It’s OK to be Afraid- 10 Ways to Help Kids through COVID-19

(Originally posted April 2020)

It’s OK to be afraid momentarily, but we don’t have to live scared, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV). When Peter walked on the water, Jesus reached for him immediately as he began to sink. Immediately. God is not surprised by our fear, nor the current pandemic. Our God goes before us, behind us, and remains with us, always. Jesus, our Savior, knows our fears intimately. People of great faith are wrestling with fear right now. Our children are no different. We don’t have to supply all of the scholarly answers for them. The most important thing Jesus told us to do was to love one another. Parents, caregivers, educators, counselors, and coaches—all those whose lives border and influence a child’s—love is the way through this.

John Piper, in his message “How to Talk to Children About the Coronoavirus,” referenced Matthew 4:24: “They brought [Jesus] the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains … and he healed them”(ESV).Love, in Christ, is our comfort. He is steady when our world has been rocked. He is constant, calm, and comforting. In the midst of the storm, when we are sinking, immediately, He is there. “Jesus is more powerful than diseases—every one of them,” Piper teaches.

Here are 10 ways we can help kids cope during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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4 Ways to be a Better Adult for the Children in Your Life

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” – Proverbs 22:6 

Youth look to surrounding adults for an example of how to react, behave, work, live and love. They look to their mentors for support and encouragement and lean into their coaches and extracurricular advisors to help them discover and work at their gifts and talents. We, as adults, can love them well by establishing healthy habits and principles in our own lives.

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20 Psalms to Help Your Kids Memorize

It’s important for our children to see us seek God in His Word. The hope is that they will eventually look for Him there, themselves. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” (NIV). Being able to understand and apply Scripture to our daily lives through prayer and time spent reading our Bibles is a tough concept to teach children. Before we can expect them to memorize Scripture, it helps to read it with them, discuss what it means (on a level they can digest) and how they can apply it to their lives. 

Memorizing God’s Word should not become a legalistic task, but rather an opportunity to bond with our Father in heaven. God will honor every effort to get our kids into God’s Word, and undoubtedly meet us in those moments. 

If you’re wondering where to start introducing your kids to the book of Psalms, here are 20 wonderful ones to start with: 

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“Raising the Challenging Child, Minimize Meltdowns, Reduce Conflict, and Increase Cooperation,” by Karen Doyle Buckwalker, Debbie Reed, and Wendy Lyons Sunshine.

“Bad behavior is generally a cover-up for an uncomfortable emotion the child is feeling or a need they don’t know how to put into words or even recognize themselves.” 

-“Raising the Challenging Child, Minimize Meltdowns, Reduce Conflict, and Increase Cooperation,” by Karen Doyle Buckwalker, Debbie Reed, and Wendy Lyons Sunshine.

I chose to read “Raising the Challenging Child,” because I am raising a challenging child. I know what it feels like to experience the stares and the opinions of my parenting and my child. It can feel hurtful and hopeless, sometimes. I can find myself wishing for someone else’s “normal.” I’ve read countless parenting books, but this one is by far the most helpful. “Raising the Challenging Child” meets parents where they are at, in their practical lives, and gives them attainable tools and easy to read explanations from professional people. 

The book is broken up into three main sections: “Be a Leader,” “Dig Deeper,” and “Prepare for Success.” Each Chapter in every section ends with a helpful and easy to read and relate to chart with “Perhaps You’ve Done This …” and “Instead, Try This…” tips for parents. “As parents, we want to protect our children from hurtful comments,” the authors wrote, “but we have to hear the child’s own story (rather than discount or try to talk them out of their feelings) before we can help them accept themselves.” -“Raising the Challenging Child, Minimize Meltdowns, Reduce Conflict, and Increase Cooperation,” by Karen Doyle Buckwalker, Debbie Reed, and Wendy Lyons Sunshine.

In my opinion, the biggest take-away parents, caregivers, and other readers will take away from this book is how to be a better listener to our children. We often forget how important it is to simply be still and listen to them. The author’s provide amazingly helpful ways to defuse tense conversations and situations by asking questions. This book in no way condemns parents for making poor choices, but rather comes alongside them in all of the ways we wish to be better and do better for our children. 

Though an easy read, this book is not a quick read. It is packed full of great information, tips, and easy to understand stories to go along with each point. This will be a book that I keep for reference, and will refer to often. “When we make a mistake, a lot of us beat ourselves up, thinking, I should have done this and I should have done that,” the authors wrote, “But the more grace we can have for ourselves, the more grace we can have for our children. The more we can forgive ourselves, the more we can forgive our kids.”

Click here to purchase a copy of “Raising the Challenging Child.”

(I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)

“God Confident Kids,” by Cyndie Claypool de Neve

“God Confident Kids, Helping Your Child Find True Purpose, Passion and Peace,” by Cyndie Claypool de Neve is a wonderful resource for parents and those who work in youth ministry. The current generation of youth lives in a world that the parents raising them have a hard time navigating. This book gives parents the ability to peak into the world of their children from their perspective, one that has their mental heath as a generation careening downward like no generation before them. Though the power of God’s Word and His unshakeable character, the author gives her readers solid cornerstones to help their children’s confidence take root in Christ. 

“To truly develop God-confidence,” Claypool de Neve writes, “our kids need to learn to move their eyes off the problems they face and onto the ultimate problem solver- our heavenly Father, who deeply loves them.” Our children are not only filtering through screens, images, and voices, but also their very real fear of terror attacks and school shootings that are a part of their reality like no generation before them. I, myself, needed to repeat some of the lessons and truths of God’s word in these richly filled chapters, as the world’s very real dangers are alarming to me as an adult, as well. 

Beyond the fears and distractions our children are growing up alongside is the age old challenge of comparison. Social media has further complicated what is real and what is not. “Understanding and appreciating each child’s uniqueness,” advises Claypool de Neve, “will help them learn to find their God-given purpose- and God-given confidence.”

This book is filled with tips and resources to come alongside parents of the current generation of youth. Excellently written and relatable, I highly recommend this book to parents and those working in youth ministry, as a way to be encouraged and equipped to help lead the current generations to Christ.

(I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)

Click here to purchase a copy of “God-Confident Kids.”