It’s a bit overwhelming, isn’t it?
I don’t know about you but I have been overwhelmed lately with the onslaught of information coming at me and changes happening to me and my family as well as the world around me. While it’s amazing to step back and see the plethora of both fun and academic resources for families as they enter into the world of digital learning and no playdates it also feels daunting – like you should be doing it all. Perhaps even reading this feels like a must do rather than a should do, if that’s the case; pause, take a breath, and come back later. Partnering with you is not meant to overwhelm you but equip and encourage you.
In an effort to do just that – partner with you as parents without overwhelming you – I’ve read and boiled down countless articles and listened to oodles of podcasts and created a MEME. I hope you enjoy it and find it to be helpful:
Model authentic faith
Okay – it’s not an actual meme but rather an anagram. But if you are anything like me, you have that one friend who posts A LOT of memes and so hopefully each time you see one you will be reminded of these four things.
Maintain routine as much as possible
We are all trying to figure out this new (temporary) reality so it’s true that grace and flexibility are needed but we also know that kids feel safest in consistency and routine. This time feels scary, there is so much unknown and we are all entering into new territory so one of the most important and valuable things we can do as parents is to help make our kids feel safe. That means as much as possible keep things the same and maintain the status quo. Don’t throw the rulebook and playbook out in this time rather just hold it a little looser. Explain the changes and reasons behind them as they come up, it might seem like your 3 year old can’t understand or your 13 year old doesn’t care but explain them anyway. Doing this will help them process changes in a healthy way and allow space for them to ask questions or express their feelings (see empathize for more on this!).
Empower kids to take control in the midst of chaos
When things feel out of control our emotions and behaviors tend to spiral – and we are adults. Now imagine what it could do to a child who is still learning how to control their emotions and behaviors. We all want our kids to make wise choices (in fact it’s one of the basic truths in Orange!) so let’s empower them to do that in this time. There are plenty of choices we can offer to them:
what would you like for dinner?
would you like to eat inside or outside?
what art activity would you like to do today?
would you like to play race-cars or Legos?
We can also remind our children what is in their control: their hygiene (so much hand washing…), their sleep habits, the way they cough and sneeze, their chores, etc. and empower them to be responsible for it in new ways. Older kids can also understand that their attitude and actions are in their control, younger kids can start having that idea introduced.
Empower kids in new ways during this time. Just remember to have grace, on them and on yourself!
Model authentic faith
Whatever phase of life your child(ren) are in they need you to model authentic faith for them. Authentic faith is when we trust God in a way that transforms the way we love God, love ourselves, and love others. There are 4 faith skills that can help kids (and adults!) grow in their authentic faith:
Discover God’s word together as a family. The more time you hear from God the more you learn to trust him.
Talk with God. Pray for your kids, pray with your kids, model what prayer (and a prayer life) looks like. Prayer changes the way we interact with God others, and ourselves.
It’s important to know how to talk about your faith. This is something even adults struggle with. Have conversations about your relationship with God together as a family. You’ll learn a lot about your kids faith (and your own!).
Worship God together both in worship and in service. Service looks different in this time, it might even look like inaction, but we can still serve one another in our families. Service helps kids see how their love for God impacts their love for others.
PSA: You don’t need to figure out HOW to do this all on your own. Orange (Park Kids’ curriculum) provides a ton of resources. If you don’t have it, download the Parent Cue app today. In this time of @ home church, the Orange videos provide a great opportunity hear the story and worship together as a family. We will also be providing activities, prayers, and conversations to go with each lesson every Sunday so be on the lookout!
Many kids I know are just now starting to feel the impact of and begin processing everything that is happening. There are a ton of great resources out there about how to have conversations with your kids about this including these two from Parent Cue:
As parents we want to be empathic towards all of our kids’ experiences, not just those that relate to the Coronavirus. When we empathize with our kids, we allow space for them to feel the big feelings and ask the big questions. One of the best and simplest things you can do is make yourself available to your kids, let them know you are here to talk and to listen, create space in your schedule to slow down and intentionally be with them. And remember:
- It’s important to validate their feelings while reassuring them with truth
- Remain predictable and consistent in our responses in order to build trust
- Remain calm, speak in a way that is nurturing and affectionate
- Ask for forgiveness when your response isn’t perfect
So there it is:
Model authentic faith
It is my sincere hope that this was a helpful resource. Please reach out to me with any concerns or struggles you may be having a family (you that you hear other families are having). We want to partner with you always but especially in this unique time as we navigate these waters together.
Park Kids Coordinator