Catholic Activity: Preschool Parent Pedagogy: Sorrow for Sin
It is important to instill in your child, beginning at a very young age, an awareness and sorrow for sin. This excerpt from Religion in the Home for Preschool Children gives very sound advice to parents regarding this aspect of religion training for their children.
In ending this pamphlet for the year, we think that we should say a few words on the subject of sin.
In all the suggestions we have made on such matters as truthfulness, overcoming tantrums, honesty, obedience, we have made the point that we try to train the child to be good because he loves his dear Lord Jesus. Such is the highest motive.
When the child misbehaves, we try to make him yield for Jesus' sake, and every time he conquers himself for Jesus' sake, he has really experienced a little of what we call sorrow for sin.
By the time a child is five years old, this sorrow for having acted in a way that our Lord would not like, or for having failed to "copy Jesus," can be expressed in an Act of Contrition.
Seize upon some occasion when the child has been naughty and is feeling sorry, and have him say after you, "Dear Lord, I am very sorry for having displeased You. I will try to be a better child." Repeat this on occasion, and the little one will soon realize that he must ask pardon for naughty deeds.
Even before the age of five, from three up, parents can often have the child say even simpler words, like, "Dear Jesus, I am sorry; I will be good." The habit of repentance can begin quite early.
Activity Source: Religion in the Home: Monthly Aids for the Parents of Pre-School Children by Katherine Delmonico Byles, Paulist Press, 1938