The coronavirus. Racial justice vs. gross prejudice. Upheaval in our streets. Heated election rhetoric. I’m having a hard time with current events, and maybe you are too. The constant barrage of conflicting information and (especially) the vehemently angry opinions people express can cause a lot of internal stress! But, what about our underage children? Do they live in a carefree little bubble? Probably not. Children need help navigating times of crisis too.
When the kids are small, flitting from one thing to the next with the seeming blissfulness of butterflies, it’s easy to assume they don’t have a clue what’s going on and/or are not bothered by it. While some of them will voice their questions or concerns, many will not. Not verbalizing their anxieties doesn’t mean they don’t have any. So what do we do to make sure they’re doing okay?
Start by asking questions.
“Is there anything going on that is worrying you right now? About the virus? About the protests? About the police? About other things you’ve heard or seen in the news, or heard Mom and Dad talking about? Are you missing your friends?”
Just like with adults, their worries might stem from only having partial understanding. If we find out what concerns them specifically, their fears might be relieved by our explanations or possible solutions.
Help them gain (and maintain) a heavenly perspective.
Talk about God’s care for them:
- Assure them that God is always good and will take care of them and the people they love, no matter how bad things look at the moment.
- Remind them that He is bigger than any problem and well able to fix it.
- Encourage them to bring their fears to the Lord in prayer and to believe He will answer them.
- Talk about those mighty angels God sends to keep us safe.
As adults, we have to keep on re-fastening our focus on Jesus and away from whatever trouble is happening. Once is not enough for us or our children. It’s a good thing to frequently remind them of how big God is and that He is watching over them constantly.
Sing happy praise songs together as a family — a lot.
Ephesians 5:18-20 tells us, “…Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things to God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
There’s nothing quite like praising the Lord to get our minds off the stuff of earth and to restore our joy.
Use the Bible to bring the point home.
Read verses and passages together which speak to the concern of their hearts. Are they struggling with fear for the future? Do they need to feel safe? There are specific verses which speak to those needs. Memorize some of them together. Remember, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17), so hearing and speaking these verses is a concrete way to change our outlook! Matthew 6:25-34, where Jesus speaks of God’s care for the birds and the flowers, is a wonderful passage to explore or review together as a family.
If you need help in finding Bible verses relevant to whatever issues your children are struggling with, there is a section at my website to help you — Encouragement from God’s Word. It is arranged by topics, including “You Need Not Fear,” “God Is Our Safety,” “You Can Have Peace,” “God’s Faithfulness Is Unfailing,” and many more.
If your family enjoys hands-on projects, make those Bible verses stick by having each child create a scrapbook of the Bible verses you discuss. Make it extra-fun with their own special drawings, doodles, and borders to go along with each verse they write out. Maybe the non-artists would rather paste in colorful stickers. You can also help them find related pictures online to print and paste in — pictures of children wearing corona masks but still having fun, kids praying, angels, Jesus the Good Shepherd, etc. One of my favorite places for finding free pictures is Pixabay. It might be useful to you for scrapbooks and other projects as well.
Watch your example.
Keep things upbeat as much as possible. The attitude we project is a big factor in how our children respond to life. If they see us trusting the Lord and not giving in to panic, they will be able to do likewise.
I hope you will find these suggestions helpful in keeping your children free of anxiety during tumultuous times. Do you have more ideas? Please share them in the comments!