The Sacrament of Reconciliation was formerly known as the Sacrament of Penance and is also still commonly referred to as a child's First Confession. The emphasis in preparing children for this sacrament is based on asking the children to reflect on times when they did not live as Jesus asked them. The children may, for example, draw a picture of a time when they did not show love for others. This picture is sometimes used by the child as a prompt to talk to the priest while they are receiving the sacrament.
Confessional boxes are no longer used, the child and priest sit to one side of the church. In the sacrament of reconciliation the children receive the grace of forgiveness and repentance. In order to receive their First Communion, children must first receive the grace of forgiveness and repentance and therefore most children will undertake the Sacrament of Penance sometime in the weeks prior to their First Holy Communion. There are a number of books available to help parents prepare their children for the Sacrament of Penance - click here for some suggestions.