The Family Rosary: Why is it SO Hard?

by | Oct 1, 2019 | Liturgical Living, october | 10 comments

Happy October! In honor of the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on October 7th, and the whole month of October, which is dedicated to the Rosary, this month’s Catholic All Year Liturgical Living video is about . . . saying a family Rosary. We know we should be doing it, but why is it so hard to actually, ya know, do it?

Video by Elizabeth Mirzaei, and books by Ignatius Press! Stay tuned to the end of the show for some recommendations of a few of my favorite saint biographies. Get 25% off of my recommended books through the end of November at with the code CAY1019

Most Catholics are probably familiar with all the good reasons to say the Rosary: Our bishops have officially asked us to say a daily family Rosary, popes and saints have encouraged it for centuries, Our Lady has specifically asked it of us in multiple apparitions. There is a plenary indulgence available to us EVERY DAY (subject to the usual conditions) for saying the Rosary in a church, family, religious community, or group. We know we should be doing it.

So why do so many of us . . . not? Well, from what I hear, and from my own experience, it’s mostly because of three reasons:

TIME: I know time is an issue for a lot of families, ours included, so our approach is to fit a family rosary in whenever and wherever we can. Very often, this means in the car. We do a family rosary on any long car ride. After all, we’re strapped in there anyway, with nothing better to do!

PUSH BACK FROM KIDS: It’s easy for parents to think our kids should just naturally want to pray, and if they don’t we don’t want to spoil it for them by making them. But then I think about how my kids also don’t want to wear their seatbelts, or do their schoolwork, or brush their teeth, and I realize that it’s not a piety issue, it’s a parenting issue. So we present saying the Rosary as a family activity that members of the family must participate in. If they don’t, they get a couple reminders, then they incur the same sorts of consequences as they would for breaking other family rules. What they begin doing out of obedience, they can learn to do out of love.

BOREDOM: When the rosary feels boring, and yes, sometimes it does, I remind myself that no where does it say we have to like it, it just says a lot of places that we should do it. When your mom asks you to clean your room, she doesn’t really care whether you enjoy it or not, she just wants you to do it. And then, once your room is clean, maybe you can see that she was right.

And as much as it can feel like a chore to start a family Rosary, we are always, always glad to have listened to Mama Mary once we’re done!

Get the Catholic All October printable PDF booklet here, featuring prayers and instructions for saying the Rosary.

Or here as a paperback on Amazon here.

The Catholic All Year Compendium is available here.

Use code CAY1019 for 25% off this month’s recommended books by Ignatius Press at . . .
Hail Mary board book by Maite Roche.
Let’s Pray the Rosary by Mauricette Vial-Andru.

Related reading here:

Why I Bother With the Rosary

How We Say a Family Rosary

Our Father Who Art in Stop Hitting Your Sister: praying with regular kids

Related products here:

Rosary Quotes Printable Set

Rosary Prayers and Instructions Printable Booklet

Graphic Rosary: One Page Printable Follow Along Rosary With Prayers

We love the rosaries we have from The Catholic Woodworker.

And soft, unbreakable kid rosaries by ChewsLife (Note: the one the girls are playing tug-of-war with isn’t broken! The rosary has a soft clasp for safe release, and pops right back together.)

My nursing dress (in which I am actually nursing in some of those couch shots!) is from H&M.


  1. Katie

    What are your prayer expectations for the different age groups in your family? At what age do you require the children to say the prayers, instead of sitting quietly? And how wiggly do you let the toddlers get? My husband and I keep on going back and forth on this issue – If we’re too strict we just spend the whole rosary being distracted by correcting our children, but if we’re too relaxed about it, it also gets crazy and distracting!

    • Kristen

      Once they’re 5 we expect them to say the Rosary. Our little ones “play” with holy things during prayers. We do expect them to be quiet and that means one of us usually sits near them on the floor. The other parents sits by the 5 y/o. We say our family Rosary no matter what on sundays. I say a Rosary everyday (a lot of times in the car) and alot of times they join, but are not required

    • Kendra

      Right, that’s the dilemma! We require school-age kids to sit in one seat and say the prayers loud enough for others to hear. Younger kids can walk around and can participate or not, but they can’t be disruptive. When we are saying the Rosary at home in the evening, little kids just get put to bed quickly if they aren’t able to handle it. But we prefer to start with everyone in the room when possible, so everyone has some familiarity with it from an early age.

  2. Michelle

    If you pray a rosary in the car with part of the family, do you pray another rosary in the evening with the rest of the family?

  3. Dawn

    Any books for grown-ups about the Rosary that you would recommend? 🙂

    • Courtney

      As a devotion I greatly prefer the Liturgy of the Hours to the Rosary. Am I disobeying the Bishops and Mary if I choose to do that instead?

      • Kendra

        That’s an interesting question. The Liturgy of the Hours is a required devotion for ordained persons. The Rosary seems like a substitute for laypeople. And nowhere are we *required* to say the Rosary, just requested. But I would think that a layperson doing the Liturgy of the Hours would be fulfilling the spirit of the Rosary request.

        • Courtney

          Ok, thanks! Also, I hope that my tone came across curious, not snarky.

          • Thomas ONeil

            Pope benedict said: Dear friends, in these recent catecheses I wanted to present to you certain Psalms, precious prayers that we find in the Bible and that reflect the various situations of life and the various states of mind that we may have with regard to God. I would then like to renew to you all the invitation to pray with the Psalms, even becoming accustomed to using the Liturgy of the Hours of the Church, Lauds in the morning, Vespers in the evening, and Compline before retiring.


  4. Mary

    Our kids both lead a decade (they are 5 and 3. After a few weeks of us praying as a family, they naturally started praying along so now they lead. We help them sometimes and they definitely are wiggly but for the most part they understand that this is a time to be quiet and sit. After their own decade, we don’t make them say the prayers and we do it before bed and often times they are really sleepy and don’t last the whole 15 minutes of prayer. We have experienced lots of fruits of praying the rosary as a family! It was intimidating at first, but after a full year it has become normal. We also pray in the car if we have a long ride. It’s always part of our evening routine though.

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Hi! I’m Kendra.

For twenty years now, I’ve been using food, prayer, and conversation based around the liturgical calendar to share the lives of the saints and the beautiful truths and traditions of our Catholic faith. My own ten children, our friends and neighbors, and people just like you have been on this journey with me.

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