I happened to be sitting behind a family with several young children at church a few weeks ago and overheard a exchange between mother and son after communion. Most Catholics kneel and pray after receiving communion. Upon returning to their pew the young mother in front of me told her son, who was about 7 or 8 years old, to kneel and pray. The son told his mother that he did not have anything to pray for. His mother responded, "Then pray for mommy."
"Why do I need to pray for you?"
"Mommies always need prayers," she replied. Upon which her son knelt down on the kneeler, folded his hands and began praying fervently.
Afterwards, his father asked him what he prayed about. The son told him about his prayers for mommy and several other people.
I was touched to say the least and felt so blessed to have witnessed this exchange. What a wonderful example of how to teach children the importance of prayer. That child was learning not to pray because his mother said so, but to pray because if nothing else, his mommy needed his prayers.
Remember this exchange the next time your child asks you why he should do something. "Because i said so" may be adequate, but you'll be missing an opportunity to instill in your child the value behind the action.