Our world is more different today than we ever expected it to be. For example, it’s currently normal for us to walk into grocery stores and see people in masks. It’s normal for the shelves to be less than stocked. It’s normal for us to sanitize instantly after touching something outside of our homes.
And it’s currently normal for us to be in isolation. As we make our slow transition back to a new state of normalcy, it’s important for us to keep our children safe.
Keeping children safe isn’t limited to physical safety either. We have to look at spiritual, mental, and emotional safety too.
In this time where life—and church—looks different, it’s more important than ever to make sure our kids are okay.
Spiritual, Mental & Emotional Safety
In this section we’ll briefly touch on some ideas and resources for keeping kids spiritually, mentally, and emotionally healthy.
Build space into your time together for community, prayer, and focusing on the truth of God’s Word.
Consider having a sharing time of what each child learned during this time apart. Have time for prayer and praises rather than a full lesson for the first couple of gatherings. This will help ease children back into being together, while reflecting over the past few months.
Continue the things you’ve been doing to equip parents: sending lessons home, connecting online, supplying tips for family devotion times, etc. This has become a huge touchpoint for families and, we’re here to say: Keep up the awesome work!
Be prepared with extra helpers for those young children who may have more separation anxiety (since they’ve gotten used to only being around family) and recognize that children may have a harder time paying attention with so many others around them.
Overstimulation can be very overwhelming for children who have had much quieter lives the past few months, so you might keep worship and your environment more calming instead of trying to pump up too much excitement.
Recognize and Help Kids Through Trauma
Trauma is defined as a person’s response to a deeply distressing situation that can cause someone to feel overwhelmed or helpless. Almost every person has felt some level of trauma during this COVID-19 crisis, including the kids you minister to!
And, as difficult as it is to think about, we need to be prepared to recognize trauma and even abuse as our doors open back up.
Check out these great resources to equip you to help your kids:
- 10 Trauma Principles to Practice During COVID-19 from Back2Back Ministries.
- Kids may still have questions about the pandemic so be prepared with the facts. Reference this sheet from the CDC.
- These other great resources from International Network of Children’s Ministry (INCM) are also helpful.
- Ministry Spark has also released some helpful resources for helping kids through this time. Check out these articles and resources:
As safety is always important, it feels even more important in the day we live in. Although church could look different for all of us, here are some ideas as you look to reopen your church doors. And remember, we highly encourage you to follow the federal, state, and local guidelines for your area as you reopen.
Additional Considerations as You Look to Reopen
As we look at our new normal, it’s as important as ever that we consider the safety of our children—and sometimes it feels that we have more questions than answers. It might mean that families will continue to worship in their homes for a time. It might mean that you keep up the virtual teaching. However the church looks going forward, we hope this list helps you get started in thinking through what this means for children’s safety.
And, as you look to reopen, check out this article on innovation and the church. Let’s keep our wheels turning!