What Do I Tell My Kids About COVID-19?

At the top of my journal/planner today, I wrote “Peace, Be Still.” As a mom of four kids in elementary, middle and high school, I need the constant reminder to be still in Jesus, the author and provider of peace. Because this all feels a bit like preparing for a hurricane. When will it arrive? What will it be like? How can I prepare myself and my family?

Time is a Gift

We have a limited amount of time with our kids from birth to graduation. So this time at home can be a gift. With fewer scheduled activities, we can begin each day with purpose and instill hope; we can have more consistent family meals together; we can get outside and play together. We can be a guide for our kids as we all journey through crises, exemplifying hope in Jesus in times of trouble.

How do we handle moments of crises with our kids that guide them back to the Father, guide them to peace and hope for the future?

1. Be honest

A few weeks ago, our family talked at dinner about a virus on the other side of the world. We defined the virus and compared it to things we already know and have experienced. We want to remove the fear factor by making the subject familiar. We’ve talked about how this particular virus doesn’t seem to affect kids, but by responding responsibly, we can help those who are vulnerable as well as the nurses and doctors who will take care of them.

God the Father knows the hairs on our head. He numbers our days. It’s important for kids to understand that God works ALL THINGS (including scary things, sad things, confusing things) for the GOOD of those who are called according to his purpose. I love the way The Passion Translation tells us, “So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives…” Romans 8:28 TPT.

At dinner, we ask, “Tell me something good. How did you see God at work in your life today?”

2. Keep it simple and limit media

My elementary-aged kid doesn’t need to know all the scary details. I let him ask questions and keep the answers as simple as possible. He doesn’t have a lot of questions because he has limited access to media. We guard our adult conversations around him.

Our middle schooler thrives on facts—like his mama. When there is a hurricane trending this direction, this boy IS my four-hour update. He loves the news, but still, we keep it simple for him by limiting his access to media and by being available to answer his questions.

3. Find ways to refocus attention

We are making a quarantine bucket list.

  • Plant a garden.
  • Read the Bible together.
  • FaceTime with family members (e.g., grandparents)
  • Have movie marathons.
  • Join Seacoast live services on Sunday morning together.

4. Use the Kidscoast At Home resources 

Kidscoast has put together a large number of resources to engage your child and promote faith discussions throughout the day. Deuteronomy 6: 4-9 instructs us to Love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and strength and to teach this to our children in the morning, as we go about our day, as we share a meal together and when we lie down at the end of the day. See the Kidscoast resources listed at the end of this post and visit Seacoast At Home for more details.

5. A word for the parents

“Are you tired? Worn out? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG).  

When Jesus spoke these words, he was guiding his disciples through hard stuff. Understand moms and dads, this is hard stuff we are living through. There is no one size fits all plan for getting through these days. But imagine what it looks like on the other side of all this.  

  • What memories will you have made?
  • What tone or attitude will have prevailed in your home?  

This could be a time of rest for you and yours. This could be a time to guide your family toward unity and strength in relationship with one another and with God. Imagine that and take baby steps each day that move you in the right direction.

Resources for conversations during this health pandemic

  • Visit Kidscoast on Facebook or Instagram for daily encouragement and tools + Kidscoast weekly experience for preschool, elementary and preteens on Facebook and Instagram.
  • Parent Cue is a great resource for podcasts, resources, and conversation guides to help you make the most of your time with your kids. theparentcue.org/