The massive COVID-19 quarantine is bringing quiet and slower days of work from home for some, while bringing stress to others who have lost their jobs. Many are now homeschooling their children, with no previous experience as a teacher. These bewildering days are already taking a toll on everyone, especially kids. Whether you set time aside to focus on your own family, or offer to help kids in other families, a little bit of creativity can breathe new life into worn out schedules.
- Please follow all mandates given by local, state and federal agencies to combat the spread of COVID-19.
For starters …
Take the MinistrySafe online training, which is approximately 1 ½ hours. If you’ve already gone through the training, review the material. It’s a good time to talk to your own kids about safety. For those who may serve other families, let them know that you want to provide safe care for their kids and have utilized training provided by your church or online services to be equipped for that.
Offer your time and talents
Babysit kids for a few hours or a full day.
If you regularly work with kids at a school, daycare, ministry, in athletics or at church, offer your time and talents to families with kids that may be impacted by the COVID-19 quarantine. While offering free “babysitting,” make plans to have another adult with you as you provide care, especially if the children are not related to you.
- Gather information from them about kid preferences like favorite foods as well as allergies.
- Ask parents and guardians for favorite shows or movies they can watch, as well as screen time they can have on devices. Be especially attentive and encouraging to children in this time.
- Share favorite verses from the Bible that help you. Utilize online Bible games and videos.
- Also, keep good notes of kids’ activities, food and drinks, and any unique behaviors (really quiet, fearful, playful, engaging, etc.) they exhibit.
- When parents or guardians pick up their kids, make note of any concerns to privately pass along or compliments to openly share. Be proactive in giving helpful information.
Tutor or mentor kids as they go through their school days at home.
Video call a family and help them trouble shoot technology issues or help with homework. Many caregivers have long forgotten math, science and grammar – so your skills will be very helpful. Something you think everyone knows may actually be what few people know! Right now, simple school tasks have become a challenge to care givers, so your time could be invaluable to them.
Designate special experiences for kids to give them a fun break from online classes and endless homework.
Set up an obstacle course in your yard using toys and sporting items you already have that are laying around.
Let kids help set up the course, practice on it and then have timed events. You can also video their runs through the course – don’t forget slow motion and time lapse make videos even more fun. After everyone has run the course, have them help put items away, take showers, eat a celebratory meal, and then watch the videos together! Give awards for fastest time, best effort, and future all-star.
Make a mini movie.
Head to your closets and put together silly or themed outfits. As you do, think of a story you’d like to tell and let kids pick roles they want to play. Create stories ad lib or write out simple screen plays with your kids. Pick rooms in the house and places in the yard that will be scenes for your movie. After you finish filming, kids can clean up the set. Create a red-carpet experience by including a backdrop for individual and group photos. Watch your movie together and then have an after party celebrating the actors, production crew, and writers!
Take a Prayer Drive.
Map out a driving route through your community that will take you along major roads as well as side streets through neighborhoods. Include schools, government offices, businesses, ministries and churches along your route. Make a playlist of songs that you can enjoy while driving that will help you remember God’s promises and His call to love your neighbors. Select some Scripture passages to read in route. Load up in your car with notebooks or drawing pads, pencils and pen. Have your video or photo feature on your phone ready.
While you’re in the car, explain that prayer is powerful whenever we offer it to God. Also tell kids that prayerfully walking or driving in the community helps us become more aware of needs and people to pray for. You can lift up your concerns about COVID-19 as well. Don’t forget though to praise and thank God for the many ways you see He has provided for your city. Don’t require that kids pray out loud, although you can certainly encourage that. Rather, focus on observing, jotting down places, people, and thoughts they have as they pray. Have someone write down observations younger Pre-K and younger kids make.
You can spice up the drives you take with different activities. When the moment is right, sing a prayer by singing along with a song that is playing from your playlist. Take pictures of places you pray for or take videos of brief prayers lifted up in school and hospital parking lots. When your prayer drive is finished, everyone can pitch in and give the car a good clean at a local car wash or in your driveway. Take a group picture in front of your car before heading in for your next meal.
As you eat together, share what your prayed for and how the experience opened your eyes to better see the Lord, and your community. Consider posting some pictures or videos of places you prayed for on social media and encourage others to take a prayer drive too!
Published March 21, 2020