Ask M.E. #9 Children Fasting
My son struggles to fast on Fast Sunday. He'll just "forget" or sneak in and have a snack or whatever. I don't want to force fasting on my kids, but I feel like they need to learn this essential skill and it's not just going to happen spontaneously. We've taught him the reason behind fasting, but it doesn't change the outcome. How can I help him learn to fast?
One thing that has helped my kids choose to fast is to give them a concrete reason and time.
Talk with them the night before about who they know that needs help. Sometimes it's themselves, but younger kids do much better when it's someone else. Tell them that fasting is like a prayer with a "pretty please," and that when they fast for ___________ Heavenly Father can give __________ extra blessings.
Once they have a purpose and person to fast for, then give them a time. Perhaps you can say, "Let's fast until dinner tomorrow. We will have a special break-the-fast dinner at 3." That way it's shorter and special.
It's easier for kids to fast when there is a purpose and a clear time they have to do it for. We've had dinner as early as 2 (Linner) to help our children develop their physical and spiritual ability to fast. It's also good to follow up with them afterwards. Ask them how they felt, reassure them again of the power of fasting. And remember, fasting is a choice, and a child should never be forced to fast.
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