Helping our Kids be Brave
by Amanda Jass
There’s a lot of fear surrounding us right now. There are unknowns and questions. People are stockpiling toilet paper and canned goods in search of safety and security. Grown adults are running scared and kids are noticing.
So how can we help our kids handle their fear tied to the coronavirus? Or any fears they are facing for that matter? While I’m not an expert, I enjoy learning about how kids process information, and I have written kids’ ministry curriculum for years. Based on my research and experience, here are five ways that we can help our kids process what’s going on and hopefully choose to be brave.
1. Allow your kids to ask questions. Give them the space to express how they are feeling. If they genuinely don’t seem to be affected by what’s going on, we don’t need to push the issue or go into details that they aren’t asking about. Doing that could actually lead to more fear. But more than likely if you have kids who are in school (or possibly even younger), they’ll have some questions. Let them lead the discussion.
2. Be aware of how you’re talking about current events in front of your kids. Even your nonverbal cues can have a profound impact on them. Remember, your kids are watching you closely. Now this doesn’t mean you need to feel guilty if you’re afraid or anxious right now. A lot of people are feeling this way, and it’s not healthy to totally brush everything under the rug either. But friends, if you are feeling the fear and forgetting Who’s in control this next point might even be more for you than your kids.
3. Remind your kids of the Truth. We don’t need to pretend like nothing is going on, but we can talk to our kids about Who we can turn to with our fears. Yes, some crazy things have transpired over the last few days, weeks, months, but God’s not surprised by any of this. In John 16:33, Jesus tells us that we will have trouble in this world, but He has already won the battle over the world. We can have peace and remember that God is in control no matter how out of control everything around us seems. And He loves us with a love so pure and so deep, we can’t even fully comprehend it. (Ephesians 3:18-19)
4. Pray with your kids. Talk to God and encourage your kids to tell Him how they’re feeling. Ask Him for His strength and peace. Here’s a prayer I wrote recently that you can pray with your kiddos.
Thank You for being with me. I know that You’re near,
And when things seem scary, I don’t need to fear.
Please help me to trust You with big and small things,
And give me more courage for what today brings.
Help me to give fear a great big goodbye wave.
I know You made me, and I’m made to be brave.
5. Have fun with your kids! Laughter is great medicine. Depending on your schooling situation, you may be looking at some more extended time with your school-age kiddos. Make the most of it! Here are some fun yet super simple activity ideas along with ways to incorporate faith & bravery into your day:
BRAVERY BADGES: Make your very own Bravery Badges! You could go all out (laminating, adding a pin, etc.), or keep this super simple like we did with some paper, scissors, and coloring utensils. As you’re coloring, read your kids verses about being brave. Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:9, and 2 Timothy 1:7 are a few of our favorites. Once you’ve designed your badges, go around and share at least one way you’re going to be brave this week!
OBSTACLE COURSE: Set up an obstacle course, continuing to switch things around after going though it a couple of times. For older kids, you could take turns wearing a blindfold and leading each other through the course. Talk to your kids about how our lives can be filled with tricky obstacles too. We may not know what’s coming next, but God does. He wants to lead us!
THANKFULNESS POSTER: It’s hard to stay anxious or fearful when we focused on gratitude. Make a poster (you can tape together pieces of paper if you don’t have a larger sheet) and draw things that you are thankful for. If you’re feeling especially brave, get out the washable paints and turn this into a finger-painting activity. Hang the poster up and say and prayer thanking God for all of His blessings!
As you’re helping your kids find ways to be brave, remember to take care of yourself too. If you’re feeling anxious and fearful, talk to someone. Talk to God. Let’s get the help we need to process, but also make a conscious decision to trust and hand our worries to Him. Let’s be wise in the days ahead, while not letting fear win. Continue to laugh with your family and love those around you. We can be a beam of light in the darkness when we remain tethered to the Light of the World.
Amanda is a wife and mom of three girls who are beautiful answers to lots of prayer. She’s worked in education and as a kids’ ministry curriculum writer. Although she’s now a stay-at-home mom, she continues to create faith-based children’s resources for families to use at home. Connect with her on Instagram at @amandakjass and find free resources she’s created at https://amandakjass.com.