Your kids may be pretty confused and scared with all of the things happening in the world right now. (I mean, aren’t a lot of us adults, as well?!) With everything from a global pandemic, to protests for equality, and a loss of routine, they could use some stability in their lives. As most schools start back the next few weeks–all with different social distancing rules and face mask regulations–now more than ever, our kids need some extra love. While I’m not a mom, here are some tips from your friendly Elementary Education major.
- Control your own anxiety and fears.
This is such a great opportunity to show your kids what it looks like to cast all your anxieties on Him! (1 Peter 5:7) As you take a deep breath and hand over your fears to God, you’ll have the opportunity to show your child the process of staying calm, while still proceeding with caution. Be ready to answer any questions they may have. Leaders remove confusion, so as parents, be prepared to calmly and clearly tell them what is going on. I know we all want to shelter children from the “real world,” but this could be an amazing opportunity to show them how Christians respond to the brokenness in our world.
- Stay positive.
Watch your words and your facial expressions! Kids are sponges–how you respond will be how they respond. Don’t blame others for the situation at hand, and acknowledge that we have a big and powerful God who is in control. This is a great opportunity to show optimism in a time where it is least seen. Explain to your kids that joy comes from the Lord and not this world (Roman 15:13). As Christians, we have a hope that non-believers don’t have (Jeremiah 17:7). Because of that, we get to be surprisingly optimistic, and believe me, it will speak far more now than it will when things are going great.
- Do the things they love.
Since we are less busy with work and extracurricular activities, there is an opportunity as parents to know and love your kids now more than ever before. Let’s take advantage of that extra time. Find the things your kids love and are passionate about and pour into those interests. This could look like going to the zoo or the park, or helping them get better at their favorite sport or instrument. Whether that’s participating in those hobbies or just encouraging them in it, this is a great time to love your child by supporting what they care about.
- Teach them.
While school may be starting back soon, it still looks different. Plus, your kids have been out of a real classroom for so long, any extra help you give them will help them as they adjust back. Maybe this is a worksheet that you find online to practice math or a cut-and-paste activity that practices fine motor skills. You could even start a book with them to keep their imagination and literacy abilities growing. Giving them something to keep them in the mindset of learning is far better than nothing and will be a gift to their teachers as they transition back into school. (A great place to start would be https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/ but you can find free worksheets and resources from just typing a grade and subject into Google. As for books, some engaging books to start with could be the Magic Treehouse series, The Chronicles of Narnia, Because of Winn-Dixie, and really any book with a matching movie. Using a movie as a reward for finishing the book is a great tactic to get them engaged. This may seem like a daunting task, but it means the world to your kid if you spend just 30 minutes with them on a short worksheet or chapter in a book.)
- Reset your routine.
I’m sure at the beginning of quarantine, and maybe even summer, you established a great routine with your kids. But, like most routines, it might have slipped some over the past few months as quarantine has dragged on for what feels like forever. So, if you haven’t already, reset your routine! You don’t need to have an elaborate schedule, but any sort of routine will help kids feel steady and at ease. This could look like allotting time for outdoor play, screen time, learning time, reading time, and any other things that are important to you and your kids. But it looks different for everyone, so find what works for you and your family and stick to it. This will also help them as they adjust back to school in the next few weeks.
All this to say, we live in a crazy world right now, where there doesn’t seem to be much stability in sight. But remember, we have a powerful God in control, whose foundation is rock solid (Matthew 7:24-27). As Christians, we know that He brings good out of every situation, no matter what (Romans 8:28). While helping our children is important, we must also check our own hearts and make sure that we are daily giving our worries and struggles to Him (Matthew 11:28). Lean into the Lord and your community in this time more than ever, and let the Lord grow you in the midst of it all! You can do it–I’m cheering you on!
By Caroline Dailey. Caroline Dailey was a resident with Harris Creek this past summer. She is also an elementary education major at Baylor and loves serving the church through worship or whatever else is needed.