Parenting during coronavirus

Hi @Interested_in_Discipleship,

I think nearly all parents with kids at home are struggling during this time. The loss of routine, challenges with online schools, our kids missing their friends, and new financial stresses are all creating a number of challenges.

Two questions:

  1. What are the particular challenges you are facing?

  2. What are some of the best resources you’ve found for navigating this time?

In order to keep the conversation sensible, I’m asking the @connectmoderators to split out replies into new topics. This way we can start a conversation about parenting during the coronavirus with teenagers, or young children, or college-aged students, and so on, as members of RZIM Connect bring up different scenarios.

Please remember to be empathetic, compassionate, and accepting of one another as we seek to encourage one another. We are all going through different struggles as we connect across geography, cultures, generations, and even our primary first languages.

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Hi all. I think this is a helpful topic.
Our kids are 10 and 9.

  1. The biggest challenge I think for us personally is routine and them missing social interaction.
  2. As for routine we encourage them to do the basics like making their beds etc, but have also encouraged them to spend their free time reading their Bible or watching Bible related programs. Our hope is that they will develop some new habits along the way. For most of the day however the schools here in South Africa, well ours in particular, have issued work via different platforms, so that the kids can still learn from home. It keeps them fairly busy in the week.

Social interaction is obviously the most difficult. We try and spend more time intentionally with them, but also allow them to video call grandparents and friends when they feel particularly needy. There is not much we can do but use the technology on hand to try and temporarily relieve some of their loneliness. However along the way we are trying to teach them how to fellowship with Jesus, and how He is our friend. Teaching them to pray and speak with God.

Small steps and short times but it seems as though it is having an impact because they don’t seem as needy even though they miss their friends, as we miss ours, but having this "isolated " time with the Lord has actually brought about some amazing times with each other and the Lord.

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We are a large family with children from toddler to a college student learning from home, and we have always homeschooled so we aren’t doing things differently right now, except in regard to fellowship with our church. My teens have missed meeting with their groups at church and one in particular started a bible study (via some kind of conference call service I think) with her Sunday school girlfriends and they enjoyed the time of fellowship in the evenings. One of my other teens recently did a group video chat with her Sunday school group and they are all actually learning more about each other as they see one another in their homes, maybe get a tour of where they live, and what their home life is like. What I am seeing is these teen girls actually becoming a bit more close and personal in a good way as they find time to check in on each other in a different way and are actually realizing the value of knowing one another as they miss being with their friends.
As for the rest of my kids, I feel like we are kind of cheating as we live on a large country property with a creek and pond, ducklings and chicks, woods, etc to keep our rowdy bunch busy. This spring time always brings more outdoor work and play to keep us busy. I’d be interested to know how those in smaller spaces are coping. God bless you all! :blush:

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I have 3 kids - aged 7, 4 and 2. Our routine hasn’t changed dramatically since we were already home schooling too, and my husband is now back at work full time. Our day to day life is similar. The biggest difference is not seeing friends or heading out to groups and church.

It’s been a good reminder for me that the most important relationships for my kids is their relationship with us as a family. Friendships and outside relationships are good for them, but as parents, I feel Gods call on us to make a special effort to nurture and cultivate our family connections as a priority and raise our kids with a knowledge of God: Deuteronomy 6:7 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

My personal struggle is not having friends around to chat to and share support. I’m really missing quality time with other adults. Video calls are good, but the kids are usually around so it’s hard to have space to clear my head (I was writing this with a kid peering over my shoulder!)

I do formal lessons with my 7 yr old and let the two younger boys just run wild :joy:. They join in on anything they fancy like Art, stories and Nature Studies. There seems to be a plethora of homeschooling resources online and shared through social media. In fact, it can be a bit overwhelming at times so I’ve had to try and focus on the curricula and resources I’ve already chosen so I don’t get distracted.

My biggest thing I’m so grateful for is that we have a garden, and I generally stick the kids there if emotions start rising in the house. Somehow the fresh air and opportunity to make mud pies or drag toy dinosaurs through the borders always helps us regain a perspective on life and balance out our family dynamics.

An area that I feel we’ve gained in since lockdown is that I have more time to plan activities and Bible themed learning because we’re not rushing out in the car to appointments and engagements. Our mornings have become much more productive from this and I feel like my kids are getting a more quality academic and spiritual education.

In case anyone’s interested, a good resource that can be used at this time is Parenting for Faith, a UK based organisation but with Biblical resources and responses for all Christian parents who are facing multiple challenges of all types in raising kids.

I also came across this recently which I believe might be Canada based - it has Bible based lessons for kids aged 3-10.

https://www.kidsofintegrity.com/

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I have been thankful many times over that this staying at home is happening during springtime (at least for those in the northern latitudes) instead of the wet and cold winter. There are many opportunities for us in America to get outside and enjoy nature, especially since that is one of the few things that isn’t closed to restrict close proximity to the public! :slight_smile:

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I know, it’s something to be very grateful for. Have you tried getting your kids to keep Nature Journals? This could be done in any season and for any age (Im learning to keep one alongside them) and is such a great way to get them to observe God’s creation and build scientific and drawing skills at the same time.

My 7 and 4 yo jeep journals and it’s so lovely getting them to enjoy nature and watching them recognise different plants and insects. It opens up so many conversations about God’s nature and character too and there’s so much scripture that can be incorporated into their daily lives.

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We have done nature journals in the past, but not currently. But you have given me an idea on a good theme for a nature journal and that is to find scriptures about nature and then go outside and find examples that could be recorded to go along with those verses from the Bible. :slight_smile:

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Great responses!

1. Building routines

Creating routing is so important. One idea I’ve seen and we have going on in our home is letting the kids help set the routine. So there was a discussion about all the different activities for each day (reading, math, science, exercise, etc.). Our younger child wrote these down, cut them out, and organized them. This gives the child ownership of the structure and order. At the same time, they are choosing to do good things for the whole day. :slight_smile:

Any other suggestions on how to create new routines in this time?

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2. Social interaction and loneliness

Another theme I noticed in your replies:

What are some of the creative ways you are trying to build strong social connections for your kids during this time?

One idea I’ve heard of is having hangout times with physical distancing. For instance, the family stays inside, the grandparents sit on the back porch, and they have a window opened so they can talk to one another while remaining at a safe distance from one another.

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3. Growing close to the Lord

One more theme for now - building relationship with God.

One habit we’ve kept to as a family is reading the Bible together and praying as the last thing we do before going to bed. It is a great way to end the day close to each other with a story, the Bible, and prayer. This is easily one of my favorite parts of the day!

Another great advantage to being together is the opportunity for our kids to ask us questions. Whether they want to know about the coronavirus or something else, encouraging their curiosity and walking with them to find answers is an opportunity to give them a considered, thought through faith - and a biblical perspective on all of life.

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We’ve recently created a daily checklist that’s divided into sections of chores, academic subjects and extra activities. It’s up to my 7yo to read through her list and tick off things that she achieves.

For example, she has 4 chores I expect her to do each morning before we get on with our day: make bed, get dressed, clean teeth and empty dishwasher. We then embark on lessons and she can choose which order she does them, as long as they get done. She’s responsible for ticking them off as it gives her ownership and a sense of achievement each day and also acts as an incentive to get on with things before the playtime can start :grinning:.

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