One small way of making the Sacrament of Confession real for kids, is by having them feel the weight of our own sinfulness! (This was tested on teens and proved to be powerful). Without giving away the punchline, ask your kids to pair up (girls with girls, boys with boys)having one hold the other in a piggy-back fashion. Read out loud together a spiritual text on Confession or story from a Saint's life for approx. 5-10 minutes. Check in often with the child bearing the weight- ask him/her how they're feeling....how much longer do they think they can go on.... is the weight getting lighter or heavier as they get tired?
(For younger children, use a backpack and heavy items that are labeled with example sins. Discuss each sin as it is placed inside)
Finally, read out loud the "Prayer of Absolution" that the priest reads at the end of the Sacrament of Confession, and allow the kids to take their seats...thus releasing their burden. Introduce the idea that the weight we carry around can be our sins. What does it mean to be a sinner? What are examples of sins? (To keep a secret, lie or steal, or by doing something wrong without apologizing, to disobey our parents, use profanity, or speak bad about others)
Remember, only Christ was without sin - Discuss the medicine that the Church offers to all who desire to be healed through the Sacrament of Confession. Go one step further to ask if anyone has been to Confession and can share their experience... Lastly, schedule a time for each child/teen to confess.
Ten Spiritual Tools for Confession
1. Tune in by sitting alone with God.
2. Still yourself in silence and clear your thoughts from any daily tasks.
3. Read the prayers to warm up your attention to God.
I have sinned, Lord, forgive me. +God, be gracious to me a sinner.
4. Ask God to open your heart and reveal to you the things to confess.
5. Honesty takes courage. Approach with boldness in Christ.
6. Resist any embarrassment during the Sacrament.
7. Don't let shame get in the way from receiving God’s love.
Run to Him.
8. Don't be sorry that you are a sinner.
This should be of no surprise to you.
9. If you have sadness, be sorry that you have hurt God.
10. Seek to sin no more, not because you expect perfection from
yourself, but rather because you no longer desire to hurt yourself or God.
After Confession Prayer
+Almighty and merciful God, I truly thank you for the forgiveness of my sins; bless me, Lord, and help me always, that I may ever do that which is pleasing to you, and sin no more. Amen.”