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How would you explain this to a 5 year old?

Tomorrow we're going to visit my aunt and her family (husband and two kids who are 5 and 3). They're only three hours away, but we don't see them often at all - the last time, I think, was about a year and a half ago! I believe my son has only met them the one time - well, aside from when he was born, but he obviously doesn't remember that!

This particular part of my family is LDS. We're not religious at all. I remember growing up, when we would go to visit this part of my family, my sisters and I would feel very awkward when they would pray at dinners and stuff... but other than that we didn't really have a problem. We were raised Christian for part of our upbringing (we stopped going to church when I was about 10) so we understood praying and things like that.

I'm fairly certain that my son will not understand. He also has a vocabulary that consists of things that, in my opinion, a 5 year old shouldn't say - things he picked up on from his dad's ex-girlfriends kids, who are 8 and 10 and didn't really have a positive upbringing (but we won't get into that). He'll sometimes should "OH MY GOD" in a really obnoxious voice, for example. It drives me crazy, and I usually just have to ask him not to say stuff like that... but hey, he's 5, so he'll just say it anyway. He's a pretty loud kid and tends not to have an "off switch" - sometimes quieter kids look at him like he's crazy! He got that from me I guess... haha!

I'm thinking of just "prepping" him for what he can expect for our little visit before we go tomorrow, or while we're in the car. But I'm not entirely sure what to say.

Any ideas?

Answer Question

Asked by AdensMama0308 at 4:43 PM on Dec. 13, 2013 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 24 (18,609 Credits)
Answers (5)
  • Say before we eat, they are going to bow their heads and pray, just be quiet until I say not to, deal?

    Answer by 2kids2dogs2cats at 4:52 PM on Dec. 13, 2013

  • Aden, we're going to see some family that has different beliefs than us. There is nothing wrong with having different beliefs. They will pray before meals, and that's ok. You don't have to, but you DO have to still still and be quiet while they pray. You also need to mind your manners and control the volume of your voice while we're there. You know what *I* expect from you. This is a time for your very best manners and behavior, ok?

    Answer by Rosehawk at 4:57 PM on Dec. 13, 2013

  • Rose said it much better!

    Answer by 2kids2dogs2cats at 5:04 PM on Dec. 13, 2013

  • I think Rosehawk covered it. If you're not wanting to get into details over religion and believes, then maybe just pick up from "They will pray before meals..." and take it from there.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 6:07 PM on Dec. 13, 2013

  • I think it's a good idea to prep kids for what they'll be coming in contact with, as if you were a tour guide prepping your tour group on the customs or expectations for the scenario they'll be encountering.

    That's the approach I'd take. Not overly apologetic or "anxious," but matter-of-fact & plain.

    Respond to questions that comes up.

    Keep in mind whether he's familiar with certain terminology. If he won't know what "pray" means then literally describe what they will do (as in the first response...let him know that when they gather at the table for dinner, they probably will bend their heads down & close their eyes, and one of them will say some words thanking God for the meal, before anybody eats.) Let him know what he should do at that time.

    I also recommend that you try to reconcile yourself to potential awkwardness if he blurts out something that blatantly "outs" the fact that he's getting a non-religious upbringing!

    Answer by girlwithC at 7:58 PM on Dec. 15, 2013

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