“School’s out!” is a phrase that usually creates excitement in the hearts of children and (some) parents. But that’s when it’s June and family vacations and camps are on the agenda. “Spring break” has taken on a new meaning this year amid the coronavirus.
COVID-19 has disrupted everyone’s lives in some form. People are working from home. Schools have closed. Parents have developed alternatives to the plans they had made.
While these transitions necessitate a shift in schedules, a parent’s priority is still to be a disciple-maker of their children. Instead of viewing this time as a problem to deal with, see it as an opportunity to embrace.
The Lord’s instruction for parents found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 remains intact regardless of the circumstances. In fact, parents need to be even more intentional to engage their kids in stressful times like this. Children need parents who will be available to talk “when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (verse 7).
Here are five things to consider as you engage with your children during this time of transition.
- Be available.
Deuteronomy 6:7 conveys an “as you go” engagement strategy. Working from home and the disruption of schedules can create frustration and barriers, so intentionally structure your schedule and responsibilities to create quality time with your children. Give them undivided attention and encourage them to share their joys and frustrations. Kids need a safe place to express their feelings.
- Be prepared.
Deuteronomy 6:6 reminds parents that “these words that I command you today shall be on your heart” and serves as an important spiritual foundation for the “as you go” strategy described in verse 7. If we want to point our children to God’s plan, instruction and encouragement, we must first be walking in His truth ourselves.
- Be silent.
Listen to what your children have to say. Take time to hear their heart about what’s really going on before offering advice. Resist the temptation to offer a quick fix and allow God to work through the situation.
- Be transparent.
Share stories with your kids about your experiences when you were young. Let them know about the good (and not so good) times you had, and encourage them that they too will survive the difficult circumstances.
- Be a parent.
Remember that parenting is God’s design, and He has a plan to use you in the development of your children. Don’t lose sight of the big picture. Parenting is not just trying to survive the situation at hand. It involves the overall spiritual development of your children. Parent with eternity in mind.
God will provide what you need as you engage your children in these difficult and important days.