There are many special events in your child's life and a First Holy Communion may be one of them! This is a time in a young child's life where they are further welcomed into their church by receiving the Eucharist (the holy bread and wine) for the first time. Each week at mass, families will gather to celebrate their faith and love of God together and be as one family- receiving the Eucharist is another step in the journey and is meant to be special, influential and sacred.
During this time in your child's life, they are usually preparing to receive the sacrament by taking classes at church and also discussing their journey with you at home. Here are some simple ways to make this event even more meaningful for your child and bring you closer as a family as your child continues to grow into an independent and "grown up" person.
Don't put the emphasis on the PARTY but place it on the SACRAMENT:
Most people will have either a special dinner after communion is over, or possibly have a party at home for them. It's easy for kids to put their focus on the fun of the party and not on the event itself- be sure to talk with your child on what receiving the sacrament means. Ask them what they know about it and it makes them feel to be entering this new journey in their church. Be sure they understand the importance of this new step in their spirituality.
To further your child's understanding of this important moment, check out some of these books that are at a child's reading level: Today I Made My First Holy Communion by Dianne Ahern, Bible Stories: Communion Edition by Ann Ball or A Child's Guide to First Holy Communion by Elizabeth Ficocelli. Also, if you have a child with special needs, check out this Adaptive First Eucharist set. It comes with materials specifically designed for children with autism and other special needs; your church may even provided one for you.
Share some important Bible passages together:
As your child gets ready to take the sacrament, read some favorite Bible passages together that are important to you and your family. Bibles tend to have small fonts and difficult language for young kids to understand, so if your child having trouble following along, print out the passages in a larger font for them to read. Doing this can be the beginning of a special tradition your family has together!
Pass down something to your child:
Most parents want to get their child a gift for this special day but it doesn't have to be something that costs a lot of money. Look thought your family's relics from when you were younger and choose something that can be passed down from you to them. An old Bible, cross necklace or rosary are all great options. Explain the significance of the item, where it came from and when you got it. These types of presents mean so much more than a new video game or doll. Your child will love the item and the fact that you thought they were mature enough to take care of it.
Practice for the big day by making some bread at home:
Explain the importance and meaning of receiving the bread at church and then tie this further into your daily life by making some bread together. Use a favorite family recipe or just create a new one to love. Make sure that you encourage your child to participate in measuring the ingredients and kneading the dough. Show them that all that hard work of making homemade bread leads to a delicious and satisfying treat that the whole family can share! Your church may even make bread for this special day; call and ask for the recipe so you can try it with your family.
When your child is preparing for this special day, don't forget to share what this event means to you. Share the experiences of your first communion with members of your family. Help to get your child even more excited by having a "prayer" countdown a few days before the big event! Have your child share some of their favorite prayers and say them together as a family. This will help to build some wonderful memories for your child. Most importantly, remember that children learn by actions, not always words.
Show your child how you express your faith- however that looks. Invite your child into that part of your life and encourage them to develop their own ways of talking with God. These beginning build blocks of faith will eventually lead them to have these conversations with their child when they are all grown up.
Looking for a beautiful and special dress for the occasion? Check out our favorite Special Occasion Dresses by Biscotti and Kate Mack.
Photo Credits: Our Three Peas