Lent and Easter
in the Domestic Church

Children's Examination of Conscience

Peter Fournier and Catherine Fournier

Page 23 in "Lent and Easter in the Domestic Church"

Children should also be taught that an important part of preparation for confession is an examination of conscience, whether it is their first or their fortieth. This is not something they must memorize; their examination of conscience is to help them remember all the things they want to tell Jesus. It is even more important than the weekly phone call to Grandma or the letter to Saint Nicholas during Advent!

It is easy, though, to be distracted or forgetful while doing an examination of conscience. For this reason, lists of recommended questions or meditations are created. The basic outline usually follows the Ten Commandments. These also provide a good framework for teaching your child about confession and teaching an early or simple definition of sin. The following is an examination of conscience created for children. Even this examination of conscience can be bit dry for younger children. As a parent you will probably want to add some specifics. For example, "Did I feed the fish/dog/cat/ferret/gerbil/bird/cricket every day?" if your child has a pet.

Responsibilities to God

  1. Have I prayed every day?
  2. Have I prayed my morning and night prayers?
  3. Have I prayed with my parents and family?
  4. Have I been moody and rebellious about praying and going to church on Sunday?
  5. Have I asked the Holy Spirit to help me whenever I have been tempted to sin?
  6. Have I asked the Holy Spirit to help me do what is right?

Responsibilities to Others

  1. Have I been obedient and respectful to my parents?
  2. Have I lied or been deceitful to them or to others?
  3. Have I been arrogant, stubborn, or rebellious?
  4. Have I talked back to parents, teachers, or other adults?
  5. Have I pouted and been moody?
  6. Have I been selfish toward my parents, brothers and sisters, teachers, or friends?
  7. Have I hit anyone?
  8. Have I held grudges or not forgiven others?
  9. Have I failed to treat other children with respect; have I made fun of them and called them names?
  10. Have I used bad language?
  11. Have I stolen anything? If so, have I returned it?
  12. Have I performed my responsibilities?
  13. Have I done my homework?
  14. Have I done my household chores?
  15. Have I tidied up my room and my toys when asked?
  16. Have I been helpful and affectionate toward my family?
  17. Have I been kind and generous with my friends?