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Raising Disciples During COVID-19

Seemingly overnight, parents around the world have become more than our kids’ caregivers and spiritual developers. We have become their everything: teacher, coach, tech support, playmate, snack supplier, and much more. So, what are we to do? Do we need to run a full homeschooling experience? Do we have to jump when they are bored in an attempt to entertain? Do we have to create Pinterest worthy snacks?

Turn up the volume as I answer in a very loud, “NO.”

Breathe deeply, parents. Whether we’re all in this for a couple of weeks or for a few months, know that your role is to love. Be your child’s calm. Their emotional support. Sure, provide their basic needs – of course! But don’t feel like you need to do everything. Your children will be okay without learning the next unit in math or language arts. They will pick up all of the subjects when regular life resumes again. The best you can provide for them is consistency and support.

Jesus does this for us. When we are hurting, stressed, anxious, worried, tired, he is our consistency and support. He is our lifeline. He is our anchor.

When we lean on Jesus, we are better prepared for our kids to lean on us. But I reiterate, we do not need to be all things to them all the time. We need to be in this for the long haul. So, what do we do?

We provide structure. Don’t get me wrong, flexibility (especially during this time) is important. But providing structure for kids creates a sense of predictability that is calming. When so many things feel out of control, a schedule (of some sort) allows kids to know what is coming and be able to maintain a level of calm. Depending on the age of your kids, it is quite helpful to let them speak into the schedule.

What that looks like will vary family to family – don’t play any comparison games right now. That won’t help anyone. If you need to work, and your child spends more time than you’d like on screens right now, be okay with that. But also know that boredom breeds creativity. If your child needs to “find something to do” it will help them expand their ideas.

Here are a couple of sample schedules.

Sample 1:

  • Breakfast
  • Complete math sheets
  • Watch one learning show on Kids YouTube
  • Read for 30 minutes
  • Get a healthy snack
  • Choose your own topic and learn about it (30 min)
  • Watch one show in French
  • Lunch
  • Work on an art project of your choosing
  • Clean your room
  • Play outside
  • Come in for a snack
  • Build something new with Lego or a build a pillow fort
  • Read a Bible story and tell me your favourite part

Sample 2:

  • Breakfast
  • Create a stop-motion video
  • Write a letter to Uncle J
  • Watch one learning show on Kids YouTube or play on a learning app for 30 min
  • Get a healthy snack
  • Read for 30 minutes
  • Math sheets
  • Lunch
  • Talk to a friend on the phone or Kids Messenger
  • Vacuum the family room
  • Play outside
  • Come in for a snack
  • Learn a new skill (e.g. juggling)
  • Pray for people who are helping others right now

During this season, we need to have extra heaps of grace for our children, our spouses, and ourselves. It’s okay to bury yourself in your room for an hour of alone time, as long as your children are safe. Our children are perceptive. They pick up on our stress and anxiety. Do what it is that you need to do to reduce these things in yourself so that you can help them reduce these things in their selves. Creating anchors in your life with prayer, Bible reading, and connecting with church community online can be exceedingly helpful during this time more than ever. And, in the same way, help your children to do the same.

It’s Jesus’ words that continue to come back to me over and over through this season: “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27)

Friends, I pray you would know this peace of mind and heart, so that you won’t be troubled or afraid. And, I pray you are able to extend this peace to your children.

If you need some additional mental health resources for your children right now, go to: Mental Health Practices.

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