It is our belief that during adversity we have an unparalleled opportunity to gain new and life-giving perspective; perspective that brings God’s grace and truth to life in any circumstance. Here are some ways you can support your kids during this time:
1. Help them find their security in the Lord, not earthly things
Over the next few weeks (and perhaps months) we’re going to be pressed like never before to understand that reality is ultimately not about earthly circumstances. It is about eternal perspective and promises. Though hard to put in practice, we encourage you to join us in the discipline of reminding ourselves about this attitude, even choosing to find joy.
The world will certainly throw challenges at your kids long after they are out from under your care. What you model during a crisis may be one of your most potent teaching opportunities to prepare your kids for a life of faith that overcomes trials.
Easier said than done, but here are a few ideas:
- Memorize Bible verses as a family
- Play worship music during the day
- Spend time in the Word daily
- Get outside and marvel at God's creation
- Recite scripture when you feel anxious
The current situation has given us unique opportunities to be together – to make memories so that years from now your kids will remember how resilient their family is and some of the interesting things they did. Here are a few practical ideas you can utilize now for parenting during a pandemic (or anytime!):
- Make sure to regularly build in times to laugh.
- Consider more frequent board games and popcorn.
- Daily outdoor adventures in open spaces.
- If you are doing school at home with your kids, remember that their connection and felt safety is more important than academic achievement.
- Include your kids in making plans to do something fun the next day.
- If sensible, make the fun be about blessing and serving others. This gives kids something to look forward to – which helps mitigate pervasive stress. It also gives you practical opportunities to share Jesus’ love with neighbors.
3. Help them understand the situation in terms they can understand and help them find ways to be a blessing to others
The less kids understand about change, the more they tend to be anxious. And the more they forget (along with us) that God is always up to something…and it’s always something good. As you embrace such truth, help your kids learn right alongside you about God’s presence in adversity.
It's good to talk with your kids about what's going on and how God can bring good out of a dark situation. Perhaps you can say, “It’s hard to understand, but God is with us in this! This is a new kind of germ that the doctors don’t understand yet. And they’re worried that it seems worse than other germs. So they are making rules to help keep people safe. It’s hard isn’t it? But we’ll make the best of it. God is with us!”
Then ask them to repeat this in their own words. Try saying some short prayers together. Keep it simple and light. Work so it begins to feel normal and natural for the kids to talk about God and pray about it.
Knowing that God uses all things for good, wonder together as a family how you could be a blessing to others.
- Consider painting pictures or sending cards to an older person who may be experiencing loneliness due to social isolation.
- Work with your kids to make a daily schedule that includes work, learning, play, or rest. Knowing what’s coming will reduce everyone’s stress.
- Get as much big muscle movement in during the day as possible.
In seasons of stress we’re all more inclined to sin. Parenting during a pandemic is no exception! At the end of the day, the corrective solution to all of the problems we face is to confess our sin and lean into God’s mercy and grace. Be transparent with your kids about your own struggle with this. Grace is needed for all.
In some respects, it’s when life is hard that we can best understand our need for a Savior. So when kids seem more unruly than usual, find your way into God’s grace. Perhaps like this: “I know it’s hard when life is so different. And I’m sorry I’ve been more stressed and even sinned against you by my impatience. Will you forgive me?” We will have opportunities to speak about the problem of sin and selfishness, learning to be content in difficult circumstances, and the great grace of Jesus for all.