What to Do: 6 – 24 Months


  1. Encourage your child’s initiative and curiosity; reward effort more than success.
  2. Model an attitude of wonder and gratitude about human life and nature.
  3. Limit your child’s exposure to electronic media, including television and DVDs.
  4. Invite extended family members like grandparents, aunts and uncles, godparents and good friends to participate in the care of your child.
  5. Give your child an opportunity to make simple choices which are appropriate for his or her age and development.
  6. Limit children’s exposure to conflicting values and lifestyles depicted on TV, other media, and advertising.


  1. Talk to your child; name and explain what your child is observing or doing to the extent that he or she is able to understand.
  2. Tell or read your child stories that help your child learn about themselves, people and the world around them.
  3. Tell or read bible stories adapted for very young children and other simple children’s stories with faith themes, bible heroes, saints, and examples of Christian values.
  4. Model a routine for your personal prayer, study and spiritual growth as an individual and as a couple.
  5. Participate in formation, education and spiritual enrichment programs for adults and parents.
  6. Teach children to share, to be fair, and to be honest with friends and playmates.
  7. Teach children to respect nature as part of God’s creation.
  8. Teach your child the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behavior toward themselves and others.
  9. Accept your child’s natural curiosity about human bodies, but teach them the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behavior and touch.
  10. Be patient with your child’s behavior. Correct misbehavior by re-directing it toward more appropriate behavior.
  11. Encourage and praise your child’s efforts to learn and grow; do not set unrealistic expectations by comparing your child to siblings or other children.


  1. Encourage your child to express himself or herself with music, song, arts, crafts and play.
  2. Provide a good balance between structured and free play.
  3. Use simple prayers at meals and bedtime; invite your child to participate when they are able.
  4. Use religious symbols and objects (candles, pictures, statues, etc.) in family prayer and celebrations; explain these to your child to the extent that they are able to understand.
  5. Use simple blessings or prayers for special family occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.
  6. Establish family rituals to celebrate religious seasons and events like Advent and Christmas, Lent and Easter, feast days and holy days.
  7. Adapt or develop family customs and traditions which express religious faith and values.
  8. Establish a routine for your personal prayer, study and spiritual growth as an individual and/or as a couple.
  9. Read scripture as a family and discuss it together.
  10. Make an effort to resolve any conscious or unconscious conflicts you have with the Church.
  11. Model an example of church attendance and participation.
  12. Sit up front with your child and help him or her to focus on what is happening during Mass. Most priests are very welcoming to families. Only use the cry room if absolutely necessary.
  13. Talk about Mass afterwards and share ways that God spoke to you through His Word, the Homily, or in other ways.
  14. Encourage other families with newborns by reaching out to them, speaking to them at Mass and getting to know them.
  15. Model appreciation and respect for social, cultural and economic differences among people.
  16. Model an example of concern, respect and service to others, especially the less fortunate.
  17. Model times of personal prayer for your child and encourage them to pray to God in their own words.
  18. Model an expectation of experiencing the supernatural. Ask, seek and knock in persistent prayer and, expect that prayers are heard and will be answered by God. Witness to your child about His work in your life.

Are you ready to become a first witness?

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