(provided by the Rev. Carmen Goetschius of 1st Presbyterian Church, Portland, OR)
For faith formation…
An episcopal resource for keeping faith at home with children.
Subscribe to “Treasure Box Tuesday”, a weekly email that offers up-to-date, creative resources for children and family ministries curated by Traci Smith (Princeton Seminary grad, author, ordained minister). Her books are excellent resources for parents as well. https://www.traci-smith.com/treasure-box-tuesday/?fbclid=IwAR29uxm_c12XwRw01si7_w5lK35UIvuQ0iVEtETwMx_oZBx9Q01MxlMvE-g
Illustrated Children’s Ministry is offering free resources for faith formation at home.
35 tech-free, faith forming activities for families to do at home offered by the Christian Reformed Church of America
Faith Formation Recommendations:
- Have children write at least 4 prayers on construction paper and hang them on a wall where the family eats meals. At dinner, have the children choose one of the prayers to say together. Our children are 2 and 4, so songs are our favorite prayers.
- Pick a scripture verse, Psalm or prayer to memorize. Good options are Joshua 1:9, Proverbs 3:5-6; Micah 6:8; Psalm 118:24; Matthew 22:39; Psalm 19:1; the Lord’s Prayer; teach them the doxology; sing it at every bath or shower
- Read a story from a children’s bible (feel free to heavily edit/change pronouns/tell the story on your own just using the illustrations if the theological interpretation is problematic). Ask the children to draw a picture of the story. Talk about the story.
- Find ways to serve: drop off food at a local food bank – talk about why you are doing it (to love and serve our neighbors as Jesus taught); make art for lonely family members; call a local nursing home and ask if you can send cheerful art from your children; call the church to find out who is sick or lonely and could use an encouraging card from your family. Send one. Teach them about the mail system while you are at it!
Books/Kid’s bibles for your home library:
- Storybook Bible Growing in God’s Love: https://www.wjkbooks.com/Products/0664262910/growing-in-gods-love.aspx
- Desmond Tutu’s Storybook Bible: https://www.amazon.com/Children-Storybook-Bible-Archbishop-Desmond/dp/0310719127
- Who Is My Neighbor? https://www.pcusastore.com/Products/1947888072/who-is-my-neighbor.aspx?bCategory=PSCBS
- When God Made Light https://www.amazon.com/When-Made-Light-Matthew-Turner/dp/1601429207
How to talk to your children about the coronavirus…
Look for helpers. Thank you, Mr. Rogers for helping us speak to children in ways that are helpful and reassuring.
A Pastoral Perspective on talking about the coronavirus with children from the Rev. Carmen Goetschius
- do your best to offer accurate information with as little anxiety as possible
- limit their exposure to media regarding the pandemic (they are excellent observers and poor interpreters).
- Direct them to where they have power if they are feeling a sense of powerlessness (we can take care of one another and make things for our family and neighbors, share our food with local food pantries, etc…).
- Keep a routine and above all else, help them navigate this theologically. Did God cause this virus? No. God does not cause terrible things to happen to people. God does not cause cancer, or viruses, or other sickness. God is our helper. And God has given us helpers to care for us when we are sad, or scared, or sick. Like your mom or dad (or insert appropriate name for caregiver)! We are your helpers. Can you think of other helpers that God has given the world? Doctors, firefighters, scientists, nurses, etc… Then offer a prayer of thanksgiving. “Dear God, thank you for the helpers. Give them strength and courage. And help me be a helper in ways I am able. Amen.” Wouldn’t hurt to read some stories in the Gospels about Jesus’ love and healing work in the world.
Other helpful resources for time at home with your children…
Mo Willems doodles with kids at noon.
You can take a free tour of museums digitally!
For children 0 to 8, consider a free 30-day subscription to abcmouse:
OPB “For the Kids” YouTube Playlist:
Wonderful, free classes are being offered for kids K-6 through Scholastic:
For children between the ages of 0 and 6, sign up to receive free weekly recommended activities through Tinkergarten.
Olaf is offering to read to your kids every night!
For your animal lovers…
The Cincinnati Zoo is offering a daily safari at 3 p.m. EST via Facebook! http://cincinnatizoo.org/news-releases/cincinnati-zoo-is-bringing-the-zoo-to-you/
Cosmic Yoga (for kids) is taking the world by storm. It’s GREAT fun!
Consider writing and illustrating a book! No website needed. Choose a theme and go for it. Craft. Sing. Dance. Bake treats. Share treats. Seriously, don’t eat all the treats. You will feel lousy. Walk. Learn the names of the plants in your yard. Study bugs. Give thanks to God for those things that bring you joy. Read Charlotte’s Web with your children. Read it and other family favorites again and again. Consider asking a pastor or grandparent or Sunday school teacher or friend read your child a favorite book virtually!
There are so many creative, inspiring resources being shared through social media outlets and parent groups. Please keep adding to the list and take heart. The Lord is with us!