The kids like to think of the end of the road, the reward, rather than focusing on the road to get there. Don't we know it! For example, "We'll get McDonald's for lunch, if you behave during Mass!" Uh...yeah. Try getting them to behave with the thought of chicken nuggets and cheap toys in their head. Rather than good behavior, you'll most likely get "How much longer? Is it over yet? I'm soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo hungry...." I try not to do too much bribing. It just makes them think that they can negotiate with you. ("If I put my clothes away can I buy a new video game?" Uh no.) Instead I've started to try to make the road more interesting for them. It's a lot of work sometimes, having to think ahead and plan things out, but it's worth it to see them proud of their work. And it makes the reward more satisfying.
So anyway...I decided to make Easter about the journey. You can't just hop-hop-hop through the days of Lent not thinking about why we're headed for the Easter celebration. They need to know what's going on and why we're going to celebrate Easter. About a month ago I ordered a book through Catholic Heritage Curricula called A Year with God: Celebrating the Liturgical Year. It has a ton of great activities for every season of the year. I wish I had ordered it sooner! (The price tag was what hindered me, but it's been well worth it!) There is a calendar to count down the days to Easter. Everyday I'll print out activities from the Holy Heroes Lent Adventure, and put them in their own folder so they have something new to learn and color everyday. I also did a little hands-on research and came up with some other fun stuff to do, like making pretzels! This is a really great explanation about the Lent-related origin of pretzels. And on allrecipes.com you can find the recipe for Mall Pretzels. They're yummy, by the way! The hands on stuff helps solidify the meanings for the kids, and gives them something fun to do. I'm really looking forward to our journey toward Easter this year.