Reconciliation: What a Child Should Know

What kind of preparation does the child need in order to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation? The Church realizes that children are not yet adults and it only expects a child’s level of understanding from them. Below is a list of points that you can help the child understand in preparation for First Reconciliation.

  • The child should know God loves him or her.
  • The child should be able to tell the difference between right and wrong.
  • The child should understand that sin harms or breaks our relationship with others and with God. The child should know the story of the father’s love for the prodigal son. Stress stories of Jesus’ friendship with his disciples, how he told them to love one another, and even to forgive their enemies. Help the child see that some things he or she does hurt the feelings of others.
  • The child should experience forgiveness as a regular part of family life. Forgiveness in the family lets a child see that reconciliation is a normal part of every relationship.
  • The child should know that the sacrament offers God’s forgiveness.
  • The child should understand that he or she must be sorry for his or her sins.
  • The child should be able to tell the difference between ordinary everyday faults and serious sin.
  • The child should understand that the Sacrament of Reconciliation restores our relationship with God and renews our Baptism promises.
  • The child should know how to celebrate the Rite of Reconciliation.