
  • The 10 Commandments
  • The biblical basis for the Eucharist, including the True Presence
  • The forgiveness and graces that come through Reconciliation
  • How to receive the sacraments
  • Basic prayers, especially those related to the sacraments

Materials I used:

How I taught:

Mostly, I read aloud to my children, and then we talk about it.  That’s sort of my default role, in case you’re new around here. It helps me know what they’re learned, it includes any siblings nearby, and it takes ZERO prep.

If you’d like more specific directions, the book Preparing to Receive Jesus from CHC is really lovely.  It has lesson plans laid out week by week, with some crafts, etc.  If your family is crafty or learns better through doing, you may enjoy looking up crafts and lapbooks on Pinterest, etc.

Fall semester:

Each week we read:

  • 2 Bible stories (1 Old Testament, 1 New Testament)
  • 1 Chapter of Jesus, Our Life
  • 1 Question/Answer of A Little Book About Confession for Children

I prefer to have my children receive their First Reconciliation in the late Fall or early Winter before their First Holy Communion. Then he/she begins receiving it monthly with the rest of the family.  This way my kiddos have a good handle on one sacrament before moving on to the Big One.  

Spring Semester:

Each week we read:

  • 2 Bible stories (1 Old Testament, 1 New Testament)
  • 1 Chapter of Jesus, Our Life
  • 1 Lesson in St. Joseph First Communion Catechism
  • 1 Saint Story in Little Catechism on the Eucharist

If that list looks overwhelming, don’t worry.  We often do catechesis at bedtime, when everyone is relaxed and ready for bed.  It’s a very special time for all of us, and often allows for some really meaningful discussion.

I also want to emphasize that while there are certain things your child should know before receiving their sacraments, this is just the beginning of your family discussion on faith and morality. These conversations will hopefully happen over and over again over the course of his/her childhood, so don’t worry too much about “gaps” in learning.

That’s it, friends!  Did I miss anything?  Are there any other resources you use?  Any questions?

* A little note on the Little Catechism on the Eucharist: This book is very rich and has all sorts of credentials behind it.  I found the catechesis portion (the first third of the book) to be a little over the heads of my second graders.  I ended up reading that portion myself (and learned some things) and just read the saint stories aloud to the kiddos.  It would work nicely for a very precocious child, though.

Comments

  1. This is wonderful information, thank you so much. I have one question, and it’s not really relevant, but has been on my mind. How do you get bedtime “relaxed?” Because I think we do ok but it still turns into grief about who goes first for brushing teeth, kids wandering off and needed to be retrieved, etc. and it’s just not quite as relaxed as I’d like it to be.

  2. Great ideas in here! I’m gearing up my oldests first sacraments this year so I fully appreciate this post!!!

  3. Great ideas in here! I’m gearing up for my oldests first sacraments this year so I fully appreciate this post!!!

  4. This is such a helpful post! My oldest is just starting first grade this year, but this post has inspired me to start a First Holy Communion Pinterest board so I will have all the ideas and materials I need to start teaching these things in particular next year. Thanks for sharing this info.

    P.S. I’m really looking forward to meeting you in a couple of weeks at Edel! 🙂
    Amy @ Motherhood and Miscellany recently posted…Teaching Girls to Respect Themselves is Not Shaming ThemMy Profile

  5. you have a very beautiful little girl) my congratulations)