The three traditional Catholic practices during Lent are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Long term fasting during Lent can be difficult for young children. So instead of giving up something for all of Lent they can give up something different each week.
Of course one of the most common things for young children to give up is sweets. So encourage them to give up candy and soda for a week, or some similar types of sweets.
It is also important that they understand why Catholics give things up during Lent:
- To learn how to control our own desires
- To free up some money for almsgiving
- To be in solidarity with the poor
- To think about what Jesus gave up for us – His life
- To prepare ourselves for the joy of the celebration of Easter
So it is important that parents talk to young children about the reasons for giving something up also. If they don’t understand the meaning of fasting they might grow to resent it rather than embrace it.