There is no doubt the troubling times in which we’re living have created disruptions in our lives. A few weeks ago, our routines were likely set. Now we are working from home or not working at all, AND we’ve been thrust into the unknown of homeschooling our kids as they navigate this difficult time as well. (If you’re struggling to find balance in working from home, check out this post for some great tips).
Church and ministry leaders are facing the additional pressure of suddenly having to do ministry much differently while taking on the responsibility of the majority of their children’s day to day learning. Most of you are completely in touch with what your children are doing in school, but the problem is you’ve never been in the role of primary teacher. It’s ok. We have some ideas to help!
Keeping children on an “as normal as possible” schedule is vital. Kids value structure. Getting up at 6 am, eating breakfast, getting ready for school, and then the natural structure of the classroom setting provides a sense of safety and security for children.
I encourage you to make a schedule but keep it a bit flexible, especially for beautiful, sunny days. Get up at the same time each day, maybe around 8 or 9 am. (Your kids might vehemently protest to the 6 am wake up call right now).
Allow school to start at the same time each day. If you get the kids up at 8 am, perhaps school starts at 9 am.
Remember, your kids have a short attention span. In a typical classroom setting, teachers are getting kids up and moving from one learning station to another, so add in breaks and fun activities.
Discuss Fears and Worries
We are in unprecedented times where our kids’ routines are messed up, and they’re also dealing with the fear of not knowing what is happening or when things are going to “go back to normal” and the fear of the pandemic itself. Your children miss their friends and even their teachers! Some of our children may also have family or friends dealing with the disease.
Our kids are under a different type of stress than they’ve ever had to deal with but may lack the ability to understand all the whys. You may notice a sharper tone in their voices or behaviors that are outside the norm. Talk openly with your children about their concerns. Use this opportunity to help turn their hearts to Jesus, who knows and understands all of this. Demonstrate your reliance on Him, so your children will do the same.
I cannot stress the importance of this enough! Because our kids are all learning on their computers, make sure you give them screen-time breaks! You need them too! Studies have proven a link between depression and high screen-times, so be on the lookout for behavior that is outside the norm for your child.
As you plan the daily schedule, make time for small, special breaks like a walk around the neighborhood or a bike ride. Make sure your kids are getting time outside, and most importantly, take those breaks with them even if you’re working from home too! Your children are learning the most from your example.
Be Gentle With Yourself
No one is expecting you to do this perfectly, but we can get so frustrated and stuck in the rut of thinking we are automatically supposed to have it all together. Guess what? You don’t, and that’s perfectly ok. Rather than focusing on the little missteps, focus on what is truly important during this time.
Give yourself a little slack and just enjoy the quality time you now have with your family. Play games, watch funny movies, and GET OUTSIDE. Look at this time as a gift God has given you. It’s like He’s given all of us a little “reset” button. We have the opportunity to realign our values and priorities. Press into that.