Keeping perspective: What is most important for kids during COVID times?
If the last few weeks have shown us anything, it’s that our journey away from COVID-19 will be anything but linear. We’ve lived through lockdown once, and we may be sent back to our homes again. Churches are continually adapting [link to Western Sydney Churches article] and, in many instances, kids’ programs are still not able to run.
One positive aspect of lockdown is that many Churches and families have developed structures to support parents in leading their children spiritually, with the creation of video series, delivery of Sunday school craft and the sharing of resources.
For Meredith, a Western Sydney mum, the past few months have seen a lot of their structured activities either put on hold or moved online.
“Lockdown involved a few changes for our family – I was at home with our three girls, facilitating online learning for our oldest while trying to help the other two be involved,” she says. While Meredith's work briefly closed, her husband's job as associate pastor at Glenmore Park was busier than ever.
“The spiritual health and growth of my children is my main desire for them.”
Despite the changes and extra pressure, Meredith has found the past few months brought her priorities into focus. “I felt a great clarity during lockdown that the spiritual health and growth of my children is my main desire for them,” she says. “Having that as number one puts everything into a better perspective.”
Investing in our children’s faith starts with our own relationship with God
When asked what has helped her invest in the spiritual life of her children, Meredith is clear that devoting time to her own spiritual life is key. She recommends the “Risen Motherhood” podcasts and book as a resource to think through how the gospel influences day-to-day parenting situations.
“As a parent, investing in my own spiritual life is really important for my ability to help sow into my kids.”
Engadine-Heathcote Anglican created a series of 5-minute devotions for the whole family
There is lots you can do without structured programs
A big part of parenting is answering questions – and each question is an opportunity to point to Jesus, says Meredith. “When my girls ask about Covid and all the changes, we’ve used it as a chance to talk about trusting that God is in control, to remind them to keep loving God and loving others, and to encourage them to pray about it all."
“We have never really relied on Sunday solely for talking about Jesus. We try to read the Bible together as a family at dinner, as that’s the time when we all tend to be most together reliably. So that is our main ‘structured’ teaching time together.”
Aside from that, Meredith recommends looking for resources you can use that have an emphasis on storytelling – a natural way to communicate with kids. She’s recommended two that her family have found helpful over the past few months.
“My absolute favourite series of kids’ books. Each one is amazingly written and illustrated, and my kids love reading them over and over again.”
“They made their Matthew kids’ Bible studies free, which we printed off and did all together during lockdown. They break down the passages helpfully, prompt the kids to think about the big idea of the passage, and have a fun activity to do with each one.”
While we are thrilled to be (mostly) back meeting in person, for families like Meredith’s this time has ensured they are equipped to invest in their children’s spiritual journey well beyond this season.
Header Image is provided from one of our missionary partners: You can read more about their Covid experience here