Holy Week is a wonderful, special week for Orthodox Christians. It is also filled with long services that can be challenging to anyone, but especially to young children. This post offers suggestions for Holy Week that can help to make Holy Week more meaningful for children of different ages. There are many ideas here. They range from ideas of ways to prepare yourself for the week to ways to help your children understand the services to crafty things you can do together.
Check out these ideas if you have time, and apply any that you wish. Please do not let these many suggestions discourage you, especially if you do not have the energy to add “one more thing” to your family’s schedule! You know your family, and what each member needs the most. So live accordingly!
Above all, let us love our Lord and each other throughout Holy Week. May we live this week together, in awe of His compassion and mercy, and in gratitude for His great gift to us. May all that we do (or do not do!) prepare us to celebrate His holy resurrection!
Blessed Holy Week!
Here are resources to help your family learn more about Holy Week:
Find encouragement and ideas for Holy Week from an Orthodox mama here: http://www.theorthodoxmama.com/children-during-holy-week-tips-for-parents/
Read/study up on the services ahead of time:
Find brief descriptions of each service of Holy Week here: http://www.antiochian.org/1175027131 Find background information, customs, and scripture references for each of the services of Holy Week here: http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith8432
Find ideas for helping children to navigate the services here:
Print this guide to the week’s services, complete with helpful links to sites that can support your family’s journey through Holy Week: http://www.goarch.org/archdiocese/departments/family/files/lent/files/folder.2014-03-20.8273141169/holyweekguide.pdf
Find suggested highlights for you and your children to look for in each Holy Week service, here: http://orthodoxeducation.blogspot.com/2010/03/holy-week-for-kids.html?m=1
Print this Daily Guide to Holy Week to read and study with your children before each service that you attend: http://lent.goarch.org/bulletins/documents/8.5x11_JourneyToPascha_1.0.pdf
Here’s a free printable “passport” with a colorable icon for each day of Holy Week: http://www.themccallums.org/michelle/2015/04/02/holy-week-passport/
Find ideas of activities and other ways to help your children learn about, celebrate, and participate in Holy Week here: https://orthodoxchristianparenting.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/holy-week-activities/
Consider making these for your young children (or godchildren) to handle during Holy Week. A “new” mini-box each day will make the week more special and meaningful to the little ones. http://jmrockhill.blogspot.com/2014/04/holy-week.html
Create a scrapbook for Holy Week, as suggested here: http://orthodoxeducation.blogspot.com/2009/03/holy-week-scrapbook.html. Consider adding one page each day, and allowing younger children to take it with them to look at in the car or in church during Holy Week.
This cached webinar from GOARCH on Observing Holy Week as a family offers fabulous ideas and is well worth the time it takes to listen in: https://youtu.be/2MZ_PiUBsAE
Here are recommendations for books that you can read together as a family during Holy Week: http://www.theorthodoxmama.com/the-lenten-journey-best-childrens-books-for-lent-and-holy-week/
In case you missed this post on the cross of Christ and leading children through Holy Week: https://orthodoxchristianparenting.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/on-the-cross-of-christ-and-leading-children-through-holy-week/