By Sarah Humphrey
Starting a new year can feel both exhilarating and also a bit daunting. Over the last several months, many have suffered loss, been sick, had to quarantine, lost jobs, or have been influenced by an ever-changing schedule. It’s been a time filled with a lot of transition and not a ton of normalcy, especially for children. Even as the holidays passed this year, we saw another wave of COVID and more hospitalizations for family members and friends.
The current situation can seem like we are at a disadvantage, but Christ always gives us opportunities to become the advantage. For children, times of loss can be extremely hard, and navigating parents who are walking through stress and grief can be triggering for littles. Because having tough conversations and slowing down for change in this season is important, we can be sure to soften the transitions with encouragement and hope. Though times can feel hopeless, we can remind the children in our vicinity that Jesus is always for us, no matter what circumstances may be. What we can do is look at what God has provided for us, and thank Him for it!
In a time when people are suffering in their health, this is a perfect opportunity to extend gratitude for being able to live and breathe and have our being in Christ. Below are a few tips to help encourage, support, and give kids the opportunity to practice praise in the midst of possible difficulty in this season of history.
- Remind the kids around you that taking care of their physical bodies is a way to serve God. Eating well and exercising are not only a gift but also an expression of how we can extend our whole selves in a way that honors God, giving Him thanks for how He has created us.
- Practice daily gratitude for what you’ve been given. Consider starting a chalkboard, wall art, or gratitude journal that gives kids an opportunity to thank God for the little things in life that they are thankful for. It can be as simple as a brand new toothbrush, fresh socks, or clean laundry!
- Have more opportunities for coloring and art around your home. When processing difficult emotions, coloring with brand new markers or crayons can be such a beautiful outlet for expressing thoughts, feelings, and even tears. Coloring can be one of the most comforting tools a child has!
- Find encouraging tv shows or Bible-based books that you can share with your child that relate to a variety of topics they might be engaging in. For many kids, they have lost grandparents or other family members in the last couple years. Hearing stories of others who have experienced loss or sickness can help give them both support and also tools for sharing how they feel.
- Keep up with some fun! Though it is a bit of a challenge finding new things to do in the winter months, take this time to try out new board games or bring out old ones. Start a new, family puzzle or put a Lego set together as a team.
- Start new traditions, and engage in learning something fresh. Sometimes beginning a new routine like Taco Tuesday or Spaghetti Sunday can be a good way to create order and connection as a family. Meals are wonderful ways to express comfort and care, and they don’t have to be complicated to be special. Find out what your kids love, and try to make those recipes more often as you finish out the winter months.
- Find special ways to say “I love you.” Leave notes in lunch boxes, or write on the bathroom mirrors. Stick post it notes around the house, or simply just pause more often, look in your child’s eyes, and say it. No one gets tired of hearing that they are loved and cared for.
- Write out Bible verses that exclaim God’s goodness and faithfulness for your family. There’s no better place to get encouragement than from the Word, and writing out verses as a family create opportunities for prayer, memorization, and also big victories. He is faithful to us, and His Word is clear about that!
No matter the season of life you’re in or what age children you may be around, these tips can encourage anyone to love the life God’s given them. He is with us wherever we go, no matter the condition of the world around us, and through every trial and triumph!
Sarah is a wife and homeschool mom to three kids while also working as an artist, author, life coach, and voice actor. Her writing and doodling can be found in her devotional, “40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood” and her voice in several commercials, children’s books, and audiobooks. Her education and love for holistic science also leads her to teach small workshops on health, wellness, and creativity. She loves encouraging women and kids to embrace self-care, utilize their gifts, and become leaders in the community around them. Her latest book for tweens, “Solomon Says Devotional” released this November. You can find one at lifeway.com!